Gemology, E is for ...

Continuing our Gemology series, this week we take a look at gemstones and minerals beginning with E.

Ekanite Ekanite is one of the rarest crystal minerals on earth, but it holds a few surprises! Ekanite is naturally radioactive, and this radioactivity causes the ultimate destruction of the gem. Most ekanite is over 800million years old so that's a lot of internal radioactive destruction they've had to endure - no wonder so few survive today! Whilst its radioactivity makes it undesirable for jewellery, Ekanite is still a beautiful crystal. It was discovered in 1953 in Sri Lanka and occurs in colours ranging from straw, through green to a reddish-brown.

Ekanite Crystal Showing Internal Radioactive Destruction

Eilat Stone Eilat Stone, or King Solomon's Stone, is blue green mixture of other minerals combined into one structure. Eilat Stone contains chrysocolla, malachite, azurite and turquoise to give it a alluring mottled blue-green colour. Eilat Stone is the national stone of Israel, and only stone mined in Israel can carry the name. It's a rare gemstone, opaque and often polished into cabochons, and has been used in jewellery since ancient times. There are many imitation Eilat Stones on the market, so if you're buying to add to your collection be sure to ascertain its authenticity.

Image Attribution: By Downtowngal (Own work) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons

Emerald Emeralds are a luxurious rich deep green-coloured member of the Beryl family. The birthstone for May, Emeralds symbolise Spring and new life. Emeralds have been mined for thousands of years and were worn by Incas and Ancient Egyptians alike. Emeralds are considered one of the 'Big Four' gemstones; the others being Ruby, Diamond and Sapphire. Emeralds can be translucent (most desirable) to opaque but most have inclusions which can lower the value. A clear, translucent Emerald with no inclusions can be very expensive! Emeralds can grow very big - in fact so big that an ointment jar in Vienna has been carved from a single 2,860 carat Emerald! The Emerald Unguentarium was carved in 1641 for Emperor Ferdinand III and is now on display in the Imperial Treasury of Vienna.