Emerald is the bluish green to green variety of beryl, a mineral species that includes aquamarine.

Gem experts differ on the degree of green that makes one stone an emerald and another stone a less-expensive green beryl. Most gemologists, gemological laboratories, and colored stone dealers call a stone green beryl when its color is “too light” for it to be classified as emerald. Even among that group, however, there’s a difference of opinion about what’s considered “too light.”

Emerald gems

Van Cleef & Arpels Emeraude en Majestè ring and Balcone’s brooch – Moussaieff emerald bracelet

Julia Roberts at Cannes Film Festival – Chopard Red Carpet Collection

5 Facts


  1. Emerald’s lush green has soothed souls and excited imaginations since antiquity. Emerald is the one that’s always associated with the lushest landscapes and the richest greens.
  2. It has been the standard for green colored stones for millennia and indeed its name comes from the ancient Greek word for green, “smaragdus.” Rome’s Pliny the Elder described emerald as “Nothing greens greener”.
  3. Even today, the color green is known to relieve stress and eye strain.
  4. Ireland is the Emerald Isle. Seattle, in the US state of Washington, is the Emerald City.
  5. The first known emerald mines were in Egypt. Cleopatra was known to have a passion for emerald, and used it in her royal adornments.

Rough, Cut & Carat Weight


The cutters strive to maximize the emerald’s color and brilliance within each unique piece. While the end product depends on the specific emerald found in the mine, it also depends on the expertise and vision of the cutter. The shape of the rough, presence of the optimal color, and location of inclusions also contribute to what the final shape of the finished emerald will be. There is no best or most valuable shape of an emerald. Every single cut is with the intention of bringing out the gemstone’s uniqueness and natural beauty. 


Emeralds prices depend on carat but also on the color, cut and clarity. Large emeralds are hard to find though, and thus command a higher price, anyway smaller emerald with intense color quality is more valuable than a larger one with poor color quality.

Clarity & Color


Emeralds, a type of beryl, are inherently a fractured material. It takes millions of years for an emerald to form and part of its beauty is the characteristics of its natural fractures and inclusions. Unlike a diamond, there is no official scale that describes an emerald’s clarity, though the degree of flaws varies from one gemstone to another.

Some impurities are not just accepted as the norm but they can be even admired. The imperfections in an emerald are described as le jardín, which is French for “the garden.” An emerald’s jardín presents its own unique fingerprint. Each fracture and inclusion tells a story that took place over millions of years in creating this rare gemstone.

The human eye can see more shades of green than any other color. This makes color the most important characteristic of an emerald as hue and intensity can vary greatly.
When it comes to color, the most desirable hue range is from bluish-green to yellowish-green with medium to vivid saturation.
The green color of emeralds is determined by the impurities of chromium and/or vanadium, depending on their presence we are able to admire different shades.
In determining what gemstone to buy, beauty is truly in the eye of the beholder.

Origin and Certificate


Since a few years Zambia is the main producer country of emeralds and Colombia ranks second. However Colombian emeralds are the most valued due to their peculiar color and clarity. Furthermore Colombian emeralds have the greater reputation and a longer history, so for now, they still come first as the most desirable type of emeralds.

Due to the highly included nature of emeralds, it has become standard practice today to treat the stones with oils or resins to enhance clarity. Cedar oil is often used to improve emeralds’ clarity, as well as other synthetic oils and polymers.

Emerald vendors generally accept the use of oil, but do not look favorably upon green-tinted oil. All emeralds sold should have full disclosure of treatment.

I recommend to ask for a trusted gem lab certificate for important emerald purchase. Gubelin lab is among the most recognized Laboratories in the world and specializes in colored gemstones.

Dalila Daffara