A Complete Overview Of Rare Emeralds
Of all the colored gemstones, the bluish-green color of emeralds truly set them apart.
Of all the unique qualities natural emeralds possess, most emeralds’ color is undoubtedly the primary determining factor of their value. For thousands of years, emeralds have been synonymous with green. However, the quality and clarity grade of green beryl crystals vary.
It requires a keen and trained eye to perceive the subtle differences between these gemstones, which ultimately have an immense impact on emerald value. This is particularly true for higher-quality emeralds.
As a member of the beryl mineral family, emeralds undeniably earn their status as a member of the traditional Big Four along with three other minerals and stones, namely rubies, sapphires, and diamonds.
They say that diamonds are a girl’s best friend, but we say an emerald crystal does just as well.
Quality Factors Of An Emerald Crystal
The Color Of This Precious Gemstone
The most high-quality emeralds have a bluish-green to pure green color. The tone is not too dark, and the gemstone has a vivid saturation. A quality emerald will be very transparent with an evenly distributed color. The emerald value increases if the stone lacks any eye-visible zoning in color.
If the color varies from a deep green hue to a more yellowish-green or blue, it is, in fact, not an emerald but rather a different variation of beryl. The stone’s value will not be significant if this is the case. The intense green hue of an emerald cannot be likened to other gemstones or anything else occurring in nature, for that matter. The bluish-green color of May’s birthstone is simply too unique and remarkable to be compared with any other stone.
The trace elements vanadium, chromium, and iron give emeralds their stunning color. The proportions of these components and the amounts in which they occur in an emerald provide these stones with their color and strong saturation.
The location of emerald mines greatly contributes to the appearance of an emerald crystal. For example, Zambian emeralds have a more bluish-green hue with a cooler effect, while Colombian emeralds have a more pure and intense green color with a warmer quality compared to other emeralds. Although there is truth to this theory, the genuine overall impression of emeralds overlaps from source to source.
The Clarity Of Emeralds
Emeralds commonly have eye-visible inclusions. These inclusions are visible even to the untrained eye, and traders and consumers accept and comprehend that emerald inclusions are natural.
When emerald inclusions are invisible to the average eye, the stone is referred to as an eye-clean emerald. These gemstones are particularly rare and therefore extremely valuable.
The French refer to emerald inclusions as “jargin,” which means garden. This description is appropriate as inclusions often appear garden-like or mossy.
As with many stones, the clarity and transparency of an emerald are closely associated. Although eye-visible inclusions are acceptable in moderation, inclusions are not accepted when they interfere with the clarity and transparency of an emerald. Such inclusions result in a massive decrease in an emerald’s value.
Emerald cuts must be performed precisely as any mistakes could lead to weight loss, which significantly reduces the value of the gem. The cutter is required to consider the durability, color depth, and inclusions before deciding on a cutting strategy.
These are four primary factors contributing to the complexity of cutting an emerald.
- Most emeralds have noticeable fractures or fissures. The cut must be designed to lessen the effects of the fractures on the final stone.
- Due to the presence of fractures, emeralds tend to be more brittle than other gemstones, such as corundum. This feature makes emeralds prone to damage during the polishing, cutting, and setting processes. They are even more likely to damage when worn daily. The emerald cut can contribute to the protection of the stone by allowing for prongs to be situated strategically.
- Because the green color of an emerald is so dominant in determining the value of the stone, the cut must act to enhance the effects of the tone, saturation, and hue of the color. A cutter can be mindful of this factor by correctly proportioning the number of facets. They can also add a deeper tone to a pale stone by ensuring fewer facets and cutting deep. Alternatively, a cutter can lighten a dark emerald by implementing a shallow cut and adding more facets.
- The dichroism from bluish-green to yellow-green that occurs in many emerald crystals motivates the cutter to position the table to be perpendicular to the length of the crystal. This will cause the bluish-green color to be more prominent, exalting the overall appearance of the gem.
Rough Colombian emeralds present a particularly challenging cutting process due to the distribution of the colors during their formation. The colors tend to be more intense on the surface of these gems, and if cutting isn’t planned efficiently, the stone may appear lighter than it did in its original form.
The Carat Weight Of An Emerald
Emeralds come in various sizes ranging from hundreds of carats in private collections and museums to merely a fraction of a carat in exceptionally small emeralds.
An emerald mine situated in Zimbabwe is renowned for mining extremely small stones with astonishing color. The gems they mine are typically approximately 0.05 to 0.25 carat after being cut. Popular jewelry ordinarily includes emeralds of around 1.50 in carat weight.
Furthermore, center stones typically consist of 1 to 5-carat gems, and the smallest sizes lie between 1 to 5 mm, being from 0.02 to 0.50 carats. Emerald’s value can rise significantly as sizes increase.
Emerald Buying Guide
As with most precious stones, an emerald’s cut refers to the shape, depth, width, and faceting of the stone. An emerald cut should preferably be symmetrical with unvaried facets to illuminate the gem’s brilliance.
If these gems are cut too deep, the light escapes from the sides, resulting in a darker tone. Conversely, if the gem is cut too shallow, the light will be trapped at the bottom of the emerald, hindering its brilliance.
An emerald cut is a square step or rectangular cut that is commonly implemented as it enhances the unique shape of the gem. The emerald cut is the most common cut and is still referred to as the “emerald cut,” even when applied to other stones such as diamonds.
Apart from emerald cuts, oval and round cuts are alternative cuts, though being more costly. However, these cuts aren’t used frequently as a large amount of gem mass is wasted in the process.
Moreover, other cuts for emerald include cabochons, pear cuts, princess, trilliant, brilliant, and fancy cuts.
Carat weight is unequivocally a chief determining factor of the value of an emerald. A 5-carat gem will always be more valuable than a 2 carat stone when all other factors are equal.
However, the number of carats plays a larger role in the value of diamonds than it does in an emerald. Though carats are important, color, cut, and clarity is considered higher priority factors.
Most emerald experts claim that it is wiser to purchase a smaller gemstone with higher color quality than a larger stone with more carats and lower color quality.
Before considering purchasing an emerald gemstone or emerald jewelry, it is worth noting that the price will drastically increase once you move past the one-carat barrier. The reason is that the labor involved in finding a gem larger than one carat is quite substantial.
Mind The Inclusions
You will inevitably come across fissures and inclusions in your search for an emerald, but it is essential to note which kind of inclusions they are. Avoid purchasing an emerald with bubble-like inclusions, large blotches, or flaws that appear to be arranged in a specific manner.
It is a good sign if the inclusions are located deep under the surface of the emerald, as they are less likely to cause chips and fractures when they are being handled or worn. This is an especially important factor to keep in mind due to the brittle nature of an emerald. These gems are much more likely to break than other precious stones, like diamonds.
To ensure a diligent assessment of your emerald, look at a magnified picture of the gem to evaluate the jardin more efficiently.
5 Things You Didn’t Know About Emeralds
(1) An Emerald Is Often More Valuable Than A Diamond
When the terms “expensive gemstones” or “rare stone” are mentioned, our minds immediately go to diamonds. However, you may be surprised to learn that emeralds are over twenty times rarer than diamonds, which results in emeralds having a higher price.
Emeralds are often deemed handy because they appear much larger than diamonds with comparable carat weight. An emerald is less dense, so it could be much bigger than a diamond, making them popular in statement emerald rings and other birthstone jewelry.
(2) Emeralds are history’s oldest gems
Molecular techniques have established some emeralds to be almost 3 billion years old. The first emeralds were mined around 1500 BC by the Egyptians. In ancient times, emeralds were believed to symbolize rebirth and fertility.
Emeralds were often buried with mummies as a symbol of lasting youth. Evidently, many ancient civilizations recognized the astonishing beauty of emeralds long before even being able to cut and finish them. Not to mention the Aztecs and Incas, who used to worship these green gems as gods.
Today, Colombia in South America is the largest geographical source of emeralds, producing over 50% of the world’s emeralds.
(3) Emeralds Are The Softest Known Gems
Inclusions contribute to the artistic nature of emeralds, but unfortunately, they cause these stones to be susceptible to cracking and breaking if they are exposed to hard blows or significant temperature alterations.
For this reason, most emeralds are treated with colorless oil that fills in the cracks and prevents breakage or chipping. This is why emeralds should never be exposed to harsh chemicals or an ultrasound machine that will deteriorate the oil treatment. Instead, use warm water and a soft cloth to clean these stones. Baby or cedar oil is often used to add a protective layer over emeralds. Untreated emeralds are likely to be more prone to damage and brittleness.
(4) Trace Elements Result In The Green Color Of An Emerald
Emeralds Consist of green beryl. The green color stems from trace amounts of the elements vanadium and chromium. Other precious stones can frequently be found in a variety of colors, where emeralds only ever exist as green gems. However, the saturation and tone of the color differ depending on the origin of the stone, among other factors.
The notably paler stones are frequently wrongly classified as emeralds, as they are, in truth, other beryl variants. Vivid bluish-green emeralds are the most desirable and also hold a higher price.
(5) Inclusions Are Nearly Always Present In Emeralds
In a diamond, clarity is the primary factor contributing to the value of the stone, whereas inclusions are almost a given in an emerald. Around 99% of natural emeralds will definitively have inclusions. If a stone is not even slightly included, it is likely to be synthetic.
When emeralds undergo crystallization, inclusions form due to other minerals, crystals, and gases. Inclusions contribute to the uniqueness of each individual emerald and often create interesting patterns in the stone. This distinctiveness actually raises the value of a gem. The clarity of an emerald is usually examined without the use of a magnifier and defines what the stone looks like inside.
The resins and oils used in treating these gems enhance their clarity and, thereby, their grade and quality.
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