What’s It Worth? All About Emeralds

Publish Date: 

02/2016

Publication: 

  • Tampa Bay Times

Emerald is one of the most beautiful gemstones in the world. It is also one of the most misunderstood – and difficult to put a value on. Emeralds are actually beryl. Beryl’s name changes according to its natural color. Both morganite (a soft pink), and aquamarine are beryl. When medium to deep intense green, beryl is emerald.

Emeralds are at once common and incredibly abundant, and conversely – as in the case of true gem-quality stones – unbelievably rare and expensive.

Emeralds come in thousands of shades. If not green enough, GIA will identify the stone as green beryl – not emerald.

Clarity is another issue. The emerald is one gemstone that is routinely (mildly) enhanced. The typical and most accepted enhancer is cedar oil, which helps hide naturally occurring surface-reaching fissures.

Even more problematic (especially if not disclosed) is the filling of beryl with a plastic-like polymer. It is injected or infused onto poor-quality emeralds or green beryl to enhance their appearance, and may degrade with normal wear.

Intrinsic clarity varies as well. Inclusions occur naturally in emeralds and are more acccepted in this gemstone than in any other. Flaws are called jardin (or garden) to give a more romantic spin to the inclusions.

Emeralds are mined on nearly every continent, with the finest examples typically coming from Colombia, the accepted leader in the mining of fine emeralds.

As to valuation, oil-free, imperfection-free, deep-green emeralds from Colombia (like the Tiffany ring above) will be valued at $30,000  to $40,000  retail ($10,000  to $15,000  fair market value). Paler-green, filled emeralds, like the 2.32-carat oval above, are worth between $500 and $1,000 . The large 100-carat, pear-shaped emerald is essentially worthless.

We see more overvalued, over-appraised, oversold and overpriced emeralds than any other gemstone. It takes an expert to understand the true value of emeralds and emerald jewelry. Let us help you in your decision to buy or sell; email your questions to suggestions@onej.biz.