Emerald Buying Giude

Emerald Buying Giude

The geographic origin of emeralds used to be more important than it is now. Colombia has long been famous for its emeralds, and consequently Colombian emeralds are in high demand. 10 years ago, a premium of about 10-20%, was frequently charged for expensive, high: quality Colombian emeralds accompanied by an origin report from a respected laboratory. Today, more often than not, emerald prices are based primarily on the merit of the stone. For example, a fine Afghan emerald can command the same price as a Colombian emerald of the same quality.

Big emerald dealers, say that size and quality are prime determinants of his emerald prices. Similarly, the Gem Guide to Wholesale Gem Pricing uses the same pricing charts for all emeralds regardless of their geographic origin.

Others, still uses origin reports because some customers are willing to pay more for a Colombian emerald than a similar one from an unknown source. For the most part, they price emeralds according to their overall attributes because buyers nowadays are less interested in the origin. In addition, they want more than just fine colour. Customers are also looking for good clarity, cut, brilliance, transparency-a total package of qualities.

As is evident from the preceding section, factors other than just the 4 C’s of colour, clarity, cut and carat weight can play a role in the pricing of a gemstone:

  • Colour
  • Clarity(degree to which a stone is free from flaws)
  • Transparency
  • Shape
  • Cutting style
  • Cut quality(proportions and finish)
  • Carat weight or stone size
  • Treatment status(untreated or treated, type and extent of the treatment)
  • Geographic origin(sometimes on certain high quality or rare stones with documentation)
  • Distinctness of phenomena if present(e.g., stars, cat’s-eyes, colour change)

Coloured-gem dealers tend to evaluate gem quality as a whole rather than breaking it down to its constituent parts of colour, clarity, transparency, proportions, etc. Their final judgments are usually more intuitive than logical. Non quality related factors also enter into their pricing strategies. Some of these price determinants are demand, currency fluctuations, form of payment, buyer’s credit rating, amount purchased, competitors’ prices, time of sale, the customer’s eagerness to buy, the seller’s need for money and his assessment of the buyer. Astute, knowledgeable buyers tend to be offered better prices. That’s why it pays to learn how to evaluate and compare gems.

 

Judging Emerald Colour

Muzo is the most famous of Colombia ’s emerald mines. it has produced stones of matchless beauty for more than 1000 years. The rare, fine, saturated green crystals sometimes found there are the yardstick by which all other emeralds are judged.

The colour of the finest Muzo emeralds has been described by some as “a grass green.” This is not a good description. Grasses come in a wide range of greens which tend to be greyish or brownish. The finest Muzo emeralds are noted for having a much, purer green colour. Examining your lawn, and you’ll probably agree that it doesn’t not have a top-grade emerald colour.

It’s debatable as to which are the most valuable emerald hues and tones, but gem dealers agree their saturation level should be strong and not weak or greyish, and that pure intense colours are more desirable than dull, muddy ones. In high quality emeralds, the bright areas of colour should not look greyish or brownish.

The tone (lightness or darkness of the colour) also plays a major role in the price of an emerald. For example, a medium green emerald selling for $5000 might be worth less than $100 if it were very light green. There is simply a much greater demand for medium and deep green emeralds and their supply is more limited However, emeralds should not be so dark that they look blackish. Your first impression of an emerald should be that it’s green, not black.

Opinions differ as to What tone is ideal for an emerald. According to the GIA, the most valued emeralds have a medium tone. Some dealers, however, prefer medium-dark l emeralds because their bright areas may appear more saturated in colour.

One can conclude/that top-grade emeralds range in tone from medium to medium-dark.

Judging the hue of an emerald (the position on the colour spectrum) is not any easier than judging that of a ruby. Like rubies, emeralds can also display different hues and tones simultaneously. They are a blend of two transition hues-bluish green and yellowish green. If you look at an emerald from different directions while moving it, you may be able to see these two transition hues. Keep in mind, though, that emerald colour is judged from the face-up view. The overall hue of an emerald is considered to be the average or dominant colour reflected in its bright facet areas. According to the GM Coloured Stone Course, the most desirable emerald hues are bluish green to green. As with tone, trader-Members differ a little on which hue(s) they consider best.

Some dealers for example, prefers slightly yellowish- green emeralds. They feel that a yellowish tint gives an emerald a warm feeling.

Some appraisals think that a very slightly bluish green is the most expensive hue. Because emeralds are dichroic, even slightly bluish emeralds have flashes of yellow.

For Jack Abraham, a New York gem dealer, a green green is the ideal hue. He also feels that hue is a matter of taste and goes on to say that many of the finest Muzo emeralds are slightly bluish.

Some researchers in Gemmology and mineralogy, suggest that bluish green is the best emerald hue. They explain that emeralds are cut so that “the colour seen in such a gem is largely the bluish-green prized by most connoisseurs of emeralds above the yellowish-green that would appear if the gem were cut with the table perpendicular to the c-axis.”

  1. A. Mumme writes in his book The Emerald, “For those who prefer the spectroscope as a method of testing the colour of an emerald, a colour about 5000A (i.e. slightly towards the bluish-end of the green portion of the white light spectrum) would be very close an approximation to the colour of fine emerald.

Another prize colour being accepted by gem valuators today is the deep yellow green colour of Sandawana emeralds.”

When emerald colour is discussed, the country of origin may be mentioned. Some dealers say they can often tell where a stone comes from just by its colour. There’s good reason for this. The colouring agent(s) of emeralds can vary from one locality to another. The green of Colombian emeralds, for example, is caused by chromium, whereas Brazilian emeralds of good quality are generally coloured by vanadium. The colouring agent of light-coloured Brazilian emeralds is frequently iron. However, new emerald finds are making it more difficult to determine origin solely by appearance. It’s not uncommon to find Pakistani and Afghan emeralds with the same colour as high-quality Colombian emeralds.

Even though characteristic emerald colours are associated with different regions, keep in mind that there can be a wide variation of colour within each emerald mine. Don’t assume that just because an emerald is from Colombia, it’s of high quality. Neither should you assume that it’s inferior if found outside of Colombia. Many fine-quality emeralds have originated in Africa, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Brazil. You must judge each stone on its own merits.

 

Judging Emerald clarity and crystal quality

Emerald is most often found with some visible inclusions. It is rarely eye-clean in sizes above one carat. Because of this, a greater degree of tolerance should be exercised when judging the clarity of emerald. More attention should be paid to diaphaneity than to strict flawlessness. The finest emeralds exhibit a wonderful clear crystal that gives the stone a marvellous inner glow. If the stone has this trait, a few visible inclusions – what experts call “jardin” (garden) – are easily forgiven. Such stones are more highly valued than those which are strictly flawless but lack the limpid quality of good crystal. Most aficionados prefer emeralds cut in the traditional step or emerald cut. This cut has seventeen long, narrow, step like facets. A majority of emeralds are cut in this style, both because it accentuates the warm satiny hue of the gem and, by happy coincidence, it is usually the most efficient use of the rough material.

Experts describe emerald’s brilliance as “satiny like the lustre of a satin ribbon. Emerald has a softness which contrasts with the “crisp” brilliance of tsavorite garnet, its only rival for the title of “greatest of the green.” This is partly a function of emerald’s relatively low (1.57-158) refractive index and partly a result of cutting style. A slightly bluish green emerald with excellent crystal appears to glow with an appealing richness and warmth that is alien to tsavorite.~Emerald is soft where tsavorite is hard. To fully understand this quality the budding connoisseur must educate his eye by comparing a large number of emeralds.

 

Effect of Carat Weight on Price

 

Most people are familiar with the principle, “the higher the carat weight the greater the value.” However, in actual practice, this principle is more complicated than it appears. This can be illustrated by having you determine which emerald ring described below is more valuable. Assume that the quality and shape of all the emeralds are the same and that the two ring mountings have equivalent values.

Strangely enough, a single one-carat emerald would normally cost more than 1.50 carats of small emeralds of like quality unless the emeralds were of a very low-grade. This is because the supply of large emeralds is more limited. So when you compare jewellery prices, you should pay attention to individual stone weights and notice the difference between the labels 1 ct TW (one carat total weight) and 1 ct (the weight of one stone).

When comparing the cost of emeralds, rubies and sapphires, you should also start noting the per-carat cost instead of concentrating on the total cost of the stone. This makes it easier to compare prices more accurately, which is why dealers buy and sell gems using per-carat prices. The following equations will help you calculate the per-carat cost and total cost of emeralds.

  • stone cost
  • per-carat cost
  • carat weight
  • carat weight x per-carat cost = total cost of a stone

The per-carat prices of emeralds are listed in terms of either their weight or millimetre size (unlike those of diamonds, which are usually only listed according to carat weight). Stones over 1/ 2 to 3/4 of a carat are generally priced according to weight, whereas those under 1/2 carat tend to be listed in terms of millimetre size.

Price/weight categories for coloured stones vary from one dealer to another and the categories are often broader than for diamonds. A one-carat price level for an emerald may extend down to 0.85 carats. Depending on the quality, sometimes, a larger weight brings a lower per-carat price. However. you should expect a fine 4-ct emerald to cost considerably more per carat than a one carat stone of the same quality.

Since price/weight categories vary from one dealer to another. there’s no point in listing any. Just be aware that shape and carat weight can affect the per carat value of emeralds and follow these two guidelines:

  • When judging prices, compare stones of the same size. shape. quality and colour
  • Compare per-carat prices instead of the total cost
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