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Article: Don't buy emerald until you see this.

Don't buy emerald until you see this.

We know that when acquiring an emerald many doubts arise, and that understanding everything related to natural emerald when buying it can be overwhelming, as you must take into account many aspects to make a good purchase.

However, we want you to have the necessary tools so that you can acquire the best Colombian emeralds at a good price and with an excellent color, weight and cut desired.

That's why we've developed this guide where we'll answer the most frequent doubts about emeralds and their main features so you can check it at the time of your purchase and not fail in the attempt. Let's go.

What is an emerald?

Emerald is a variety of beryl mineral, specifically, it is a green variety that gets its color of chrome, vanadium or both impurities. Other varieties of beryll are aquamarine, morganite, heliodor and rare red berilo.

The beryl grows in hexagonal crystals, and in fact, some beryl crystals can develop quite a lot. With beryl, aluminum, silicon, oxygen at the right temperature and pressure and with the necessary space, a emerald crystal will most likely form.

Thanks to its chemical composition that makes it acquire an intense green color and due to its most remarkable impurities, emeralds have become the most popular variety of beryl among lovers of precious gems, high jewelry and gemological beauty.

What are its main features?


Green is the generic color of Colombian emeralds and the world, however, not all stones retain such purity in their tone. In this order of ideas, there are five distinguished classes of emeralds:

  • bluish green
  • lightly bluish green
  • dim blue green
  • lightly yellow green
  • deep green

Being the deep green color the most beautiful, scarcest, most valuable tone, and also the most exclusive, tone that is only found in the mountains of Colombia.


The fewer impurities have an emerald, the greater its value. In the natural emerald you can find different inclusions (natural cracks) such as gags, coals, other minerals and impurities that can affect the clarity of the stone.

According to the transparency of the stone and the degree of inclusions, the emeralds can be classified as follows:

  • Transparency: depending on the level of clarity of the stone the emeralds can be:
  • Transparent: its color is intense and the bottom in which the stone is located is observed
  • Translucent: the colour is dim and the bottom in which the stone is located is observed
  • Opaque or sassy: its color is intense, however the bottom in which the stone is located is not distinguished.


They are classified according to the intensity of the inclusions as follows:

  • Grade B: low level, emerald has many inclusions.
  • Grade A: weak level, emerald has moderate inclusions.
  • Grade AA: good level, emerald presents only a few inclusions.
  • Grade AAA: excellent level, emerald has very fine inclusions, uns noticeable to the human eye.

Cut or size:

The cutting of an emerald is an aspect of great importance, as it not only defines the shape of each stone, but also influences the final weight, color and brightness of the gem.

Emeralds, diamonds, sapphires and all other stones can be carved in many different ways. Here are the main cuts of the emerald:

  • Cut or emerald size: the shape is rectangular, with the corners cut. It is a traditional and demanding size as it is easy to detail the stone defects.
  • Cute or carving baguette: remembers the typical French bread, it is elongated and rectangular with octagonal corners. This size brings character to the jewelry, but it is not easy to use in jewelry stores. That's why you usually work along with other ways.
  • Cabuchón cut or size: it is found in very old jewels, in fact it is the oldest size. It is cushion-shaped cut with rounded corners. It requires very high quality stones.
  • Or an oval size: it is a simple and regular form. The advantage is that its elongated shape makes the stone look bigger than the round size.
  • Cut or round size: it is the same bright size, difficult to perform but which adds shine to the stone.
  • Tear-bloss cut or size: a lot of jewelry is used because it enhances light and adds asymmetry to the design


The weighing of diamonds, gems and precious stones requires a carat scale that is accurate and reliable. However, remember that you won't necessarily find a specific formula to find the exact value of a gemstone.

The weight of an emerald is measured in carats, a carat equals 0.02 grams. Considering the above, the weight of an emerald is exponential, so an emerald of a carat will not be worth the same as one of two, since the larger the emerald is much scarcer.


Most emeralds have not only numerous internal inclusions and fractures, but also small cracks or cracks on the surface. For this reason, the vast majority of emeralds are treated to improve their clarity. The most common treatments performed on emeralds are:

  • Cleaning: the cleaning is a simple night soak in a jar of the cleaning medium on a hot plate with which you want to clean the emerald. This is done in warm, not hot conditions.
  • Organic solvents: Safe organic solvents for use with emeralds are acetone, methyl alcohol, ethyl alcohol, and a methylene chloride solution to dissolve epoxy and polyester cured resins
  • Acquised: The traditional treatment of emerald is the olive groove with cedar oil. Cedar oil is a natural product of cedar trees and is colourless and viscous. Traditionally this cedar oil has been used for filling emerald fractures because it has a refractive index that is similar to emerald.
  • Acids: When organic solvents do not remove contaminants, acids are used for intense cleaning. A mixture of a part of nitric acid is usually used by three parts of hydrochloric acid.

Likewise, it is important to know that institutes such as the GIA (Gemological Institute of America ), have developed a classification scheme in which the level of fissures that reach the surface of the emerald and that have been filled or treated by classifying them in:

  • Minor: little treatment
  • moderate: measured treatment
  • significant: subject to thorough treatment

Where to buy emeralds?

Each city or municipality of the country where this gem is marketed, has a specific area, neighborhood or location destined for the purchase and sale of 100% Colombian emeralds.

If this is the case and you wish to make your purchase in a commercial establishment, you must ensure that it has a RUCOM (Single Register of Mineral Marketingers), since this document will ensure the authenticity of the emeralds and the legality of their marketing.

In the case of Emerald by love, we worry about always delivering quality emeralds. For this reason, our customers are sure to buy certified natural emeralds, which are further carefully evaluated in quality, origin, treatments, etc.

On the other hand, if you want to make a slightly more traditional purchase, in the city of Bogotá you will find the Emeraldleta of the emeralderos a place located in front of the station of transmilenio Museo del Oro, in front of the University of the Rosary. There, you'll find the famous commissioners, men and women in charge of marketing this precious gem.

In addition, you can also purchase emeralds directly from the mines, with the assurance that they were extracted from their site.

In the northwestern area of the department of Boyacá, it is where the largest emerald deposits are concentrated, there are the mines of Muzo, Borbur, Coscuez, Chivor, Peñas Blancas, La Pita and Quípama. Gachetá and Gachalá, located in the northeast of Cundinamarca, complete the most important area of emerald exploitation in the country.

Invest in Colombian natural emeralds

Investing in emeralds may not be so easy if not much is known about this issue, despite this, beyond investing with fear, what we are looking for with this article is that you have the tools necessary both to choose the right emerald, and to pay the right price for this gem.

These are the final tips we suggest you take into account once you've chosen the emerald or lot of emeralds in which you will invest your money.

  • Budget: have a fixed budget set for the purchase of one or more emeralds. Remember that it is always valid to negotiate a lower price taking into account the treatments or quality of the gem.

Also, keep in mind that if it is a lot in which you only found a value stone, you can ask the owner if it is possible to choose from that batch a single emerald, (sometimes, choosing from a specific batch a single emerald can increase the value of this gem)

Factors that drop price: remember that regardless of color, shape or weight, there are characteristics that discount value to the emerald stone. Treatments, if this emerald is natural or synthetic and even your country of origin, will be factors to take into account in the final price.

  1. Certificate: Whatever the place or person, ask to be certified the emerald. Under no circumstances can they deny you this document. You'd better not close the business without you being given this certificate.
  2. Commission: In some cases, commissioners who sell you an emerald ask for a certain percentage of profits to be obtained and/or have the stone you need, so ask to be clarified if this value will be charged to you, whether it is included in the final value and how much percentage it is.
  3. Value for money: you may find the right emerald, but the price does not go according to the emerald you will get. Whether it's because this is much more expensive than it looks or because it's very cheap, it's worth asking why the price and whether you have any treatment or detail that gives you this value.

Tips for buying or selling emeralds

To buy or sell emeralds you must take into account several aspects, including

  • Form: Define what size or cuts you want to acquire or sell. I mean, you want a round emerald, square, emerald carving, trapiche, oval, heart, cabin, etc. This will be important to define the value of the gem.
  • Size: Like most gemstones, emeralds can be presented in a wide variety of sizes, ranging from 0.02 to 0.5 carats to gemstones of 1 to 5 carat gemstones.
  • Check the color: emeralds come in a wide range of colors. Color is one of the most important factors in determining the value of an emerald.Therefore, it should be taken into account if it is a crystalline emerald (clear, transparent totone) or an emerald of good color (green bluish or intense green).
  • Look for inclusions: The inclusions are all material (such as gas bubbles or tiny crystals) that has been trapped inside a gemstone during its formation. An emerald with excessive inclusions that diminish its transparency or clarity is worth less than an emerald with less inclusions.
  • Treatments: Due to the fact that emeralds often have notorious inclusions, it is well known that some emeralds and jewelers choose to apply treatments with oil, acids or other substances to be applied to stones so that emeralds light up purer. Therefore, you should bear in mind that when a stone is treated its value decreases. Likewise, the less treatment you will be the more appeached, therefore, the more expensive.
  • Certify your emeralds: In order to properly assess the value of an emerald you consider buying, you can request a report from a gemological laboratory. This will identify the type, size, cutting, clarity, color and origin of the emerald.

This assessment will give you a degree of confidence in the quality and value of the precious stone, even before you get the quote from a third party.

Paula A. Bonilla

Social communicator and journalist from Sergio Arboleda University in Colombia. She is also a jeweler and is passionate about constantly learning about precious gems and national high jewelry.

Currently, she is working for one of Bogotá's most important jewelry stores, Emerald by Love. This jewelry store has over 40 years of experience and has 2 physical branches in the capital city of Colombia, located in the city center.

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