Select Your Loose Emerald Wisely

Chatham Emerald Engagement Ring
In my previous post I discussed my continuing education lesson on Emerald Enhancements. It was quite interesting learning how GIA judges clarity enhancements in emeralds.

I mentioned that because emeralds are type III gemstones and are almost always included, most all emeralds are enhanced to improve aparent clarity. It’s amazing the difference fracture filling can make in the apparent clarity and beauty of an emerald. Fracture filling can make a train wrek of an emerald look relatively clean after enhancement.

For this reason, one should take care when chosing the right natural emerald for a particular piece of jewelry. Natural emeralds often have large fractures that can hinder their durability. For example a large fracture across the corner of a stone could cause a chunk of the stone to fall off during setting. After filling, the fracture may look almost invisible, but the filling doesn’t make the emerald any less vulerable to damage.

Heavily included emeralds are commonly used for pendants and earrings. But I advise my customers to be a bit more picky when it comes to using a natural emerald for a ring…especially an emerald engagement ring meant for every day wear. In this case, I suggest finding an emerald with relative high clarity and minor enhancement to minize the risk of breakage due to trauma. And if a higher quality natural emerald isn’t in the budget, I suggest Chatham-created emeralds. They are real emeralds, just grown in a lab with top color and clarity.

The bottom line is, if you’re searching for the perfect emerald for your piece of jewelry, select your stone carefully…don’t just go for the best price. I have so many customers who tell me they will buy their stone from whomever gives them the best price. That’s not the best way of thinking when you’re considering natural gemstones. Generally speaking, you’ll get what you pay for. You should get the nicest stone possible for your budget not just the cheapest stone you can find.

Author: Michelle M. Rahm is a GIA-trained Graduate Gemologist and is President of Colorado’s Mile High Chapter of the GIA Alumni Association. She has been selling gemstones and jewelry online since 1997. Visit her websites and

About mrahm

Michelle holds a Graduate Gemologist Diploma, Graduate Diamonds Diploma and Graduate Colored Stones Diploma through the Gemological Institute of America's distance education program. Michelle currently serves as President of the Mile High GIA Alumni Association. She also serves on the board of the Rocky Mountain Jeweler's Association and is a member of the American Gem Trade Association.
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