The birthstone of May. Twenty times rarer than diamonds, the emerald's famous green glow is the result of the presence of chromium and vanadium in its mineral structure. Traditionally mined in Colombia, emeralds are in fact found all over the world, with Africa increasingly becoming an important source of this precious green gem.
Part of the beryl family, these stunning green gemstones were created during an intensive tectonic process that brought together traces of chromium and vanadium with the normally colourless beryl. Emeralds have a hardness of 7.5 to 8 on the Mohs scale. The earliest emeralds came from Zimbabwe and are among the oldest known gemstones in the world. Today, top-quality emeralds are mined in Colombia but new sources are being discovered in Africa and Brazil.