Which Emerald is a good Emerald? CARAT WEIGHT

Carat Weight

In the last three blogs we discussed grade color, clarity, and brilliance.  This blog is dedicated to the last of the four characteristics of emeralds that you can judge for yourself, size and carat weight, and how it affects the value of these beautiful gems.

Most of the time when we indicate the size of an emerald we do it in carats. A carat is a unit of weight equivalent to 0.20 grams.  In the jewelry trade we use this as “synonym” of size. Both are directly related and most of the time that we talk about size we talk about carat weight more than millimeters or inches.

For people that is not familiar with jewelry and precious gems the term carat can be confused with “karats”. These are two totally different things.  The term karat is used as a measurement of gold purity (24 Kt gold, 18 Kt gold, 14Kt gold…) and it doesn’t have anything to do with a gem’s size and weight. In the same way when we talk about carats in emeralds or any other gems it won’t be related to its quality or purity.

As the carat weight increases so does the price of the gem and more importantly, the price per carat.  This can be calculated by dividing stone price by its carat weight. Larger emeralds are rarer than smaller ones and very difficult to find in mines. On average, they have to remove 5 tons of dirt to find an emerald over 1 carat in gem quality. That is why a 3 carat emerald will cost more than three emeralds of 1 carat each of the same quality.

I know the jewelry and gem market is obsessed with size, and nearly everyone thinks “bigger is better”.  But when we talk about emeralds, size without quality is not always better. For the fans of size, the quality in emeralds is something that will speak loudly, but the bigger the emerald the louder its quality will speak. With diamonds, you have to be familiar with them and will need to examine them with a loupe to tell if a 3 carat diamond is a good one or not. But a three carat emerald will tell you everything about itself even if you are not an expert.

When you work with colored stones the really important part is the COLOR more than the size.  Put two emeralds together, one in 1 carat and other in 2 carats.  If the smaller one has better tone and saturation than the larger one, I can guarantee, your eyes will go directly to that one.  Your attention and your admiration will be focused on the smaller one.

Please don’t get me wrong.  There is nothing more beautiful than a 3, 4 or 5 carat emerald, no matter what the quality. If is a natural one I know I’ll enjoy it. But its beauty is also because it will show its real color, clarity and brilliancy and if you are not familiar with these features it maybe not a good choice for you.

The magic happens when you have a big emerald of a great quality. Believe me, this doesn’t happen really often, and that is why the price doesn’t change in a Linear Scale of increments.

In the end is up to you and what you like. If you have a big emerald enjoy it, they are really one of a kind.  Don’t be too concerned about its quality.  Please note your stone is very special and difficult to find. So just have fun with it.

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3 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by rosediamonds on November 12, 2009 at 8:06 pm

    Great information. Most people don’t truly understand the uniqueness of Emeralds like you do!

    Reply

  2. Posted by rosediamonds on November 19, 2009 at 11:05 pm

    Yes. I’m a graduate Gemologist:)

    Reply

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