LEARN MORE ABOUT ZAMBIAN EMERALD
Whenever we think of emeralds, we immediately think of the color green, and it has been this was for centuries. A fine emerald is breathtaking. It is a member of the Beryl family and deserves its place alongside the traditional ‘Big Four’ of the gemstone world: Diamond, Sapphire and Ruby.
The per-carat price of high-quality emeralds escalates rapidly with the size of the stone. For example, in a recent pricing guide, a quality 3-carat Colombian Emerald was listed at six times the price as three 1-carat stones of the same quality.
The value of emeralds, like all stones, is influenced by the Four C’s, color, clarity, carat and cut, with color being the most important. Nuances of saturation and hue can hugely affect the price of a stone. The most desirable color is a bluish green with a medium dark tone and a strong vivid saturation.
Clarity is also important. Although inclusions are tolerated more in emeralds that all other gemstones. Unenhanced, high-quality gemstones (with the correct certification) can fetch 50% more in price than stones of the same size, color and clarity, but have been treated.
Do Emerald Colors Vary by Locality?
The geological conditions in Colombia produce the exact color and saturation which consumers are looking for, making Colombian Emeralds very precious and valuable. However, Zambian Emeralds are seeing a rise in popularity.
Emeralds from the African country can also display an unusual blue tone, with blue-green/yellow-green pleochroism because their iron content is relatively high at 0.73%. They can be intensely color zoned showing almost colorless cores and dark green rims, similar to watermelon Tourmaline.
Where are the Major Sources of Emeralds?
Colombia is the epicenter for the world’s emeralds, producing 70% to 90% of the world’s demand. Brazil is also a major producer, making South America the top emerald mining source.
The Egyptian emerald mines that supplied Cleopatra with copious amounts of jewels have long since been empty, but Africa is still a top producer of Emeralds, second only to South America. There are mines in Zambia (the second largest Emerald producing country behind Colombia, producing 20% of the world’s demand), Zimbabwe, Madagascar and Nigeria. Each of these African sources, typically, produce a certain color, size and clarity of stone. Since 2016, Ethiopia has also been producing high-quality gemstones, with grass green color that don’t require oil treatment.
Zambian Emeralds may include inclusions such as: Biotite (black crystals) as small specks or dots; pinpoints, breadcrumb inclusions; also, tourmaline (dravite) and magnetite. Material from Kitwe contains rutile, chrysoberyl, muscovite, apatite, quartz, ilmenite, tourmaline, color zoning, 2-phase inclusions.
Emerald rings should have some sort of protective setting to protect the stone from physical damage. While Emeralds are excellent choices for jewelry, they are brittle.
Clean your Emeralds with warm soapy water and a soft brush. Avoid mechanical cleaning, as it can shatter the stones. If you are unsure, then take your Emerald to be professionally cleaned.