The Perfect Imperfections: Trapiche Emerald

The Perfect Imperfections: Trapiche Emerald

Whilst we are always in search for perfection in gemstones, we also love all things rare and unique. Natural inclusions can bring a whole new character and beauty to a stone. Sami wants to share her favourite types of "imperfectly perfect" gemstones with you in this new series, called The Perfect Imperfections.

What Is A Trapiche?

A trapiche is made from carbon impurities within a gemstone, and forms a wheel-like shape with six spokes that extend outwards from a hexagonal core. This phenomenon is named after a Colombian grinding wheel used in the processing of sugarcane. 

A trapiche can form within many varieties of stones, however the most prized is the trapiche emerald that can famously be mined in Colombia. The trapiche emerald was also recently discovered in Brazil.


The first ever trapiche emerald to be noted in history was by Emile Bertrand, a French mineralogist. In 1879, Emile presented the trapiche emerald during a meeting at the Société Géologique de France. The earliest record of trapiche emerald being used to adorn jewellery is a ring that dates back to the 19th century and is now owned by the Victoria & Albert Museum in London.

A Jeweller's Tips

The most flattering cut for a trapiche emerald is the cabochon as it is said to accentuate the aesthetics of the stone. Like all emeralds, a trapiche has usually undergone a filling treatment using oil or epoxy. Emeralds are notoriously fragile stones and the trapiche phenomenon worsens this property, which is why many jewellers are less likely to use them in jewellery designs where there can be possible impact, for example in rings.

Nature's creations make for a fascinating array of gemstones that are loved for their individuality. The trapiche emerald is just one of many examples on how inclusions can increase the value of a gemstone.