Emerald Gemstones – Colors, Clarity, And Origins

Anyone who likes the color green and appreciates beautiful gemstones, especially precious ones, will absolutely adore emeralds. When it comes to green gemstones, emeralds are the kings. The enchanting color is not only unusual and electrifying to look at, but it also has a somewhat of an eerie and magical appeal. A form of the mineral beryl, emeralds rank 7.5 to 8 on the Mohs scale of mineral hardness. Sapphires and rubies rank 9.0 and diamonds are an impressive 10.0. It is important to know how emeralds are assessed, what makes one more valuable than the other, and where they come from. Here is a bit about the fascinating gems.


What Makes an Emerald Valuable?

Though many gemstones, including diamonds, are assessed in similar ways, each gemstone is evaluated differently. The 4Cs apply here as well, except in this case they stand for color, clarity, cut, and crystal. As with many gemstones including rubies,  color is the most important factor. With emeralds, crystal is almost as important. In order for an emerald to be truly valuable it not only must display a pure and intense green color, but it also has to appear transparent for that perfect crystal gemstone look.


Emerald Colors

Though emeralds are classically green, they actually range from yellow-green to blue-green. Emerald color is defined based on three aspects: its hue (color), saturation (intensity), and tone (purity). The more vivid the green, the darker and purer it shows, the more valuable the emerald. Very light emeralds are actually classified as green beryl, whereas medium to dark emeralds receive the prestigious title of emerald.  The best emeralds are those that rank 75% in tone, where 0% is a transparent stone and 100% would be opaque black.



It is normal and natural for emeralds to have inclusions as well as surface breaking fissures. There is a bright side to this, which is the fact that emeralds, unlike diamonds, are graded by the eye and not with the assistance of a magnifying device. All it takes for an emerald to be considered flawless is for it to appear clean, without any visible inclusions, to the eye. High quality emeralds, which are stones that are eye-clean, display a vivid primary green color, do not contain anymore than 15% of a secondary color, and showcase a medium dark tone, demand exorbitant prices.


Origins of Emeralds

Approximately 50% to 95% of the world’s emerald production hails from Colombia, though it all depends on the particular year, precise origin, and emerald grade. Zambia comes in second, with a very high annual production of emeralds as well. It does not end there though. Emeralds are found around the globe, in much smaller number of course, in Australia, Egypt, Canada, Norway, China, Switzerland, and even in the United States.


There is no denying the beauty of an emerald, but the attraction does not stop there. Many also see emeralds as a sign of good luck. Due to their rarity, it is difficult to come by a high quality emerald, especially one for an affordable price. That is why there are many imitations out there posing as the real thing. It is important to browse through the stones wisely and become as educated as possible before adding one of these green beauties to your gemstone collection.

A Pair of  Emerald and Diamond Earrings