Inspiring Emerald Gem Discovery

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The Lion Emerald crystal, feature on Thorn & Vine blog with gemologist and author Elizabeth Van Tassel

There’s been some neat discoveries coming up on my radar as a gemologist, and I love to collect these tidbits for inspiration for stories, especially if it involves emeralds. I thought you’d like to share some of the most dramatic ones of late.

My love of emeralds

Emeralds have always fascinated me, even before I became a gemologist. I first encountered them when I was on a business trip for a large, international firm to Colombia years ago when they had travel warnings—not for weather but for the volatile situation with the drug cartels and drug czars in the area. There I was, a marketing professional writing reports about taxes and suddenly things got more exciting, but not quite like in Romancing The Stone.

Man-created stone used as El Corazon in Romancing The Stone. 

The power went out due to large crowds protesting, just as we were printing a 300-page report! We had to hustle across the city to complete printing the work in the nick of time. At night there were machine guns going off in front of the hotel, and I could see the gunfire from my windows. We had guards everywhere, and could not exit the buildings without an escort. I had arranged a side trip to take photographs of the jungle when some executives from another company were kidnapped and I found myself with a free day. The translator with whom I’d been working took me to a family-owned emerald jeweler and I got to learn about them very near to the source. Years later, I loved learning about their special inclusions and holding them in my hand again once I worked in the jewelry business.

One of the characters in my story I’m hoping to publish has an intriguing relationship with emeralds, too. I’m so excited to tell you about this month’s discovery!

Emeralds in Zambia

It may remind you of Kryptonite, like it did my sons, with the dramatic lighting, but you’ll never guess what was uncovered this month in Zambia. A 5,655 carat emerald crystal from the mine in Lufwanyama. And it has an amazing name, too, ‘Inkalamu’ or the Lion Emerald.


It will be auctioned in Singapore by Gemfields in November and was discovered at the world’s largest emerald mine just a few weeks ago! African emeralds have more iron in them than Colombian so sometimes they find larger crystals intact. This crystal has been processed with special nanotechnology where they place nano-sized particles encoded with the mine-of-origin information (inside the small fissures of the emeralds) so regardless of how many stones are cut, they will bear the mark of The Lion.

Photo: Superman Movie, 1978

You can read more about the emerald and upcoming auction here, at the source article on

If you’re intrigued by Nanotechnology and gems, read this great article here from thejewelersblog

What’s your favorite gemstone?

Related posts:

You can read my other jewelry reports, articles about pink diamonds, fakes in royal collections, and visits to wonderful jewelers HERE.

Elizabeth Van Tassel writes compelling middle-grade fantasy. She brings her knowledge and expertise in the field of gemology to the page and infuses her love of folklore into modern adventures filled with mystery. A wildfire survivor, Elizabeth also understands the both power of loss and the power of hope. And she’s always on the hunt for a great story. Elizabeth currently resides in the Bay Area with her husband and two sons. She can be found wandering the gardens of Filoli House, enjoying her favorite coffee shops, and engaging with other writers.

3 Responses to "Inspiring Emerald Gem Discovery"
  1. Pam Halter says:

    That emerald is amazing!! You HAVE to use it in a story! Emeralds, I’ve learned, are also equated with success. So if you have something you want to have success with, you wear emeralds while doing it. 🙂

    My favorite gemstone … hmmmm … ya know, I’m not sure. I tend to prefer the darker stones, like garnets. And my birthstone is amethyst, which can be dark or light. I don’t have a favorite. They’re all beautiful in their own unique way.

    • evantassel says:

      Love this Pam! Now I need to shop for emeralds to wear while writing, love that thought! They are amazing up close in the microscope, too. Have you ever investigated the huge amethyst caves in Brazil? There’s even an amethyst chapel…so intriguing!

  2. Pam Halter says:

    Oooooh – no! I’ll have to check them out. I did research on salt when I was writing Fairyeater and found some really cool piece of art made from salt. Research is so much fun!

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