Some of the most beautiful and valuable jewels are green gemstones. Even diamonds can be green. Colored diamonds are called fancies and can be even more valuable than the clear and colorless sort. When a diamond is green, it’s usually because of nitrogen, and the way the nitrogen distributed around the gemstone.
The most popular and valuable of the green gemstones is the emerald. It’s the green variety of beryl and is green because of chromium. An emerald can be several shades of green, but the most valuable emerald is a gorgeous grass green. Many emeralds come from Colombia and Australia. Emeralds are also mined in Siberia and they distinguish themselves from other emeralds by their green-yellow color.
Though the most sought after sapphires are blue, they can be green as well. Sapphires that aren’t blue are also called fancies and can be quite valuable. Sapphires of many colors are found in the gravel that line the riverbanks of Sri Lanka.
Chrome diopside is a richly green gemstone that’s much less expensive than an emerald. It’s also much softer than an emerald, with a hardness on the Mohs scale of 5.5, and so is easily scratched. Though all gems should be kept in soft pouches or separate, felt lined tills in a jewelry box, it’s especially important for a soft stone like chrome diopside.
The Tsavorite garnet is another of the green gemstones. It was first found in East Africa. It can not only come in several shades of vibrant green, but is also brilliant and quite hard, with a Mohs scale rating of about 7.5. Like chrome diopside, it’s less expensive than an emerald, but can glitter even more brightly.
Tourmaline can come in all kinds of colors, but the green gemstones are the most popular. The shade of green can range from lightest green to green-black. A lot of tourmaline comes as long bi-polar crystals, which means that the color, electrical properties and crystal form at one end of the crystal is different from that at the other end. The deepest color is seen when the owner holds the crystal up and peers down is length. This also gives a lapidist some idea as to how to cut the stone, which can be hard to cut in a way that brings out its beauty. This is because tourmaline is a complex borosilicate. It’s found all over the world but the most famous mines are in Brazil, California and Russia.
The peridot is the birthstone for August and was worn even in ancient Egypt and ancient Rome. As all rubies are red, all peridots are green. The most sought after green color of this gem is said to be “oily.” Peridot is green because of the presence of iron and the amount of iron determines the shade of green. The valued light green or deep, rich green peridots have less iron that brown-green stones. Some peridot gems have inclusions that look like water lily leaves. Peridot can also contain asterisms and come in cat’s eye versions. These types of peridots are very valuable and uncommon indeed.