To paraphrase the great Henry Ford, here at Citizen Wolf you can have any colour Tee you want, so long as it’s green. Being ‘green’ is at the core of everything we do, and the only truly sustainable clothes are made to order like our Magic Fit® Tees.
But we also run various shades of green as colour options, and the latest addition to our limited edition range is a gorgeously rich and cool shade of green called Dark Emerald.
And like all our colours, there’s a fascinating backstory worth uncovering.
UNEARTHING THEIR HISTORY.
Unlike diamonds and other precious stones which can be found in a variety of colours, emeralds are only ever green.
The history of emeralds is sparkling to say the least, stretching back hundreds of millions of years. It all began deep beneath the earth’s crust, when water seeping down from the surface came in contact with molten magma to create a superheated liquid that dissolved minerals as it percolated through the rocks.
One of those minerals was a soft metal called Beryllium, which combined with other elements to form Beryl. And, if temperature and pressure conditions were right, Beryl ever so slowly began to transform into emerald.
As the Beryl crystallised, substances called ‘inclusions’ were trapped within the stone, making attractive patterns and ensuring no two emeralds are ever exactly alike.
Unlike other precious stones like diamonds, sapphires and rubies which can be found in a variety of colours, emeralds are only ever green. This rich green colour derives from the amount of Chromium and/or Vanadium found within each jewel, which varies the hue from lighter yellow greens, right through to rich, cool deep greens.
The majority of the world’s finest emeralds come from only five countries: Colombia, Zambia, Brazil, Ethiopia and Zimbabwe. But they are also found in small quantities in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Russia and the U.S. We’ve even got some right here in Oz, first discovered in 1890 near Emmaville, NSW. But apparently they’re not that great and the mine lapsed into disuse.
DIAMONDS EMERALDS ARE A GIRL’S BEST FRIEND
Emeralds are more than 20 times rarer than diamonds and often command a higher price as a result.
In the 1953 film ‘Gentlemen Prefer Blondes’, Marilyn Monroe tells us that diamonds are a girl’s best friend. But we think she may have been misinformed. Because when it comes to rare and expensive gemstones, emeralds beat diamonds hands down – they are more than 20 times rarer and often command a higher price as a result.
The first recorded mention of emeralds was around 1500 BC, when they were being mined by the ancient Egyptians who believed they signified fertility and rebirth. Cleopatra conveniently owned the emerald mines of Egypt and adorned both herself and her palace with the stones, and they are often found buried with mummies to symbolise eternal youth.
Other cultures also placed great value on the stones. The Aztecs and Incas not only mined emeralds for decorative purposes but held them in such high regard that they even worshipped them as gods.
When the Spanish conquistadors arrived in the 16th century, they were stunned at the size and quality of the emeralds - much finer than anything they had seen in Europe. Fuelled by greed, they promptly enslaved the local populace and forced them to work in the mines to then trade the stones for precious metals across Europe and Asia.
ROCK STARS (AND THE MAFIA).
Weighing in at a colossal 1,700,000 carats, the Bahia Emerald is the height of a minifridge and weighs as much as two sumo wrestlers!
Despite their rarity, some behemoth emeralds have recently been brought to light. The 858-carat Gachala emerald was found in Colombia in 1967, with a market value of USD$1.15 million. Whilst the Mogul Mughal is the the world’s largest inscribed emerald, with the words of a Shi’a Muslim prayer carved into it, and was sold at auction in 2001 for USD$2.2 million.
But it was only in 2018 that the world’s largest emerald was unearthed (somewhat appropriately) at the world’s largest emerald mine, called Kagem, in Zambia.
This 450-million-year-old, 5,655-carat giant was named Inkalamu (meaning lion in the local dialect) and described as having “remarkable clarity and a perfectly balanced golden green hue”. The auction houses clearly agreed, and Inkalamu was later sold for an unprecedented USD$28 million!
But if there’s a rockstar in the world of emeralds, then it has to be the Bahia emerald. Discovered in 2001 in Brazil, this gemstone is of such prodigious size it makes Inkalamu look like a marble.
Weighing in at a colossal 1,700,000 carats (yes, really!), this bad boy is actually comprised of 9 separate emeralds embedded in rock - including the single biggest shard of emerald ever found which is the size of a man’s thigh. Overall the Bahia Emerald is the height of a minifridge and weighs as much as two sumo wrestlers!
As you’d expect, the gem world was thrown into feverish excitement by this find, and the jewel promptly found itself at the centre of a protracted and costly legal battle between shady individuals, rival consortiums, and even the country of Brazil. A dispute that is still going, to this day.
Not only that, but the stone, valued anywhere between USD$400-925 million, has been repeatedly stolen, flooded in a New Orleans warehouse by Hurricane Katrina, and even led to people being abducted by the Brazilian Mafia.
We honestly can’t do the story justice here, but you can read the whole amazing saga in Wired – it’s proper wild!
FAKE IT TILL YOU MAKE IT.
Synthetic emeralds are readily available, although ironically, they sell for a fraction of the cost of the natural stones because they are deemed too “perfect.”
With emeralds being both scarce and highly prized, it was only going to be a matter of time until someone found a way of making them artificially. And that someone was Carroll Chatham, a brilliant American chemist with a lifelong fascination for gems.
As a teenager he had tried to create artificial diamonds by melting graphite in molten iron and then dropping the mixture in liquid nitrogen to promote rapid cooling. The resulting explosion almost destroyed his father’s house and blew out windows in many of the neighbouring houses as well.
Urged by his father (and the San Francisco police) to focus on something else, Chatham turned his attention to creating emeralds, and in 1935 successfully grew his first 1-carat Chatham emerald which is now on display at the Smithsonian Institute.
Nowadays, synthetic emeralds are readily available, although ironically, they sell for a fraction of the cost of the natural stones because they are deemed too “perfect.” Go figure.
THROWING SOME LIGHT ON DARK EMERALD.
Emerald green can symbolize refinement, wealth and royalty. But it also symbolizes balance and harmony. And with strong associations to nature, green is seen as the colour of luck, freshness and renewal, or growth.
Now that you know a bit about the glittering history of emeralds, why not rock one of our Dark Emerald Magic Fit® Tees for yourself?
We guarantee your friends are gonna be green with envy.