Emeralds are rapidly becoming a growing trend in the jewelry trade. An increasing number of people are choosing emeralds over diamonds, sapphires and other gems in every type of setting from pendants to engagement rings. As a symbol, the green color of emeralds represents new life, humility and unwavering loyalty, and thus it has gained popularity with buyers looking to give a gift that symbolizes these vital traits of friendship and romance.
With any gemstone purchase, buyers tend to ask how to determine if they are getting their money’s worth. Here is a brief guide to help you find an emerald that is not only beautiful but possesses true value.
Buying An Emerald: The Qualities That Matter
Purchasing an emerald is a far simpler affair than shopping for a diamond, though some of the same principles apply. Just as with diamonds, you need to look at these Four Cs of emerald buying:
Emeralds are prized for their distinctive color more than their cut or brilliance. The three factors to consider when looking at the color of an emerald are hue, tone and saturation. To determine the hue, examine the stone carefully to determine if there is more yellow or blue in the particular shade of green. Most emeralds on the gemstone market today are sourced from Colombia, and these stones are well-known for their bluish-green hue. The bluer the emerald, the more desirable the stone.
– Tone is also important to the coloration, as it determines how much light is reflected versus how much is absorbed. Darker-toned emeralds are not necessarily superior in quality or value to those of a lighter tone, but the most beautiful emeralds are often of a medium to medium-dark tone.
– Saturation of an emerald is determined by the intensity and strength of its color. To the jeweler’s eye, stones with more vivid greens are desirable, as they catch the light and display the beauty of the inner layers of the emerald. When considering the color of an emerald, look for a bluish-green stone with medium to medium-dark tone and vivid color saturation to ensure you get the best and most beautiful stone for your money, even if it carries a slightly higher price tag.
The grading scale for emerald clarity is wholly different from that for diamonds. Natural diamonds have many inclusions, which are imperfections that appear as dark spots, while an emerald with no inclusions is likely not a natural stone. As a GIA Type III stone, emeralds are members of the beryl family, and one of the hallmarks of beryl stones is inclusions from liquids, gas and trace minerals like chromium and vanadium.
– Inclusions are also the reason that 80-95% of the rough on an emerald must be cut away to produce a gemstone. So, if you see any dark traces, they are not an indication of poor quality. The only inclusions that are red flags are fissures and inclusions that look like bubbles, seem arranged in a specific order or are obvious large blotches. These inclusions indicate weaknesses within the stone itself, which may result in chipping or shattering over long periods of time.
The faceting, shape, width and depth of an emerald should be uniform and symmetrical to bring out the color and brilliance of the stone. If the cut of an emerald is too deep, light will pass through it without sufficient reflection and it will appear dull or dark. If it is cut too shallow, light cannot reach the heart of the stone to allow it to reflect brilliantly.
Bigger is not always better with emeralds. Larger stones can be cut in ways to reflect brilliantly that are not possible with smaller stones, but total carat weight has less impact on the price of an emerald than it does on the price of a diamond.
Experts recommend purchasing a smaller carat weight emerald with superior color and clarity than a larger, lower-quality stone to get a better value. Any emerald larger than one carat will be significantly more expensive due to the rarity and cost of acquisition. Finding a single one-carat, gem-quality stone requires removing approximately five tons of dirt. Even when mining an emerald deposit, it is an expensive undertaking that is reflected in the final sticker price.
Choosing an emerald demonstrates not only a unique taste in gems but also discernment about the symbolism that the gemstone carries when presented in an engagement ring, anniversary ring or other gifts of jewelry. Be sure to mind the Four Cs of emerald buying, so you can choose the emerald that not only suits your personal taste but also lives up to its value.
If you’re interested in buying an emerald cut diamond for your fiancée or significant other, Mark has chosen a handful of the best emerald cut diamonds from our vast inventory of diamonds around the world. Shop our complete diamond inventory online at MarksDiamonds.com or shop in-store at our Cherry Creek North location–book your appointment with Mark today!