Buying an Emerald? Make Sure to Read This First!

Emeralds have been prized throughout history for their unique color, beauty, and rarity. These stunning gemstones have been sought-after for thousands of years for their deep green color and crystal appearance that gives off an exquisite sparkle.

With all that history behind this gemstone, buying one can be quite an intimidating task. If you’re looking to buy an emerald and need to learn fast, you are in the right place! Let’s talk about what you need to know and look for in an emerald before you buy it.

What is an Emerald?

Emeralds are precious gemstones that come from the beryl family of minerals. These are some of the most valuable gemstones you can find and have been throughout a major part of written history. 

There are records of emeralds being mined dating as far back as 330 BC but there has been evidence of emeralds being used much earlier than that. Emeralds have been cherished by many cultural and historical figures throughout history, including Elizabeth Taylor, her famous $6.5 million dollar emerald necklace, and Cleopatra, the Egyptian ruler who loved emeralds so much that she claimed ownership of all emerald-producing mines in Egypt. 

Emeralds are made when mineral-rich magma and water combine and begin to form an internal crystal structure. The color that the emerald will hold is determined by certain trace elements left over after the magma cools, such as vanadium and chromium, which give it the vibrant green coloring that emerald is known for.

Emerald has been mined for thousands of years in sites all around the world. Some of the more famous deposits of emeralds have been located in Brazil, Russia, and India, with the largest emerald mine in the world being located in Kagem, located in Zambia.

Since emerald is considered to be a durable gemstone, with a hardness level of 7.5 on the Mohs scale, it is often used in everyday-wear jewelry, sculptures, watches, and other decorative pieces.

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What Factors Determine the Value of an Emerald?

There are a few things that can affect the value of an emerald. Since emeralds are prized for their lovely green hue, it should come as no surprise that the color of the gem is one of the main factors that determines its value. This means that the darker the saturation of the green color in the emerald, the more valuable it will be. 

Emeralds that have a deep, rich, and vibrant green color distributed evenly through the gemstone will be considered to be of higher quality than one that has a more pale green shade with uneven coloring. 

Related: Which Jewelry Is Hypoallergenic?

Another important factor that determines how much an emerald is worth is clarity. An emerald that is free of any inclusions, which are small imperfections in the structure of the gemstone and blemishes, is considered to be perfect and will be much more valuable than an emerald that has visible flaws.

The way that an emerald is cut can significantly affect its value. A poorly cut emerald will look sloppy and dull, while an expertly cut emerald will bring out color and luster while raising its value. Emeralds that are cut into traditional shapes, such as oval or round, tend to be more valuable than emeralds that have unique or unusual shapes.

Related: A Complete Guide to Gem Cuts: Everything You Need to Know

The size of the emerald also has an impact on its value. Larger emeralds are much rarer and harder to find, so they are more valuable than smaller gemstones. 

Where the emerald was mined can also affect its value. Emeralds from regions like Columbia and Zambia are considered to be of higher quality than those mined from other locations. This 

makes emeralds from these regions to be more valuable than others. 

Emeralds are Treated for Clarity

Most emeralds that are on the market will have been treated in order to improve their clarity. The most popular treatment used is oiling, which involves applying clear oil to the stone. This fills in any fissures, cracks, or other inclusions that can take away from the clarity and brilliance of the emerald.

Related: Guide to Gemstones: Colorful Stones

Heat treatment, where the stone is heated up to a high temperature to reduce the appearance of inclusions and enrich the color of the stone, is another popular method of improving an emerald’s clarity.

While all of these treatments are meant to improve the clarity of an emerald, they will reduce the value of the emerald when applied.

Things to Know Before Buying an Emerald

Here are some things that you should know before you set out to buy an emerald. Make sure that you take a look at an emerald in person before you buy it. It can be close to impossible to see the color of the emerald through a photograph since green colors tend not to photograph well.

Remember that all gems, including emeralds and diamonds, are rated according to the 4Cs, which are the color, cut, carat, and clarity of the gem. 

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Final Thoughts

Purchasing an emerald is going to be an exciting and rewarding experience! Before you buy your emerald, make sure you understand the properties that make it valuable so that you can make an informed decision and make sure you purchase your precious stone from a reputable dealer.