Are Colombian Emeralds Overrated

Many clients are looking for emeralds especially Colombian emeralds and they always ask me questions such as “Are Colombian emeralds worth buying?” “What should I look for in an emerald?”, here is a short summary from my discussions with clients and I hope it will be helpful to you.

Color is the most important factor when buying emeralds, slight color differences can significantly influence value.

Inclusions are expected in emeralds because emeralds are not very clean stones by nature. Most emeralds contain inclusions that are visible to the naked eye.  Your jeweler should alert you if there are inclusions that could affect the stability of the stone. Otherwise, inclusions are very common in emeralds. People in the trade use the French word “jardin” (means garden) to describe inclusions in emeralds. Eye-clean Colombian emeralds with good color are extremely rare and command very high prices.

Since more than 90% of emeralds are oiled to improve clarity and overall appearance, no oil emeralds as you can imagine are super rare so it can cost up to 50% more than a treated one of the same apparent quality. Minor treatment doesn’t depress prices, but moderate to significant treatment does.

Colombian emeralds are often referred to as the finest emeralds. Afghani emeralds are also extremely rare and highly valued, but the supply for Afghani emeralds is scarce, as a result, most clients have never encountered one. Zambian emeralds are darker and more bluish, usually with better clarity than Colombian emeralds. They are cheaper too because they are not as rare and supply is stable.

At Sevun most of our emeralds are from Colombia, although we do work with emeralds from other origins.  Most Colombian emeralds come from Muzo, Chivor and Cosquez regions. Gem quality emeralds from Muzo fetch the highest prices. In general, the value of Colombian emeralds have not gone down in the past 20 years. There was a very big find in the Cosquez area years ago. Due to this immense big find the price of Cosquez emeralds was weakened temporarily. This never happened again. All the other areas like Chivor and Muzo never produced such big quantities that the availability surpassed the demand. Now even Cosquez is not producing enough to meet the demand.

Today, the Colombian government is aware of the environmental damage open pit mining has on its land. New rules have been implemented, tunnel and shaft are mandatory so the cost of mining increased significantly. Social healthcare for the miners and advanced security systems are also in place. As a result, increasing cost, low production and high demand become the driving force for a steady price climb. Before the Chinese market started buying Colombian emeralds, the demand was already higher than the supply. Now with millions of Chinese interested in Colombian emeralds, the prices will likely remain high.