The celebrated emerald of lore, the May birthstone, has a place in any gem collection. However, it poses some challenges. Although one of the three primary color gems (along with ruby and sapphire), the emerald has an entirely different market than other gems. Even very high quality emeralds have flaws and inclusions. As a result, green gems of all sorts, such as sapphire, diopside, peridot, fluorite, 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 4Cs

The IGS emerald value listing has price guidelines for faceted and cabbed pieces.

Color

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, and the…