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A Guide on the Different Types of Emeralds and How to Buy Them

Emeralds are one of the ten most valuable gemstones in the world.

With their brilliant color and deep tones, it is no wonder that emeralds are a popular choice for exceptional rings, bracelets, and earrings.

Like diamonds, emeralds are a bit pricey, and you will have to do a little homework to avoid making an exceptionally poor purchase.

What are some types of emeralds you should consider, and how do you know you aren’t getting scammed?

Let’s take a look.

  1. Colombian Emeralds

Columbia is responsible for the largest production of emeralds in the world. They are known for their high quality and vivid color.

The three main emerald mines in Columbia are Coscuez, Chivor, and Muzo. They produce some of the best emeralds worldwide.

Columbian emeralds have a pure, dark, leafy green color. They tend to have a larger number of inclusions, or imperfections, than emeralds from Zambia, the world’s second-largest emerald producer.

Columbian emeralds get made mostly from the sedentary rock. They have high amounts of “Jardin,” the French word for garden. Jardin may look like branches or plant roots and are known for their dark color.

Columbian emeralds are generally more expensive than those from Zambia. They are more labor-intensive to cut because they have a stronger color on the surface.

  1. Zambian Emeralds

Zambia is a region of Africa that is rich in emeralds. Its neighboring countries, Tanzania and Mozambique, are also known for their gemstones.

Zambian emeralds have a greater degree of clarity than Columbian emeralds. They also have vivid green-bluish colors, which they get from the presence of iron.

Zambian emeralds tend to have a lower price than Columbian emeralds. They have been increasing in popularity over the last two decades.

  1. Brazilian Emeralds 

Brazilian emeralds have a vibrant, rich green color. A quality Brazilian emerald will display a natural glow, rich color, and good transparency, which adds to the value of the gemstone.

Brazil also produces the rare cat’s-eye emerald and the very rare six-spoke star emerald.

  1. Cat’s Eye Emeralds

Cat’s eye emeralds have a rare effect, called chatoyancy, which looks like a wide slit in a cat’s pupil. When the light falls on a gem, the sharp bands formed are perpendicular to the fine, tubal structures that occur naturally.

Cat’s eye emeralds are extremely rare and come only from Columbia or Brazil.

  1. Trapiache Emeralds

Trapiache emeralds have a hexagonal “hub.” They are often found in Columbia and are some of the rarest patterned gemstones on earth.

Trapiache stones are characterized by their high symmetry and feature exclusions of organic matter.

  1. Color and Clarity

As with diamonds, it is important to look for the four c’s when you are purchasing an emerald.

Color is the most important factor. You want to choose a stone with a vibrant hue.

Saturation gives emeralds their intensity and strength. Darker and deeper saturation of color will lead to a higher price tag. Eyes are usually drawn to more vivid saturation and a lighter tone.

Emeralds are usually either very light or very dark.

Clarity is the second “C” to consider with gemstones. Those emeralds with better clarity will fetch a higher price on the market.

Inclusions are present in about 99% of emeralds. You should be wary when none are present, as the stone may not be real.

Emeralds belong to the beryl mineral family, and inclusions result from bits of gas, liquid, and other minerals trapped in the stone. About 80-95% of rough must get cut away to produce a gemstone. This leads to a smaller yield and a higher price for purchasers.

Be sure that your stone’s inclusions are set near the surface, or they will create fractures when set or worn. Emeralds are not as strong as diamonds, and they will chip more easily.

Beware of inclusions that look like bubbles. You should also stay away from those that appear to be in a pattern and inclusions in big blotches.

Cedar oil and other synthetic oils are often used to improve the clarity of emeralds.

  1. Cut and Carat

Cut refers to an emerald’s faceting, shape, width, and depth. If your emerald gets cut too deeply, the light will escape and it will look dark. If it is cut too shallow, the light will be lost at the bottom of the stone.

As you might expect, the “emerald” gemstone cut is popular for emeralds, as it is thought to maximize the shape of the rough. There are also round and oval cuts, which tend to be more expensive and rare.

Carat weight will help determine the price of an emerald. More important, however, is the weight of the stones. The cost of your emerald will jump considerably if it is larger than one carat.

It is more desirable to purchase a smaller emerald with excellent color than a larger one with poor color quality.

You shouldn’t be afraid to look at a stone that is not certified, but you will want to be sure that it is natural. If it speaks to you in terms of hue, tone, and saturation, it will be a good investment and family heirloom.

Clean your emerald with a mild soapy solution and toothbrush at least once a month. Here is more information on how to care for it properly.

Types of Emeralds

If you are considering purchasing a gemstone, you may be wondering about the types of emeralds available. With careful consideration of color, clarity, cut, and carat, you can find a valuable gemstone you can pass down for generations to come.

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About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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