Interesting Requests

Working everyday in the heart of the emerald trade in Bogota, one can’t help but maintain a level of excitement because you never know what you’re going to see on any given day. From interesting emerald crystal specimens still in matrix, to big $150,000 lots of very high quality, ‘gota de aceite’ type emeralds, and even the occasional gem trader that comes in from Brazil with aquamarines, tourmalines, topaz, or fancy diamonds; it’s all very interesting.

Also very interesting sometimes are the requests we receive from our customers. By now, almost everyone who’s passionate about emeralds knows we can source them on request but some also know we can source diamonds and other gems as well. Some of the interesting requests we’ve had lately are for: canary yellow diamonds (still searching), alexandrite (found), trapiche emerald cut into a hex shape (we just cut it), emeralds specifically requested with inclusions (easily done), and many other items besides good quality emeralds that help make each day interesting, because you never know what the next request will be.

Another interesting aspect of working with gems in a major gem trading city is the speed at which gemstones move in the marketplace. Every day hundreds, if not thousands of stones change hands. And that’s just amongst the small time dealers and jewelers. Larger brokers make million dollar transactions on a regular basis as well. It’s really remarkable and it often reminds me that I’m right in the heart of it all.

Colombian Gem Lab Open For Business

CDTEC Emerald Colored Stone Report. Photo by Embassy Emeralds.Embassy Emeralds first reported in June of 2008, the creation of a new gemological laboratory that was to be formed in a joint effort by the Colombian government and Fedesmeraldas (Emerald Federation). The new lab is now open and known as the Centro de Desarrollo Tecnológico de la Esmeralda Colombiana (CDTEC) or Colombian Emerald Technological Development Center. It is located in the heart of the emerald and jewelry trade districts in downtown Bogota. GIA trained gemologist, Rodrigo Giraldo has been appointed director of the new laboratory and oversees experts that include chemists and other gemologists working with the latest in gemological equipment to accurately verify authenticity of the Colombian emeralds and other gemstones brought to them for inspection and certification. Their equipment allows them to identify gemstones and gemstone enhancements with the highest degree of accuracy and is sure to become the certification of choice among emerald and other gemstone buyers.

Colombian emeralds are already known as the world’s finest emeralds because of their superior color and quality. This new development will only help their reputation and is a major leap forward for the Colombian emerald trade that will distance Colombian emeralds even further from the rest of the pack, raise consumer confidence levels in Colombian emeralds to all time highs, and provide yet another reason for buyers to demand Colombian emeralds over any others.

Replacement Emeralds

Emerald Cut Emerald. Photo by Embassy Emeralds.Losing or damaging precious and very expensive gems can be a heartbreaking experience and leave with you with the often difficult task of finding a replacement gemstone. But if you’ve lost or damaged is an emerald or you just wish to replace a gemstone with an emerald, there’s no need to despair. Embassy Emeralds offers you its assistance and some points to consider as you start the search. We’d also suggest that you should try to think positive and consider that losing or damaging a gemstone may actually present you with opportunities to make improvements.

You’ll need to use the classic 4 C’s as your guide to choosing a replacement emerald but the 4 C’s alone are not enough. In this case you’re not just looking for any emerald, you need to find a replacement emerald with some very specific requirements. Therefore your main considerations will probably focus on four main areas: Size, cut, quality, and cost. Here we’ll take a look at each of these and hopefully give you ideas on where you can find flexibility and options when choosing your new emerald.

The size of the emerald is an important consideration. Obviously you want it to fit in the same setting where the old gemstone was. For prong type gem settings and small to average size stones there should be no problem to quickly locate a suitable replacement and get it set. It would be helpful to know the size of your lost or broken stone but it’s very unlikely that we’d think to measure and record the dimensions of our gems before something unfortunate happens. Luckily prong settings give us a fair amount of flexibility and even rough measurements taken after the loss of the stone will probably suffice. If your stone was a very large one or has bezel setting, the quest may take a bit more time or demand more of the jeweler who performs the repair.

Bezel set emeralds in 18kt gold emerald ring. Photo by Embassy Emeralds.The cut of the emerald is another obvious consideration. For bezel settings you have very little choice but to get the same cut with the same proportions unless you’re prepared to do some potentially major modifications to the jewel. For prong settings, many times you can make changes. For smaller stones, you can sometimes substitute an oval, trilliant, and maybe even a princess or square emerald cut gem for a round cut stone or the other way around. It’s worth some thought because this is one of the opportunities I spoke of. With a minor change in the shape of your stone, you can possibly make an average looking design much more attractive.

Quality and cost usually go hand in hand when you’re talking about emeralds and so we’ll discuss them here together. It’s very likely that you’ll want to match or exceed the quality of the stone that you had before, and so that becomes the basis for comparing the new stone to. If your budget allows, this is another opportunity where you can go for an upgrade and choose a much better stone than you had before. But if your budget does not allow for flexibility, it could limit your choices. You have to consider that you may not be able to afford a stone of the quality that you have in mind. And you need to settle for an emerald with a slightly lesser color. Sacrificing on clarity can make a difference as well, but color typically has a more significant impact on the price of emeralds, just as it does for many other colored gemstones.

Hopefully you never lose or damage your emeralds, but if you do or just want to change gems, remember what you learned here and remember to let Embassy Emeralds do the heavy lifting for you. We have access to countless emeralds right from the source in Colombia in almost any size, cut, quality, or price range imaginable. Contact us today and put us to work for you.

Gemstone Certifications

AGL Emerald Brief. Photo by Embassy Emeralds.Gemstones certifications are an important tool in the gemstone industry for both buyers and sellers. Because a few unscrupulous dealers have introduced unethical synthetics and imitations into the market, people looking to buy gemstones must use due caution to ensure that the stones are what the dealer says they are. Sellers do too, but often they already know the legitimacy of their sources and instead may use certifications as a way to instill more confidence in their merchandise to generate sales.

Because of the cost of certifying a stone, certifications are not always practical. Therefore, gems without certifications should not be dismissed. Major laboratories charge hundreds of dollars for certifications and may charge even more for larger and/or finer gems. These costs are passed directly on to the consumer and dictates that most dealers will choose not to certify all stones in order to keep prices at an affordable level. Recently the American Gemological Laboratory began issuing lower cost certifications with different levels of certification that are becoming more and more recognized in the marketplace.

Recognition in the marketplace is important for many certifications, especially if you plan to resell a gem. Buyers interested in gems that have certifications must trust in the legitimacy of the certificate and the issuing authority or it is virtually useless. Untrained jewelers and self-interested parties often issue ‘certifications’ for their merchandise, but truth-be-told, these carry no weight amongst reputable buyers and sellers. A reputable and independent gemologist or laboratory must be used. Embassy Emeralds recommends the following laboratories and the independent gemologists trained by them in no particular order:

AGL – American Gemological Laboratories
AGS – American Gem Society
AGTA – American Gem Trade Association
AIGS – Asian Institute of Gemological Sciences
EGL – European Gemological Laboratories
GIA – Gemological Institute of America
IGI – International Gemological Institute

There are many, many more, but these are a few of the more recognized names in gemstone laboratories. We welcome any comments suggesting other labs and gemologists.

The Most Famous Beryl

AquamarineUnless you’re a rockhound or you study mineralogy, you may not think of gemstones as minerals, but that’s exactly what they are. That’s right…diamonds, sapphires, rubies, tourmaline, amethyst, citrines, etc… etc… etc… They are all minerals. Emeralds belong to the beryl family of minerals, which includes several other types of beryl that have become well known gemstones. These beryls are easily distinguishable from each other by their color. They come in green (emerald), blue (aquamarine), dark blue (maxixe), yellow (heliodor or golden beryl), red (a.k.a. bixbite or red emerald), pink (morganite), and colorless (goshenite). They all have the same chemical makeup (Be3Al2(SiO3)6,) but trace elements present where they are found interact with them to give them color.

Emeralds are obviously the most famous type of beryl. In mineral terms, emerald is known as green beryl but not all green beryl can be called an emerald. It has to be gem quality, which very little green beryl is. Emeralds tend to be much more included than other gemstones and even other beryls.

Green Beryl Mineral Specimen Morganite, Aquamarine, and Heliodor Morganite

Aquamarine is another famous beryl that many people adore. The best ones come from Brazil and they tend to be relatively free of inclusions and possess good brilliance.

Dark blue beryl or maxixe is quite rare. It comes only from Brazil and gets its color from natural radiation deep within the earth. An interesting fact, however, is that it can lose its color when exposed to heat, UV light, or sunlight.

Yellow beryl is best known as heliodor or golden beryl. With a bright yellow gold color its quite and interesting looking gemstone. Heliodor was discovered in the early 1900’s and was poised to become a popular gemstone until World War I and II got in the way and it was forgotten about for decades.

Hexagonal Emerald Crystal Red Beryl Golden Beryl

Red beryl is the rarest of the beryls and very little gem quality red beryl makes it to market from the Wah Wah Mountains of Utah in the United States where it is found. Some refer to it as Bixbite, Bixbyite, or Red Emerald, which is a bit controversial because the word emerald specifically refers to green stones.

Pink beryl might seem like some fancy synthetic created gemstone made for niche boutiques and people who obsess about the color pink, but it actually occurs naturally this way. Orange, peach, and lilac tones are also common with deep pink or lilac being the most desireable (and expensive). Interestingly, this stone was named after J.P. Morgan of J.P. Morgan Chase Bank and Morgan Stanley fame. He was one of the most important gemstone collectors of his time and stones from his collection can be found in the American Museum of Natural History.

Last, but not least is goshenite, also known as colorless beryl. Goshenite gets its name from the town of Goshen, Massachusetts in the United States. It’s by far the most abundant and affordable type of beryl and is often found in close proximity to colored beryls.

Embassy Emeralds has access to almost unlimited emeralds, emeralds in matrix, and green beryl mineral specimens and more. We have sources for quality aquamarine and other gems from Brazil as well. Contact us today to find out more!

Golden Beryl image source: Author: Vzb83

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Back to Blogging About Emeralds

Our blog migration was a success and we’re back to blogging about emeralds, gems, jewelry, and everything else related. Be sure to leave us comments if you have something to say and add us to your RSS feeds.

Blog Migration in Progress

Embassy EmeraldsPlease forgive the appearance. We’re moving our Official Blog here from WordPress. You’ll be able to read more about emeralds, gemstones, and jewelry and shop for them all under the same ‘roof’. For now, the blog will look just as our WordPress blog did, but we’ll soon be importing our Blogspot content and integrating its content more into the fabric of our site with the same headers and images you’re used to seeing at

Tell us what you think about it and by all means, if you need emeralds, let us know!
– Garrett

Cufflink Bling

Recently Embassy Emeralds produced a pair of custom made emerald and diamond cufflinks for one of our customers. They turned out to be quite impressive and the customer was very pleased. After all, emerald and diamond cufflinks are sure to make an impression and so this got us thinking…. Why don’t more guys wear cufflinks?

Certainly enough of us wear long sleeve shirts to the office or when we’re out on the town. And certainly as guys we’re always looking for ways to build and improve our look or impress the ladies. Cufflinks seem like a great and easy way to do exactly that. Very few accessories allow you to assert some individuality, show you have good taste, and create an image that people will respect and perhaps even envy the way a good pair of cufflinks can. Many of us don’t see cufflinks worn every day, and so you can be a trendsetter without even trying.

Adding emeralds, diamonds, and other gems takes cufflinks to the next level. In the case of the customer who had us make the emerald and diamond pair, he wanted something that would be noticed and it’s tough to argue that he didn’t get exactly that. I think he wanted to use the word ‘bling’ but it didn’t come out. Anyway… we knew. Check out some of these unique emerald cufflinks that only Embassy Emeralds can bring to you.

18kt White Gold Space Shuttle Cufflinks with Uncut Emerald Cargo Cufflinks with Uncut Emerald Crystals in 18kt White Gold Emerald and Diamond Cufflinks in Silver with Rhodium Finish

If you’re ready to add a good pair of emerald, diamond, or just plain gold or platinum cufflinks to your repertoire, visit or contact us and we’ll be here to assist you through choosing a set already made or creating a custom set perhaps even with an emerald tie clip.

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BirthstonesAnyone who considers themself a fan of gemstones usually knows a little bit about birthstones. Typically we know our own and perhaps those of our closest family members, but if you want to know them all… here’s a list to refer to:

January Garnet
February Amethyst
March Aquamarine or Bloodstone
April Diamond
May Emerald
June Pearl, Moonstone, or Alexandrite
July Ruby
August Peridot
September Sapphire
October Opal or Tourmaline
November Topaz or Citrine
December Turquoise, Blue Topaz, Zircon, Lapis Lazuli, or Tanzanite

Why December has five or six birthstones is anyone’s guess. I heard they were thinking of changing it again to just absolutely anything blue.

Well here you have them, use this list as you will. We think birthstone jewelry makes a great gift that’s a bit personalized and lets people know you put some thought into it.

If you’re looking to buy quality loose birthstones, Embassy Emeralds of course can help you with emeralds, but you may not know that we also have sources for many other birthstones including sapphires, rubies, diamonds, citrines, tourmaline, amethyst, aquamarine, and peridot.

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A History Lesson to Correct a Common Spelling Error

Attention to detail is a good trait to have. In the jewelry business it’s a must. At Embassy Emeralds, we pride ourselves on it and it shows in the quality of our loose emeralds and the designer jewelry we make for our customers. It’s just how we do things. It’s programmed in and we’re forever going to be looking for those ‘little things’ that just aren’t right and need to be fixed. And so for that reason it’s time for us to put out another call to action to correct one of the most common and annoying ‘little things’ we see… The spelling of ‘Colombian Emeralds’. Or is it ‘Columbian Emeralds’? (No, it’s not.) Here’s a brief history lesson to help you remember the difference.

Hail, ColumbiaColumbia with a U is a common name for places in the United States. In fact, the United States would have been named Columbia if many of our founding fathers had gotten their way. They favored the name ‘Columbia’ over ‘the United States’, which was seen as too long and awkward. Also many wanted the name Columbia to honor the accomplishments of Christopher Columbus and his discovery of the new world. The debate over this name went on until around the time of the Constitutional Convention of 1787, when proponents of the name Columbia finally gave up their fight, but it wasn’t forgotten however. George Washington later named the place from which the United States would be governed: the ‘Territory of Columbia’, which of course, is now the District of Columbia. Columbia was also the name of a female personification of the United States that was used much like the male equivalent: Uncle Sam. And you may not know that the unofficial U.S. National Anthem was actually ‘Hail, Columbia’ until the Star Spangled Banner was officially adopted in 1931.

Colombia with two O’s is correct if you wish to describe a country in South America that produces the world’s finest emeralds. It is also derived from Christopher Columbus’ name which was Cristóbal Colón or Cristobulo Colombo in Spanish and Cristoforo Colombo in his native Italy. It is from his name that the English term Pre-Columbian or sometimes Pre-Colombian (precolombino in Spanish) is derived, which refers to the period before Europeans landed in the New World.

ColombiaAn interesting note that is completely unrelated to the name debate that went on in the United States, were the name changes going on 50-80 years later in the territories of Great Colombia. Great Colombia included present day Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Peru, Panama, and parts of Brazil, Guyana, and Costa Rica but was dissolved in 1830-1831. It was then that Colombia (and small parts of territories that once belonged to Great Colombia) became known as the Republic of New Granada until the name was changed again in 1863 to… The United States of Colombia (no kidding) and again in 1886 to the current, Republic of Colombia.

It’s plain to see that while there is a common origin to both versions of the word Colombia/Columbia, they are distinct and are not interchangeable. Just as it would be incorrect to speak of Colombian emeralds as Columbian emeralds. Columbian emeralds don’t exist and besides, Colombia deserves some credit for one of its most famous legal exports.

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