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Rarity of Emeralds vs. Diamonds

E1545 | play | left | medium | “Emerald ID: E1545 Weight: 2.40 Origin: Zambia”Emeralds are typically more expensive than diamonds due to their comparative rarity. However, there are plenty of diamonds more expensive than emeralds of the same carat weight, especially fancy colored diamonds. The price is dependent on the quality of each individual gem, which makes giving exact prices impossible without the specifics of quality in mind. They are also evaluated differently, though both use the 4Cs of color, clarity, cut, and carat weight.

The 4Cs in emeralds (and any other colored gem) are heavily weighted for color, with clarity and cut coming after. Carat weight in any gem is not about quality, but acts as a gauge for rarity of the quality the first three Cs demonstrate.

In diamonds, the 4Cs are equally weighted because of how clarity and cut lend themselves to making the diamond appear spectacular. The round-brilliant cut we know today is derived from the Tolkowsky Cut, engineered by Marcel Tolkowsky to make diamonds shine as brightly as possible for part of a PhD topic.

Assuming the 4Cs of quality for emeralds and diamonds are more or less equal, nice emeralds are a lot rarer than diamonds. The one exception to this is fancy colored diamonds. These diamonds make up less than 1% of all diamonds on the market, and have values that are prohibitive for all but a few very wealthy individuals. The Hope Diamond in the center below is valued at a minimum of $200 million dollars USD (though it is not for sale), just to give an idea of how crazy these prices can be.

Spectacular Examples of Diamonds


The Tiffany Diamond – 128.54ct

The Moussaieff Red – 5.11ct

The Hope Diamond – 45.55ct

Diamonds make up most of the jewelry industry anyways. Almost any jewelry case you look at will mainly feature diamond jewelry, maybe with a few other stones. In many cases the jewelry is set entirely with diamonds. New York City’s famous diamond district on 47th street displays almost nothing but diamonds. However, this is also where the gem dealers with other precious gemstones like sapphire, rubies, and emeralds all sell these stones too. Anything else is infrequently seen outside of specialty sectors in the gem trade.

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