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Emerald Price Guide

From Queen Cleopatra to ancient Colombia, emeralds have been among the most prized gemstones for centuries. While emerald prices may have changed since the millennium turned, these brilliant green gemstones still turn heads of jewelry collectors and gift givers alike.

Emerald tones mirror the greens we see in late spring and early summer, from soft grassy tones with yellow and blue hues to deep rich evergreens. And emeralds are excellent gifts for the Tauruses or Geminis in your circle since it’s the birthstone for May.

Before you start shopping in the Emerald aisle, take some time to get to know the world’s most valuable green-colored gemstone. In this guide, we’ll cover the general market price of emeralds, how they compare to diamonds, and all the factors that affect emerald prices.

How expensive is an emerald?

On their own, emerald prices can range between $200 to over $9000 per stone. But this can also change if the stone is set in jewelry like rings, necklaces, earrings, and bracelets.

Emeralds are subject to a huge price range with engagement rings ranging between $1,500 to over $7,000. When buying individual emeralds, there’s not really a definitive number. Instead, it boils down to the color, cut, clarity, and carat size of individual stones.

What is the price of a 1 carat emerald?

Emeralds range between $200 to $9,000 per carat depending on the color, clarity, and cut of the individual stones. Like diamonds, these gems can be naturally mined or lab grown. Lab grown emeralds tend to cost much less, around $350 per carat on average.

Are emeralds more expensive than diamonds?

They can be! Despite emerald mines placed around the globe, gem-quality emeralds tend to be harder to find than diamonds. And while quality grading systems for diamonds and emeralds are similar, there’s a higher emphasis on emerald color than in diamonds. For example, this means a small but richly colored emerald could cost more than a large but cloudy diamond.

How are emeralds graded?

Color, clarity, cut, and carat are all important in emeralds. But unlike diamonds, emeralds are a Type III gem. Stones in this category almost always have small marks inside the stone (also called inclusions). But with the right cut, they can add to the character of the emerald.

Emerald price can change with how the inclusions are displayed within the stone. These jardins (French for “garden”) can form as crystals, bubbles, or stripes. Emeralds often go through some amount of artificial treatment to fill in these pores.

How the 4 Cs Impact Emerald Price

Rated between C grade to AAA+, the lowest grade emeralds are the cheapest, but lack the qualities that make the gem so coveted. They’re often cloudier with more flaws on the inside, poorly cut, or weigh much less.

Emerald Color

Emeralds come in a range of colors from light bluish green (like a traffic light) to the signature deep green tones. However, darker doesn’t guarantee a high emerald price. Rich tones are greatly valued, but rich color saturation has a greater effect on an emerald’s value.

Emerald Cut

The inclusions inside an emerald are part of what makes every stone unique. It’s hard to find an emerald without them and the tiny marks inside an emerald make each one special. A valuable emerald will have a cut that correctly shows its depth and symmetry with its jardin inside on full display to highlight the emerald’s special character.

Emerald Clarity

Inclusions and flaws are expected in most emeralds, but the fewer the better — it’s a purity thing. These inclusions also make a difference in how the stone is cut and treated. Clarity can depend on the inclusions inside and the cut of the stone itself. The clearer an emerald looks on the inside, the more valuable it is.

Emerald Carat

Like diamonds, emeralds are weighted in carats. But size isn’t everything. A smaller emerald with a high clarity, rich color, and professional cut could be more highly valued than a larger counterpart with a cloudy, dull inside. In general, it’s better to look for an emerald with the right color and cut than find the first giant one you come across.

How Origin Impacts Emerald Price

From Colombia to India, North Carolina to Australia, emeralds are found around the globe. But how does an emerald’s origin change its price?

Colombia is considered to be the source of the world’s finest emeralds. With major mines like Muzo and Chivor, this South American country produces nearly 90% of the global emerald supply. The mineral deposits in these Colombian mines differ from others and tend to produce clearer, richer stones that fetch a higher market price.

How Treatment Impacts Emerald Price

Artificial treatment is par for the course with emeralds. With expected inclusions inside nearly all emeralds, it’s rare to find one that hasn’t gone through some kind of treatment. A majority of the stones out there go through a cedar oil bath to fill in gaps and cavities within the stone itself. However, for the rare cases when an emerald without heavy inclusions does come to market, these untreated stones are much more valuable.

Treatment is also important after it’s been purchased. If you own emerald jewelry or plan to give a piece to a special someone, learn how to clean emeralds properly to ensure longevity. To clean an emerald, use a mixture of warm water and gentle soap (especially if it’s in a piece worn daily). Never steam, heat, chemically treat, or put your emeralds into a sonic bath. While these stones are tough, they can still be brittle and crack or sustain damage if improperly cleaned.

Emerald Price FAQs

What is beryl?

Beryl is the name of the mineral that makes up emeralds. Thanks to deposits of chemicals like chromium (also found in rubies) and vanadium (found in Tanzanite), beryl turns green and into what we know as an emerald.

Are all green beryls emeralds?

While every emerald is beryl, not all beryls are emeralds. (Kind of like cactuses and succulents or turtles and tortoises). The presence of chromium and vanadium is essential for turning a beryl stone into an emerald. A green beryl isn’t considered an emerald unless its color is highly saturated.

Do emerald colors vary by origin location?

Yes. Even countries like Colombia with multiple emerald mines can produce stones that vary in color. For example, even diamonds within a single country can vary in color. The famous Muzo mines tend to produce rich green emeralds while 250 kilometers away, Chivor’s emeralds hold a blue hue.

It all boils down to the geology of the area. While beryl is found the world over, different beryl deposits can have different levels of chromium and vanadium inside. So you’re likely to find color variations in emeralds despite close proximity.

Where do most emeralds come from?

Columbia is known as the world’s largest supplier of emeralds. Muzo and Chivor are the country’s best known mines. But you can find mineral deposits around the globe in other South American countries, throughout Africa, India, Europe, and even in the US.

There are also lab grown emeralds out there if you’re looking for gemstones with a gentler ecological impact.

How much is an unpolished emerald worth?

Generally, unpolished emerald prices land around $200 per carat. They tend to weigh more than polished emeralds since the process chips away much of the stone. The mine where the unpolished emerald was found also impacts price — Zambian and Colombian emeralds cost much more than those found elsewhere, even unpolished.

Final Thoughts

From fresh spring to deep rich greens, it’s no wonder that emeralds have been prized throughout history and the world over. The deep beauty in emeralds make them an excellent choice for non-traditional engagement rings and May birthstone gifts.

If you want to learn more, check out our emerald buying guide to learn more about these gorgeous green stones.

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