Emerald Color

Emeralds are prized for their vibrant green colors. The more vivid and intense the green, the more prized the emerald. Emeralds that have sparkle, and transparency are along with a beautiful green color are the most prized.



Emerald Color Grades

Gemstones color is measured by three major characteristics that determine their value. Hue, tone and saturation are the elements that make up the color of a gemstone. Hue is the gradation of the color, meaning the particular tint of green that it has. Tone is the degree of absorption of light by the gemstone. This quality determines the intensity of color in an emerald. Saturation is how vivid the dominant color is in the gemstone. If the gemstone is primarily green, it carries more of a premium as opposed to an emerald that has mixtures of other colors like yellow.

The most popular emeralds are a bluish or pure deep green. This green does not have an overly dark tone. Within high quality emeralds, the color is evenly distributed throughout the gemstone. Emeralds from different mines and countries can have a differing colors as well. Emeralds from Colombia have a pure intense green color. Those from Zambia have a blueish tinged green color. However, these factors are not a guarantee of the sourcing of the gemstone. Emeralds that have a saturated and darker green are more valuable. Those that look pale or have a more icy green look are considered less valuable. In fact, those that are very light are classified as green beryl. Emeralds that do not contain more than 15% of a secondary color are considered premium and demand a much high price.


Almost all natural emeralds have eye-visible inclusions. Inclusions are tiny growths that occur within the emerald as it is forming. Emerald inclusions are often described as a garden as they have a mossy look. Emeralds that have less of these visible inclusions are more prized. The best emeralds are those that rank in the 75% range where 0% is a transparent stone and 100% is an opaque black stone. Apart from internal inclusions, emeralds are also known to have surface breaking fissures as they are a softer stone than ruby, sapphire and diamond.


Oftentimes, emeralds are heat treated to improve their color and reduce the visibility of inclusions. The majority of emeralds are heat treated. This is a permanent treatment that enhances the look of the emerald. With a combination of oil, heat and pressure the natural properties of the emerald are brought out and improved. Additional treatments are not so desirable. These treatments use resin fillers to fill the cracks and fissures of the emeralds. These can improve the look of the emerald but detract from its desirability.


How to identify a raw emerald?

Identifying a raw emerald is easier than identifying faceted emeralds. An emerald grows as a hexagonal prism, so if the raw emerald displays this characteristic without being polished, it is likely a natural emerald. You can also test a raw emerald by dragging it across an unglazed porcelain plate and studying the color of the streak, which should be colorless. Another point that could help you to identify a raw emerald is inclusions. Eye visible inclusions are almost always present in natural emeralds.

What shade of green is an emerald?

High-quality emeralds are revered for their rich hue that can range from bluish-green to pure green. Emeralds from different mines and countries can have differing colors. For example, Colombian emeralds have a pure, intense green color, and Zambian emeralds have a blueish-tinged green color.

How to tell if an emerald is real?

You can identify a real emerald by looking at its color. Real emeralds showcase a pure green or blue-green hue. Almost all natural emeralds have eye-visible inclusions. Inclusions are tiny growths that occur within the emerald as it is forming. Emerald inclusions often have a mossy look. It is also advisable to work with a gemologist and buy only AAA-grade emeralds.

How much is an emerald worth?

The price of this gem can vary from $200- $18000 per carat, depending on quality. Emeralds with a saturated and darker green color are more valuable. Also, eye-clean emeralds have a higher price tag. Lab-grown emeralds will be comparatively more affordable than natural emeralds.

What gemstone matches well with an emerald’s color?

White diamonds and yellow diamonds complement the emerald beautifully. Citrines also pair wonderfully well with this green-hued gem, and they’re also more affordable than a yellow diamond. Some people also love the combination of red ruby and emerald.
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