Colombian Emerald

Emerald are known throughout the gemstone world for having the purest and brightest color. While Emerald colors overlap from source to source, it is believed that those from the South American country are warmer, with a more intense pure green hue for the Colombian Emerald.

colombian emerald

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Colombia is known for exporting a variety of produce. One of the country’s most prosperous exports is Emeralds, supplying 90% of the world market for green gemstones. The most significant characteristic of Colombian Emeralds is their color.

Gemstone Attributes

Mineral Beryl
Chemistry Be3Al2Si6O18
Color Vibrant Green
Refractive Index 1.577 - 1.583
Birefringence 0.005 - 0.009
Specific Gravity 2.72
Mohs Hardness 7.5 - 8.0


Colombian Emeralds are known for being the most valuable of their kind. However, it is possible to find Colombian gems priced as low as $30USD, while others can reach $10,000USD. It all comes down to the quality of the stone. The stones found on the cheaper end of the spectrum are young stones with an opaque hue and lighter color. On the other hand, those costing thousands of dollars are translucent and dark green.

What is essential to the value of Emeralds are inclusions. While inclusions are expected with this type of gemstone, it’s noteworthy that clearer stones with fewer inclusions will be more valuable than darker stones with more visible inclusions.


The most sought out color are blueish-green to pure dark green sometimes referred to as MUZO GREEN, with high color saturation and a tone that is dark but not too dark. The most valuable stones on the market are highly transparent, their color is evenly distributed, and they show no signs of visible color zoning. If the hues and tones are too yellowish or blueish, then the stone is not an emerald but is a different gemstone from the Beryl family, dropping the value significantly.

There is nothing in nature that can equal the intense green color of the finest Colombian Emeralds.

The elements that cause the stones famous color are chromium, vanadium, and iron. Each trace element’s presence or absence and relative amounts in the example will determine the stone’s color.


The primary mines in Colombia are

  • Muzo
  • Chivor
  • Coscuez

Muzo is the eldest and most famous mine. It’s believed that Spanish Conquistadors discovered this mine in the 16th century and forced the local tribes to work them. Chivor emeralds are known for their blueish color and are also considered a higher quality stone. Meanwhile, Coscuez stones show a variety of properties. However, these are only generalisations and not exact facts about each mine.


There are many different properties of Colombian Emeralds, all mentioned in this article. However, two main optical properties help gemologists distinguish between natural stones and synthetic counterparts. These two properties are Absorption Spectrum and Luminescence. 

Absorption Spectrum

The spectrum of an emerald is very unique and distinctive. It contains fine lines in the red, weak ones in the blue and a significant absorption in the violet. Some Zambian emeralds have Iron and will display the same lines as an Aquamarine stone and emerald. 

Emeralds may also show pleochroism, and it’s a distinctive blue/yellowish-green color change.


Like the Absorption Spectrum, the Luminescence of an emerald is very distinctive, and it will help experts positively identify an emerald.

  • Natural untreated stones: Usually inert, weak orange-red to red, ultraviolet (UV), Longwave (LW), and Shortwave (SW).
  • Oil in emeralds gives a moderate yellow-green LW and is weaker in SW.

The presence of iron in the emerald’s trace elements may quench fluorescence.



If you have an emerald right, make sure it has a protective setting to protect the stone from physical damage. Emeralds are an excellent choice of stone for any type of jewelry, especially pendants, brooches, and earrings.

Mechanical cleaning is not recommended. Using ultrasonic, steam, or boiling methods to clean an emerald can shatter the stone. 

The best and safest way to take care of your Colombian Emerald is to wash it with warm soapy water, a soft brush or take the item to a professional jeweler.