Emerald Buying Guide
Our emerald buying guide can help you learn how these gems are graded, what to avoid, and how to identify a high-quality stone or a bargain in the rough.
6 Minute Read
Although one of the three traditional color gems (along with ruby and sapphire), emerald has an entirely different market than these other stones. Even very high-quality emeralds have flaws and inclusions. As a result, green gems of all sorts, such as diopside, fluorite, peridot, green sapphire, chrome tourmaline, and more, have been used as simulants. They've also received marketable but misleading names like "oriental emerald" to increase their value.
Indeed, if green jewelry is your ultimate goal, you may find a natural emerald the most expensive option for the quality of the gem.
Emerald Buying and the 4 Cs
The IGS emerald value listing has price guidelines for faceted and cabbed pieces.
How Green is Emerald Green?
As with other colored gems, the primary factor in an emerald's value is its color. Emerald is the green variety of beryl, and its color arises from trace amounts of chromium or vanadium. Trace iron content may cause secondary blue or yellow hues.
Chromium or Vanadium?
Some connoisseurs assert that true emeralds are colored by chromium, whereas the gems colored primarily with vanadium are simply green beryl. The distinction coincides with the emerald's geological origin. Chromium colors...
A geologist, environmental engineer and Caltech graduate, Addison’s interest in the mesmerizing and beautiful results of earth’s geological processes began in her elementary school’s environmental club. When she isn’t writing about gems and minerals, Addison spends winters studying ancient climates in Iceland and summers hiking the Colorado Rockies.
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