Emeralds are green beryl. Available from various countries across the world, from Afghanistan to Zambia. The most well known and documented source is Colombia in South America. More recently, there has been increased sourcing from the Copperbelt in Zambia (Southern Africa).
The most desirable emerald colours are bluish green to pure green, with vivid color saturation.
In Emerald expect to see inclusions that dealers like to call an internal jardin (French for garden).
Due to the crystal shape emeralds are commonly cut as rectangular step cuts called emerald cuts.
Because its density is lower, a one-carat emerald will appear larger in size than a one-carat diamond.
A Millennial’s Guide to Buying Emeralds
We can all relate to those viral memes about #adulting – what on earth are we doing? Should I be buying this? Who knows! Our parents’ dream of white picket fence and 2.5 children, has been replaced with #millenialmagic, the ultimate in life goals. Juggling being an art dealer-cum-photographer-cum-CEO-cum-graphic designer-cum-accountant. Meaning it is difficult to know what it is we want and where to begin.
When speaking to my Gen Z relatives about this millennial’s guide to buying emeralds, they chuckled and said: Don’t complicate any of it. Think of it this way… One day we are trying to figure out the best filter to use on Snapchat, the next day we are trying to combat climate change and which career path to take. If I were you, I’d keep it simple, that is the easiest way to explain and understand gemstones. Stellar advice! So here goes…
How to Buy an Emerald?
Whether you’re popping the question (proposing) or buying yourself a ‘well done for being awesome’ gift, you have to take into account the same factors, when deciding how to buy an emerald.
You know when you’re property hunting and 3 things matter: location, location, LOCATION. Likewise, when buying an emerald? Colour, colour, COLOUR. Followed closely by carat and cut.
Emeralds are blue-green to green. The colouring agent (chromium or vanadium) of an emerald determines how it will look.
The cut (shape) determines how much light can pass through the gem, and so how saturated it will appear. #TBT to physics lessons in secondary school. The amount of light that enters (the pavilion) and leaves (through dispersion) in each stone, determines how ‘shiny‘ or ‘sparkly’ it is. If the pavilion is too shallow, it’ll appear less sparkly. This changes depending on whether it is cut en cabochon (with a ‘smooth’ appearance as a dome or sugarloaf and a matte look) or faceted (with many ‘faces’ or sides and a shiny look).
Mohs: 7.5 – 8
An emerald is on the higher end of Mohs scale, so can withstand more than a Tanzanite (6) yet less than a diamond (10).
It is important to pay attention to the inclusions (jardin, French for garden, as mentioned earlier) which appear as squiggly lines visible to the naked eye and more so under x10 magnification. Fashioned into a pendant or earrings to avoid hitting anything, or a cocktail ring for special occasions.