The Different Quality Factors of Emerald

The Different Quality Factors of Emerald

May 15, 2019

When thinking about green gems, emerald is by far the most popular. It is one of the “big three” of colored gemstones, joining sapphire and ruby as the famous gemstone trio.

Emerald’s history dates back to thousands of years and emerald is mined all over the world.

If you’re looking for a new fine jewelry piece, you’re guaranteed to buy an exquisite and fine piece if it’s made with emerald. But you need to ensure the emerald you buy is of the highest quality.

There are ways to evaluate emerald quality by looking at quality factors.

Look for these factors when buying emerald jewelry.


Unlike another gemstone like diamonds, emeralds most often contain inclusions or blemishes.

Emeralds with no blemishes are extremely rare. This is why jewelers and consumers accept these inclusions. However, it’s still best to buy an emerald with the best clarity.

Unlike clear gemstones such as diamonds, grading the clarity is harder for colored stones, especially as consumers. For emerald gemstones, look for a glassy green color. Some describe this as “mossy” or “garden and nature-like.”

If you’re unsure, your jeweler will adhere by emerald grading standards.

These standards include minor (less treatment, high-quality stone) moderate, and significant (more treatment, lesser-quality stone). You can always ask your jeweler any questions or for their advice.


Judging an emerald’s quality based on color is easier than clarity. The highest quality emeralds are pure green and can even veer off to blueish-green. The saturation should be vivid, not dark.

However, the emerald should still have some transparency and clarity with evenly distributed color.

Avoid emeralds with yellow undertones. This stone has more beryl than pure emerald, reducing its quality.


Emeralds are weighed in carats, like every other gemstone. Emeralds come in a wide range of sizes. Unlike diamonds, a bigger emerald doesn’t necessarily mean higher quality.

There are emeralds in museums that weigh hundreds of carats and tiny emeralds that still have high quality.

With emeralds, identifying color and clarity is key to their quality. But this should also be reflected in their weight. Look for vivid green hues that don’t aren’t too yellow and aren’t too dark.

Compare this to their weight. 


The cut of the emerald truly determines its depth of color in relation to its clarity. In addition, cut also depends on its long-term durability.

When identifying cut, first make sure there aren’t any mistakes that occurred during the cutting and shaping process. Emerald is extremely difficult to cut, so it’s important you identify any mistakes such as fractures and chips.

From here, you can judge the emerald’s quality on its cut. Deeper cuts usually mean the stone is paler, since deepening its cut lightens up the stone. Darker stones are shallow.

Most emeralds are available in a square or rectangular cut, famously called the emerald cut — and for a good reason. This step cut style with cut off corners shows off its brilliant green color.

Buy Emerald Jewelry From Johnston’s Jewelers

The key to buying emerald jewelry is only buying emerald from a prestigious jeweler. If you’re based in Pinellas County, or Tampa Bay area, contact Johnston Jeweler’s.

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