How to Choose High Quality Emeralds

There are many varieties of colored gemstones. One of the most popular is the emerald, a deep green stone that is harder than quartz and softer than ruby, sapphire, or diamond. Emeralds are found all over the world and are mined in locations such as Zimbabwe, Madagascar, Zambia, Brazil, Indiana, Afghanistan, Russia, and Pakistan. The highest quality emeralds, however, come from Colombia. As gemstones are often a significant investment, it is vital to know how to choose high quality emeralds before you decide to purchase them.


  1. Image titled Choose High Quality Emeralds Step 1
    Inspect the gem's color. A true emerald is deep green. Stones of a lighter hue are likely not emeralds at all, but green beryl. There are no guidelines, however, and jewelers and gem labs can sell green beryl as emerald. A true emerald will be darker than a glass Coke bottle.
  2. Image titled Choose High Quality Emeralds Step 2
    Check the stone carefully for cracks or inclusions. True emeralds are very strong stones, and brittle emeralds should not be purchased.
    • Small inclusions in an emerald are acceptable. Inclusion occurs when a foreign material that is not actually a part of the gemstone is inside it. Inclusions can be solids, liquids, or gas. Inclusions can make an emerald unique. An emerald with inclusions is more valuable than one with dull color.
  3. Image titled Choose High Quality Emeralds Step 3
    Look at the stone through a magnifying glass. This will allow you to see imperfections that are not visible to the naked eye.
  4. Image titled Choose High Quality Emeralds Step 4
    Check for transparency. A high quality emerald may be a bit cloudy, but should possess a significant amount of transparency.
  5. Image titled Choose High Quality Emeralds Step 5
    Ask the jeweler or gemstone dealer if the stone you are considering purchasing has been enhanced with oils or resins, and if it has been, get details about the treatment. Emeralds are sensitive and can react negatively if they have been enhanced inappropriately; if the pores that naturally occur in an emerald are sealed with enhancement materials, for instance, it may dull the stone's appearance.
  6. Image titled Choose High Quality Emeralds Step 6
    Research the place from which you are buying your emerald. There are many synthetic and imitation emeralds on the market, and it is imperative to be certain you are purchasing yours from a reputable dealer.


  • Very large emeralds of top quality are very rare. A top quality emerald will likely be much more expensive than a diamond or other gemstone of the same weight.
  • If you buy a loose stone and have it put in a setting, inspect the piece thoroughly after it is set. Damage to the stone may occur during the cutting or setting processes.
  • Colored gemstones such as the emerald tend to show up better larger. If your budget permits, many experts suggest that emeralds of 1 carat or more be used for jewelry items.
  • Depending on the location from which they were mined, emeralds may have blue or yellow undertones. This is acceptable.

Sources and Citations


Article Info

Categories: Jewelry and Watches