Ever wondered what make Emeralds look the way they do? A large part of it is down to something called “inclusions”. These are basically the result of a material being trapped in the stone during its formation. Inclusions are considered to be flaws in other stones like diamonds which require complete clarity, but they are appreciated in the Emerald business and add to the stone’s charm and natural beauty. So here is a list of the most common inclusions found in emeralds.
Also known as feathers, fissures are a very common inclusion in emeralds. They are found in emeralds all over the world and so are not seen as undesirable unless they are large in quantity. They look like small cracks or fractures in the emerald – hence the name fissure – and occur naturally in the mineral, sometimes permeating throughout the gemstone. An overabundance of fissures, however, can compromise the durability of the stone and lead to chipping, so this is something to be cautious about.
Almost every Emerald that has ever been pulled from the ground will contain some sort of Fissure or tiny fractures. These inclusions are natural and are part of the Emerald but it is always desirable to reduce the visual impact of these fissures. That is why Emeralds are routinely treated using natural oil which hides the fissures.
Single-phase inclusion are rarer than the other two that we will talk about simply because it is not a common feature of Colombian emeralds. Single-phase inclusion can, however, be seen in Musakashi emeralds, which come from an emerald mine of the same name in Zambia. This inclusion looks like a collection of crystals in the stone and is the result of a mineral inclusion, as opposed to a liquid or a gas.
Two-phase inclusion can be found in Colombian emeralds as well as those from other regions. In a two-phase inclusion, we have a gas bubble trapped in liquid, which differs from the single-phase inclusion by not containing a mineral element. These inclusions are often characterised by their jagged appearance.
Three-phase inclusions are like a combination of single- and two-phase inclusions; they are often jagged-edged, and consist of a combination of liquid, gas, bubbles, halite salt (another name for rock salt) and crystals. These inclusions can be described as a pea-pod which is pointed at both ends; the pod is the liquid, gas bubble have formed inside and there is a crystal element also. Three-phase inclusions are especially common in Colombian emeralds – and as Colombia is the foremost emerald exporter in the world, this type of inclusion can be seen in many stones in circulation today.
Along with the inclusions being discussed below, the following are examples of what one can expect to see in an emerald:
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