Many believe emerald to be a softer gem type but in reality, it is a variety of beryl just as aqua, morganite or our signature Neon Green Beryl™. All beryl, emerald included, is actually quite hard at 7.5 on the Mohs scale. The misperception of it being ‘soft’ is likely due to emerald frequently displaying small open cracks and inclusions, which can weaken the structure of the stone. While it is a hard gem, it does have some brittle qualities due to the harsh geological conditions in which it forms. This also means emerald is nearly always included.
These inclusions may be referred to as Jardin, a French word for “garden” because they often look like plant growth. These inclusions are historically considered 'acceptable' in the industry, but we love the uniqueness they give an Emerald! So, we try to showcase it whenever we can. Even so, an eye-clean emerald is very rare and comes with a price tag to match.
Now, if you’ve ever experienced breaking an emerald, it’s likely from a weakened part of the stone, which you may or may not see. Be aware that these gems are often filled with an oil or resin to give a cleaner appearance. This is why it's common to see emeralds set in prongs rather than bezel set - because hammering along the edges can cause the stone to fracture along those inclusion lines.
In summary, you'll want to take some extra care when working with emeralds, but it's well worth the end result! As one of the most desired gems in jewelry designs for various occasions, the uniqueness of an Emerald is unparalleled.