The beryl is the family of crystal that creates emeralds and aquamarines, when its color is green or blue-green, respectively. Red beryl is bixbite or red emerald or scarlet emerald, pink beryl is morganite, white beryl is goshenite, and a clear bright yellow beryl is called golden beryl. Other shades such as yellow-green for heliodor and honey yellow are common. It can also come in violet.
The earliest known source of emerald was near the Red Sea in Egypt, the so-called Cleopatra's emerald mines. They were probably worked from about 2000 B.C., apparently the location of them was lost in the middle ages, and not rediscovered until 1818. Most emeralds used in ancient jewelry are believed to have come from these mines. They are not worked nowadays because of the low quality of crystals found.
Emeralds have been found in Austria since Roman times; these are no longer commercially mined.
Columbia is generally recognized as the source of the world's finest quality emeralds, both in the past and the present. The Columbian Indians were using them before 1537, when Quesada conquered Columbia. Russia has been another important source of emeralds in the past. Emeralds were discovered in Australia in 1890 in New South Wales. Emeralds were discovered between1927 and 1929 in South Africa, followed by other sources. Another important source of superb quality emeralds, usually only of small size, is in Zimbabwe formerly Southern Rhodesia. These were discovered only in 1956. Emeralds were known in India from antiquity, but their source is not certain. The quality of Indian emeralds is very variable, but most are polished as beads. Other sources of emerald include Norway, North Carolina, Connecticut, Maine, New Hampshire, although none of these are very important. But if you’re vacationing in any of those states, we best you’ll keep your eyes peeled for any stray beryls!