Inclusions in Emeralds

Normally, we admire the beauty of the Colombian Emeralds being the centerpiece of a piece of jewelry, but few know the incredible beauty that hides inside the Emeralds. Generally, in trading, it is mentioned that Emeralds have “gardens” inside. These so-called “gardens” are really inclusions which, in the case of Emeralds, are common and become the stamp of identity itself that differentiates genuine Colombian Emeralds, from other sources and from synthetic or imitations. We can say that the inclusions or “gardens” of Emeralds are their fingerprint.

To understand this slightly better and by sticking to a gemological definition, we could say that the inclusions are all impurities found inside a gem and that we can appreciate with a magnifying glass or in some cases at first sight. These impurities can range from fissures and oxides, to wonderful perfectly crystallized minerals and therefore, in the case of the inclusions of the Colombian Emeralds, we can refer to true gemological wonders rather than simple impurities. We must remember that the Emerald stone may be the least punishable in value by the presence of inclusions or “gardens”; not so with other gems such as the diamond, in which the minimum inclusion observed at 10x magnification is depreciated.

As we pointed, the inclusions allow us to recognize the real Emeralds and even their origin. In Colombia, the most important deposits of Emeralds are located and these inclusions hold wonderful features that are unique. The main inclusions in the Colombian Emeralds from any of their sites, that we can mention are the dentate triphasic or pointed ends, which are composed of liquid, vapor, and a cubic crystal of sodium chloride. In addition, sometimes they may contain mineral inclusions such as calcite and pyrite crystals, and oxides are also common. A very special and valued type of Emeralds are the so-called “drop of oil” which owe their wonderful aspect to precipitate calcite, which is not appreciated at first sight. It is also important to mention, that the above inclusions can be presented as one or more of them together in a single Emerald. There are some other mineral inclusions, which are not even unique only from Colombia, but in particular from some of their deposits, as we shall see next:

Inclusions in the Muzo Emeralds

Muzo is the most legendary Emerald mine, not only in Colombia but in the world and has many reasons to be; the quality of its Emeralds is incomparable and of a unique rarity, the proof is, its incredible inclusions of parisite, a calcium carbonate, and rare earth element Ca (Ce, La) 2 [F2 I (CO3) 3], which is one of the rarest minerals on earth. Also common, the three phase dentate inclusions, which are composed of liquid, vapor, and normally a cubic or octahedral crystal of sodium chloride ClNa and rhombohedral calcite.
We cannot forget to mention, the trapiches Emeralds, particularly rare and found occasionally, only, in a few Emerald-exploitation mines in Colombia, some of these, in the area of Muzo, because their formation is given by the carbonaceous inclusions that help create their star form or the cane sugar mill wheel shape.

Inclusions in the Chivor Emeralds

The Chivor mines represent another historic area of exploitation of Emeralds in Colombia, with a major appreciation for their quality, and generally have the inclusions characteristic of the Colombian Emeralds, but as a distinctive hallmark, we can mention the well-shaped pyrite and the idiomorphic albite crystals.

Inclusions in the Gachalá and Coscuez Emeralds

For these two areas, the first near Chivor and the second near Muzo, we find the typical inclusions of the Colombian Emeralds, with the exception of crystals parisite. Previously it was said, that they did not show any pyrite crystals, but it is has been found already in these areas Emeralds with pyrite, but with no perfection such as the ones from Chivor. However, we must say that this is an open matter and new research is expected in order to adjust the knowledge so far regarding the inclusions of these areas.