Russian Emeralds and Isotopic Composition in Emeralds


Post difficulty
2 min

Post Length

Gem-related Field

Russian Emeralds And Their Exploitation
Although numerous authors, including Haüy, described "the emeralds of Russia" in his Treatise on Mineralogy in 1822, the actual discovery of emerald in the Ural Mountains emerged in 1830. The exploitation of the Urals deposits ushered in the twentieth century, when geologists discovered several mines in Brazil, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Africa. Ancient texts occasionally raised doubts on the precise date of discovery of certain twentieth-century deposits.

This is the case, for example, with the deposits in Afghanistan: the finding of emeralds in Bactria, as confirmed by Theophrastus and Pliny the Elder, reignited the debate about the official date of the deposits' location in 1976. Indeed, the texts specify both the passage of Alexander the Great's armies through the valley of Panjshir, which holds multiple mines, and the existence, prior to JC, of the wealthy and independent kingdom of Ghandara (comprising the valleys Kabul, Peshawar, and Swat), from which the emerald could have been mined.
No Oil Emerald Russia 10.85 cts, more details here
The Isotopic Composition Of Oxygen In Emeralds

The isotopic composition of oxygen in emeralds has been determined to be variable. The range of isotopic values covers the range of values defined for emerald deposits in the world, between 6.2 and 24.8 per thousand It reflects isotopic compositional changes in the emerald chemical fluids. The fluid's 18(O) / 16(O) ratio being controlled:

a. by the composition of the rocks in which the fluid circulated,
b. due to the composition of the rocks through which the fluid flowed,
c. by the fluid's temperature.

These isotope ratios can be considered in combination with the standard gemological properties used to determine the origin of emeralds.
Did You Know?
The values of the isotopic ratios 18(O) / 16(O) collected in "ancient mine" emeralds indicate that during the XVII th and XVIII th centuries, the famous treasures now on display in India, Turkey, and Iran, were not made only of stones from the "New World" but also from Asia, as some had suspected.

Comments Section
Did you find our article interesting? What are your thoughts on the subject? Please do not hesitate to leave a comment!

Please wait until the comment section has finished loading before proceeding. This could take a few seconds!

Benjamin Poudevigne
Social Media Manager at GemMatrix
With over ten years of marketing experience, I finally decided to settle down in Bangkok to work in an area that I have always been interested in: the gemstones industry. I'm still learning how the market works on a daily basis, and I enjoy sharing my experience with those who are interested in learning more about gems in general.