What Determines an Emerald’s Value?

Emeralds are considered one of the “big three” in precious gemstones, a classic jewel regularly used in high-end jewelry. But what differentiates one emerald from another? There are many factors that determine their value. If you’re in the market for emerald jewelry, here’s what you need to know about the most desirable qualities of this beautiful gemstone.

What Determines an Emerald's Value | Auction King

Clarity

Generally speaking, when you’re shopping for gemstones, the most valuable stones are those with no visible inclusions. However, that isn’t really the case for emeralds, because all natural emeralds have some inclusions that are visible to the naked eye or with a jeweler’s loupe. In fact, most emeralds receive some treatment to reduce the appearance of these inclusions during the lapidary process, which is not considered to affect the value of the stone. Only a synthetic emerald (much less valuable) might be perfectly clear—some are even given artificial inclusions to look more genuine. Thus, inclusions are a sign of an emerald’s authenticity. Emeralds that are considered “eye clear” are extremely rare, and quite valuable. It is only when inclusions are so numerous that they negatively affect the stone’s transparency that they can reduce an emerald’s value.

Color

An emerald’s brilliant green color is produced by trace amounts of chromium, vanadium, and iron. An individual stone can have a varying amount of each, and thus an emerald’s color can range from bluish green to yellow-green. The exact hue may hint at a stone’s origins—for example, emeralds from Zambia tend to be on the blue-green side, while emeralds from Brazil and Colombia are a more pure green. In general, the more intense the color, the more valuable the stone. Stones that are extremely light or extremely dark (so much so that the transparency is reduced) cost less per carat.

Cut

Emeralds are often cut in a rectangular shape, known as an emerald cut, to both enhance the natural color of the stone and to protect against chipping or breaking. Although they are resistant to scratches, emeralds tend to be somewhat brittle, and their natural inclusions can make them prone to fracturing. However, whatever the cut of the stone, it should enhance its natural sparkle and color.

Carats

While you can find emeralds in sizes ranging from truly tiny to huge, very fine grades of emeralds over one carat are rare. In general, a larger emerald will be worth more if its color and clarity are also good. If you have two stones with the same overall color and clarity, the larger one will be more valuable.

The overall value of an individual emerald is determined by a combination of these factors—a small but unusually clear emerald of gorgeous green may very well cost more than a much larger light-green emerald that looks cloudy from numerous inclusions. The best way to get a feel for the way these combinations can affect price is to shop around and compare prices.

Auction King regularly stocks emerald bracelets, necklaces, rings, and earrings in a variety of sizes, cuts, and styles. Our live online auction gives our buyers an opportunity to find exquisite pieces at below-market values. Sign up for a free online account today and browse our selections. The piece you’ve been looking for may be just a click away!

What You Can Do with Loose Stones

It’s not unusual to see loose gemstones for sale at your local jeweler or up for auction. In fact, it’s fairly common for those shopping for an engagement ring to select a diamond separately from a setting. But the options for loose gemstones go well beyond that scenario alone. Loose gemstones offer a great opportunity for jewelry buyers looking to get great value, to design completely unique pieces, or both.

What You Can Do with Loose Stones | Auction King

Loose stones offer value in two ways. First, it is much easier to appraise the worth of a stone when it is not in a setting, as the setting can hide flaws in a stone or make it hard to judge its transparency. Thus, you’ll know more precisely what you’re getting when you buy a loose stone. Some especially great values can be found if you purchase stones at auction rather than buying from a retail outlet. Second, when you’re buying already-set jewelry, you may be paying just as much (or more!) for a designer name or a brand-name markup as you are for the value of the piece itself. Buying a stone separately eliminates the price increases that come from such intangible factors.

If you’re the type of person who enjoys expressing their creativity, loose stones also offer you a chance to create a piece of jewelry all your own. Jewelry sold in traditional retail outlets often incorporates stones cut in standard sizes and shapes. The settings themselves are typically mass-produced—you can be certain that other people will be wearing the exact same designs. When you have a piece of jewelry custom-designed starting with a loose stone, perhaps one in an unusual size and cut, you can be sure that the end result will be completely unique.

For those who have an interest in do-it-yourself jewelry making, loose stones easily lend themselves to popular techniques such as wire-wrapping. This can be an especially striking way to show off a stone with unusual patterning or an irregular shape. While DIY jewelry frequently uses semiprecious stones, there’s no rule that says you have to restrict your creativity by limiting your materials.

Finally, loose gemstones in exceptionally large sizes may be suitable as display items in your home in their own right. Jade, turquoise, and other opaque gemstones can be found in artfully carved shapes and figures. In such cases, all you need to do is find the one that strikes your fancy at your desired price, and then enjoy.

In short, loose gemstones are a natural choice for those looking for something out of the ordinary. Exploring the possibilities can unlock your imagination and result in an unexpected treasure for you to enjoy.