The 4 C’s of Quality
Ever wonder why some emerald rings can cost as little as a few hundred dollars and others are $10,000 or more? Gemstones are usually appraised based on four important factors: clarity, cut, carat, and color. Arguably the most important factor when grading an emerald gemstone is color, but why is that? Scroll through to learn about these four different grading factors and how they impact the cost of the stone.
For most gemstones, clarity is a crucial factor when determining value. However, most emeralds have many inclusions including cracks and fissures in the stone. Because of this, many gemologists and jewelers grade value and quality without a heavy emphasis on the inclusions within an emerald. They are just an accepted trait.
Take a minute to notice all the inclusions in the stone pictured here. An emerald without any inclusions at all is very rare and valuable but also could an indicator that the stone is fake or treated.
Valuing the cut of an emerald has little to do with design and innovation since most emeralds are shaped into an emerald-cut. Why don’t you see a lot of different emerald shapes? It’s because emeralds are one of the most difficult stones to cut and re-cut.
An emerald cutter needs to be extremely skilled. They first need to access both the depth of color and inclusions, and from there they determine the best way to cut the emerald rough.
Because of the fractures within the stone, emeralds are very brittle and break easily, so the cutter needs to be able to maximize size without compromising the overall stability of the stone or worse, ruining the emerald by cracking or chipping it.
Since color is the most important factor in emerald value, the cutter must also be sure they are maximizing the proportions and facets to enhance the overall color dispersion of the emerald.
Color is by far the most significant value marker of an emerald. The green in an emerald is created by trace amounts of chromium, iron and/or vanadium.
For an emerald to be deemed valuable, it must display an even transparent color that is pure green without too many undertones of yellow or blue. Emerald color varies a lot depending on the region of the world it was mined in.
Emerald Carat Weight
As with the other precious gemstones on the market, the size of an emerald can dramatically increase its value. Any emerald over 5 carats is going to be worth significantly more than an equal quality stone of a smaller size. For instance, a 5 carat emerald with the same grade as a 1 carat emerald is not 5 times more valuable. In fact, the 5 carat stone may be as much as 50 times more valuable!
Generally speaking, quality emeralds over 3 carats can be more expensive than diamonds and are certainly rarer.