Buying Emeralds

 

Seeing Green: All About Emeralds

 

I’m a great lover of colored gemstones, and I particularly love a really great emerald. When you find a really clear, dark, big emerald, it ignites something special inside. In my years of treasure-hunting, I’ve come across thousands of emeralds and have bought some really special stones (as well as some not so special ones!)

If you’re hunting for a ring or other piece of jewelry that features an emerald, here’s my take on the few most important things to take into consideration:

Buying Emeralds

1. Look for Pure Color

When you’re hunting for emeralds, the first thing to keep in mind is color. Emerald hue can range from a yellowish green to pure green all the way to a bluish-green, with the most desirable stones exhibiting a rich and pure green color. Compare emeralds by their color, and you’ll see that some stones will really jump out and catch your eye with their deep, intense green.

2. Colombian or Zambian Emeralds?

The most sought after emeralds in the world today come from mines in Colombia and Zambia. Colombia is the traditional source of the best emeralds, but Zambia has come onto the scene strong. I wouldn’t hesitate to purchase a Zambian emerald so long as it met the other criteria I look for in a stone: color, clarity, and cut.

Believe it or not, there is actually a difference between Colombian and Zambian stones! Colombian stones are known for their deep emerald green, while Zambian stones can have a slightly more bluish-green shade (although not bluish enough to make the stones undesirable – just a slightly different quality of green).

Some people also suggest that Colombian stones exhibit their darkest, most intense color towards their edges with the center appearing clearer, while Zambian stones maintain their intense color throughout. These are minor differences and are ultimately a matter of personal preference.

A 5.65 carat Colombian emerald from the Jogani collection

3. Inclusions - Desirable or Not?

Emeralds typically have some inclusions, and there’s more tolerance for that in emeralds than when buying and selling diamonds. This is just the nature of the material, and while the most included stones are usually set aside for commercial use, even in gemstone quality emeralds you are going to see some internal feathering and other inclusions. These can give a stone some character! If inclusions start to seriously obscure the clarity of the stone, then it might not be the right emerald to buy. 

4. Treated? Untreated? Strengthened?

There are a variety of treatments gemologists can use to improve the appearance of emeralds, including heating for color and treating with oil to fill inclusions. While there’s nothing inherently wrong with these practices, untreated stones will always have more value than treated stones of similar appearance, and at Jogani, we hunt for natural or minimally treated stones. Consider your budget and the purpose you have in mind: are you planning to wear the stone, or are you buying it as an investment with the hopes of making a profit? You yourself might not mind wearing a treated stone, and that’s an important thing to take into consideration.

And there you have it - the ABCs on emeralds! In the end, if you’re buying a piece for personal use, the most important thing is whether it grabs your eye, captures your imagination, and feels right for you. When a piece of jewelry makes you feel more beautiful and confident, everything else is secondary. Good luck and happy hunting!