Emeralds, one of Minecraft's more illusive gems, were added to the game in snapshot 12w21b and will be making an appearance in Minecraft 1.3.
Emeralds may only be obtained from mining an emerald ore block which can only be found naturally occurring in an Extreme Hills biome (normally indicated by a lighter grass colour and, of course, large hills) below layer 32. To successfully mine the block you will require an iron pickaxe or better!
Emeralds tend to spawn in a vein of one... Yes. Just one O.o And can therefore appear to be rarer than even diamond, however due to the way in which they are generated (currently at least) they may be scattered, so it is advisable to dig the immediate area around an emerald ore block, as there is a possibility of another spawning there.
The main use of emeralds is as currency in trading with NPC Villagers or "Testificates" as they are colloquially known. The trading system wasn't avaliable before 12w21a so it will not work prior to this update. To trade simply right click an NPC and a GUI will appear with your trading options for the currently selected Villager. It is arguable that it is easier to obtain emeralds through trading rather than mining, due to their illusive-ness however trading still requires large amounts of other products, such as raw chicken.
After trading once with a Villager, wisps of smoke will begin spouting from it and more trade options will become available, after the smoke stops. Trading can allow you to gain access to difficult to obtain items, such as Eye of Ender or it can also grant you with enchantments for your tools early in the grand scheme of the game. A full list of trading procedures, along with exchange rates can be seen here.
Another use for emeralds is in the creation of the Emerald Block. Similar in properties to the diamond block, the emerald block can be used as a storage device for emeralds as it requires nine emeralds in order to fulfill its crafting requirements (which is reversible, i.e. nine emeralds = one emerald block). It may also be used as decoration or building, due to its high blast resistance however large amounts are difficult to obtain legitimately.
Finally, some trivia:
- Diamonds were originally listed as emeralds when they were first added into the game in Indev (0.31).
- Emeralds replaced rubies (currently unimplemented) sometime between the development and release of the snapshot.
- Because of the previous fact, Emerald Ore blocks were initially red.
- Also Emerald ore blocks (along with Lapis Lazuli ore blocks) are the only ore blocks to have a unique texture. All other ore blocks utilize the same basic pattern.
- The ore block drops one experience orb if mined without the silk touch enchantment.
- Emerald ore is the only biome specific ore (Extreme Hills Biome).
Thanks for reading and I hope this helps! This is my contest entry for the Minetorials Competion! If I get enough requests I might make a tutorial for all the ores of Minecraft! Unless I get lazy... :3
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|Credit:||Frog2face, Minecraft Wiki|