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Emerald Education

Color

Emeralds are synonymous with green color. The rich green color found in emeralds is nearly impossible to replicate in any other natural gemstone. The most sought after color for emeralds is the bluish green to green color. The color of emeralds are impacted by 3 trace elements - Chromium, vanadium and iron. The proportion of these trace elements forge the color of an emerald.

Unlike diamonds, there is no standardized color grading for emeralds. There are so many different degrees of hues, saturation and tones amongst emeralds that it is nearly impossible to create a universal color grading. We have adopted a grading system as described below to differentiate amongst the different emerald colors:

Emerald Color Grading

Intense Green:

This is the highest color grading for our emeralds. Color of these emeralds is as deep of a green an emerald can get without turning opaque or being overly colored. Brilliance of these emeralds is also excellent.

Vivid Green:

Color of these emeralds is a shade less of a green than intense. Such emeralds have extremely rich green vivid color and are highly sought after.

Deep Green:

Such emeralds are overly green (which is preferred by many people). Such stones generally don't have as much brilliance as the intense green stones, due to the depth of saturation of color, but are preferred by a lot of conusmers because they are significantly less in price than an intense green emerald. Such emeralds are still quite rare and in demand.

Medium Green:

Such emeralds are very pleasant to the eyes as they are not too dark or too light and have very good brilliance to them. These emeralds generally have 50 to 70% color saturation.

Soft Green:

Such emeralds are lighter in color than medium green emeralds and generally have color saturation of 20-40%. These emeralds have very good to excellent brilliance.

Impact on Price

The price of an emerald is directly related to the degree and vibrancy of green color. However, as an emerald becomes overly green, reducing its transparency, the price of the emerald will begin to decrease. A yellowish hue in color will also reduce its value.

What Color is right for you?

Color is a personal preference. While there is no right or wrong answer, prices are set by supply and demand for specific colors. We recommend customers find the color that appeals to them the most and not be swayed only by price.

 

Clarity

Clarity refers to the imperfections visible in an emerald. It is very common to see eye visible imperfections in an emerald. Eye clean emeralds are exceptionally rare. Typical imperfections in an emerald include feathers, cavities and color zoning. The placement and size of the imperfections affect the value of the emerald.

Unlike diamonds, gemstones are graded without any tool or magnification to make clarity judgments. Instead, gemstones are inspected by holding them 12 inches from the observers eye and tilting them in various directions to visually inspect if any inclusions are visible. The grading below is based on this methodology. 

Note: Only imperfections viewable on the crown (top part of the gemstone) are inspected and not the pavilion (back side)

FL - This is the highest clarity grade an emerald can have. Very little to no imperfections visible to the naked eye.
VVS1, VVS2 - Minimal imperfections visible to the naked eye.
VS1, VS2 - Moderate imperfections visible to the naked eye.
SI1, SI2 - Average clarity grade for an emerald. Imperfections will be visible to the naked eye.
I1 - These emeralds are highly included where the inclusions hinder the brilliance and color of the emerald.

Impact on Price

It is very rare to find an emerald without any imperfection. For this reason, the value of eye clean emeralds is significantly more. Clarity can have a material downward impact when the imperfections are significantly affecting the appearance of the gemstone. There is no value added if an emerald is clean to the eye vs. magnification.

What Clarity is right for you?

If a customer wants an above average clarity gemstone, then it better to stick with minimum VS2 clarity grade. However, for customers that want to view very little to no visible imperfections with the eye, it is better to look for VVS2 and higher clarity emeralds.

 

Cut

It is unfair to compare the cut of an emerald to a diamond. Unlike diamonds, cutting an emerald to text book proportions will not guarantee amazing sparkle in the gemstone. The quality of the emerald crystal dictates the sparkle you will see. Some crystals are opaque and others very transparent. 

Emeralds are cut to maximize their color, clarity and minimize the amount of fractures within a gemstone (thereby improving its durability).

Impact on Price

Pricing of an emerald is determined from the physical measurements  and less so from its carat weight. Emeralds are cut to maximize the color saturation. Because there is no standardization of cut in an emerald, it is the least important of the 4 C's in affecting its value.

What cut is right for you?

In general, the cut of an emerald should not affect your purchasing decision. However, the desired look of the ring can impact the cut requirement. Certain settings look best with well proportioned emeralds.


Carat Weight

Carat weight is the unit of measure for gemstones. One carat is equivalent to 0.20grams. In general, the higher the carat weight of the gemstone, the higher the price per carat.

To gauge the size of a gemstone (visual appearance), it is always better to look at the physical measurements as opposed to the carat weight. Color stones tend to be cut deeper than diamonds and will therefore will almost always have a higher carat weight. However, please note that emeralds are less dense than diamonds and so they will weigh less than similar cut diamonds.

Click here for our stone size chart

 

Treatment

Due to the significant fractures found in natural Emeralds, it is generally accepted that emeralds will be clarity enhanced. Emeralds are typically clarity enhanced with oils (traditional treatment) and polymers (modern treatment) that fill in the surface reaching fractures. Color enhancement is not an acceptable form of treatment for an emerald.

Impact on Price

Treatments that are not generally accepted in the trade such as dying and color enhancement will have a material downward impact on its price. Untreated emeralds will carry a 100-300% premium over similar quality treated emeralds. The premium rises as the size and quality of the emerald increases.

What treatment is right for you?

The desired quality and allocated budget will determine what treatment is right for you. It is always best to purchase emeralds with stable treatments. Customers should avoid emeralds that don't adhere to generally accepted treatments.

 

Origin

Emeralds are mined in various locations around the world.  All origins produce high and low quality gemstones. The origin of an emerald can have impact in its value, primarily in the higher quality. Low quality emeralds will not receive a premium even though they are mined from a rare and prestigious origin.  See below various origins emeralds are mined from:

 

Emerald Origins
Colombian These are considered the best quality emeralds. Such emeralds are known for having exceptional brilliance.
Zambian Produce very high quality emeralds and are known to have deep forest green color.
Brazilian Brazilian emeralds offer a fine deep green color but tend to have more imperfections.

 Impact on Price

Colombian emeralds will carry a premium over emeralds from other origins. The premium grows as the quality and size/weight of a gemstone increases.

What origin is right for you?

For most customers origin should not factor into the decision making process. All origins produce low, medium and high quality gemstones. It is more important to find the quality of the gemstone you want than the origin. For investors, it is always better to purchase a high quality gemstone from a premium origin.

 

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