Using diamonds for jewelry has been a traditional preference for a long time. However, colored stones like rubies, sapphires, and emeralds command a far greater value not just for their tremendous colors and durability but also because of rarity. Are you planning to invest in emerald jewelry?
Emerald’s an exotic gem, only found in some countries. Its value also differs from place to place depending on factors such as cut, color saturation, size, and shape. If you’re feeling lost, this in-depth guide will help you understand how emerald value is calculated.
Emerald is a cyclosilicate and a variety of the mineral beryl that typically grows in the form of hexagonal crystals in hydrothermal veins and magmatic pegmatites. The green color is because of trace elements like chromium and vanadium.
Unlike diamonds, emeralds have a low toughness scale so they break easily. This makes them more expensive to cut and reshape.
They’ve been mined by humans for thousands of years, with some of the earliest excavated emerald mines found in India and Egypt. They also have a deep cultural significance. The zodiac sign Cancer is believed by many to be symbolized by emeralds.
Emeralds are known for their exotic green tones that offer relaxation and positivity. Many psychological studies have found that green is the most relaxing color in the world. It’s no wonder emeralds are sought after by almost every jewelry maker and collector.
Is Emerald Rare?
Emeralds are very rare and found primarily in 4 countries — Brazil, Colombia, Zimbabwe, and Zambia. It’s reported that emeralds are approximately 20 times rarer than diamonds, which explains why they’re so ridiculously expensive.
How Much Is an Emerald Worth?
The price of a natural emerald can range from USD 1 to USD 100,000 a carat depending on the quality. There are various factors that can affect the value of emeralds such as color saturation and purity. Emeralds have to be professionally graded across multiple parameters. There are 3 grades of emeralds.
This is the highest grade of natural emerald you can buy, and it represents the top 10% of all emeralds. Natural AAA emeralds are a rich shade of green and give off tremendous luminosity under the light.
This is the second-best category of emeralds and accounts for roughly 20-30% of all the emeralds extracted. Natural A emeralds are medium green and tend to have moderate inclusion. Inclusion, in this context, is a term used by geologists to refer to material trapped inside the mineral as it forms.
Natural A is the lowest grade of emerald you can purchase, accounting for roughly 50-75% of all gemstones. They’re usually a deep shade of green with lots of inclusion but they still make really pretty jewelry.
Is Emerald More Expensive Than Diamond?
Generally speaking, yes, but that still depends on the grade. If you’re comparing a Natural A emerald to a brilliant-cut diamond, the emerald would probably be cheaper.
How To Know The Value Of An Emerald
Evaluating Clarity, Cut, And Size
Clarity refers to the level of inclusions present in the mineral and surface-breaking fissures that can’t be detected without magnification. Emeralds are magnified 10x and checked by eye for inclusion and cracks at the surface that affect the brilliance.
Emerald brilliance refers to the amount of sparkle emeralds exhibit — the more the purity the greater the brilliance and higher the price.
As mentioned earlier, emeralds are more fragile than diamonds. So they’re more expensive to mold and form. The price of an emerald can vary with the complexity of the shape it’s been given. Here are the different types of cuts emeralds receive:
The size of an emerald refers to its weight in carats. Approximately, 1 carat equals 0.007 ounces. So it goes without saying, the larger the emerald the more it’s likely to cost. This is true for all gemstones.
Being able to evaluate the color of an emerald, or any gemstone for that matter, is a skill that takes years to acquire since it’s still mostly done by the eye. Although, there are a few machines that can deduce the precise color by projecting light.
In gemology, the color is evaluated by dividing it into 3 components.
Emeralds naturally occur in hues ranging from blue to green or yellow to green. Typically, only emeralds with medium-to-dark green tones are considered real emeralds. Light-toned emeralds are classified as green beryl or Natural A.
Saturation refers to the chromatic intensity of the hue present in the gemstone. The richer the color the higher an emerald will be valued.
Tone refers to the visual perception of the gemstone’s luminosity, or how bright the green is. The brightest emeralds sell at the highest prices. Some additional treatments can help improve a natural emerald’s brightness. For instance, some manufacturers use epoxy resins to fill in the fractures of the stones to increase their value.
Buying An Emerald
Fortunately, purchasing an emerald is a lot less technical and more straightforward than purchasing a diamond. Here are some things you should know before you purchase an emerald.
#1. It’s best not to shop online because pictures don’t reveal the true luminosity or colors of the emerald. Only purchase emeralds that you can see in person first or shop in-store instead.
#2. All gemstones are evaluated based on the 4 C’s — clarity, cut, color, and carat weight.
#3. 99% of emeralds have been treated to improve clarity.
#4. Make sure your seller has a certificate from the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) to ensure you receive a 100% natural emerald. The GIA is a non-profit American institution that carries out research in the field of gemology and certifies natural gemstones for retailers.
What Is the Rarest Emerald in The World?
That would be the trapiche emeralds, found only in Columbia. They’re very limited in supply in the international market. What sets trapiche emeralds apart is the unique spoke pattern in them that is made from inclusions between growth sectors. From a distance, they resemble a radiant star.
Which Emerald Is the Best Quality?
Did you know there’s a quality grade higher than AAA? Heirloom emeralds are extremely rare and are the highest quality emerald you can purchase. Only a few exist, and they’re typically purchased by multi-millionaires or billionaires.