Value of Colombian Emeralds
E1150 | play | left | medium | “Emerald ID: E1150 – Weight: 1.23 Carats – Origin: Colombia”
The quality of emeralds from Colombia set the standard for the entirety of the emerald trade. However, it’s important to note that 90% of all the emeralds on the market come from Colombia. This makes emerald value as determined by origin not as impactful as locations for other gems, though Colombian emeralds can go for as much as 50% more than emeralds from other locations like Brazil or Zambia just by name alone.
The ultimate price factor in any of these gems will always be quality, as described by the 4Cs of color, clarity, cut, and carat weight. These factors are also compared to emeralds from other countries like Brazil or across the Atlantic ocean in Zambia, Africa. Even non-commercial sources like North Carolina, USA, and Ethiopia, Africa.
Because of how much of the world’s emeralds come from one country, there are generalizations made about the gems based on the specific mine they’re from. The Muzo mine is the most historic, with the indigenous locals nicknamed “the emerald people” as far back as the 1500s. Emeralds from here are typically darker and more yellowish, while emeralds from the Chivor mine are often more bluish and lighter in color (a bluish color in emeralds is often preferred). The Cozcues mine does not have any particular emerald features associated with it.
Slightly Yellowish Green
Emerald ID: E1551 – Weight: 2.13 Carats – Origin: Colombia
Emerald ID: E1525 – Weight: 2.54 Carats – Origin: Colombia
Under no circumstance should you assume any emerald’s origin based on appearance alone. There are too many exceptions for this to be an accurate indicator, and even lab gemologists frequently struggle to 100% identify gem origin with advanced testing.
Like any other gem, emerald prices fluctuate significantly. Regardless of size, a washed out color will never be as valuable as a bright green:
Emerald ID: E480 – Weight: 0.77 Carats – Origin: Zambia – Price: $192.50
Emerald ID: E674 – Weight: 0.32 Carats – Origin: Zambia – Price: $192.00
While emeralds are always included, the way these inclusions contrast to the rest of the emerald is hugely important.
Emerald ID: E948 – Weight: 1.10 Carats – Origin: Zambia – Price: $3,960.00
Emerald ID: E1349 – Weight: 1.08 Carats – Origin: Zambia – Price: $2,160.00
Cut is not as critical since gem cutters have to balance the cut with the carat weight of the uncut gem, find the best direction for color, inclusion arrangement, etc. However, better cuts of the same carat weight will command higher prices.
Lastly, the bigger the gem is, the more it costs. Pure carat weight alone does not determine the ultimate price though, instead acting as a gauge for rarity of the above factors. This is why the Rockefeller emerald is worth $5.5 million, but an emerald of similar carat weight is worth three orders of magnitude less.
As seen here, the Rockefeller Emerald is remarkably clear, a rich green, and completely untreated. Over 99% of emeralds are oiled for improved clarity, and being one of the rare few that are untreated in an enormous size is nothing short of a miracle of nature. The fact that it was owned by the Rockefellers doesn’t hurt the value either.