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Emerald Sources

E1644 | medium | right| play | “Emerald ID: E1644 Weight: 0.94 Carats Origin: Zambia”Natural emeralds can be found in many places around the world. However, the most commercially important source on the international market is Colombia without question. Colombia produces 90% of all emeralds in the world, and is poised to do so for hundreds of years into the future. The remaining 10% is fulfilled by Zambia, followed by Brazil. We also have some fine emeralds come through our inventory from Ethiopia, though not many.

The standard for gem-quality emeralds is the Colombian emeralds. They not only dominate the market, but are widely considered to be the best quality emeralds in the world. However, there are a number of dealers who have differing impressions of where the best quality emeralds come from. 


Primary locations for commercial emeralds, circled location is Colombia

Other Emerald Sources

There are a number of other emerald sources like Russia, America (specifically North Carolina), Afghanistan, India, but none of these areas are major emerald suppliers. The quality of emeralds from these locations typically does not reach the level of gem-quality, though fine quality gems are produced once in a while. The primary appeal of these emeralds is typically as specimens based on how nice their growth appears, or their chemical composition for analytical purposes.

For example, trapiche emeralds are almost never gem quality, but their unique growth versus the typical hexagonal prism of emeralds makes them popular amongst gem mineral collectors. Note that most of these come from Colombia, but a few have appeared from other sources as well. Another rare collector gem are cat’s eyes emeralds, though the eye is rarely good quality.


North Carolina, Uncut Specimen Emerald

Trapiche Emerald Examples

Problems with Emerald Formation

Emeralds come from certain locations due to the rarity and conditions required for them to form. The crystallization process for emeralds is particularly complex between rare elements required for formation as well as coloration. Furthermore these gems cannot heal their fractures with high heat the way other gems like rubies and sapphires can. This is why they frequently appear included and are only ever treated with oil instead of more intensive processes utilizing high heat.

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