What's up with Emeralds lately? In 1989 an emerald commanded up to $4,500.00 for a two carat gem which was based on a moderate degree of enhancement (oils, resins etc.). In 1990, the price went up to $5,000.00 for a two carat gem and then a decline and increase in pricing continued until 2000 when the gem dropped in price to about $2,000.00 for two carats.
However, prices began to increase in 2003, 2004 and into 2005 with the average price of a two carat emerald bumping back up to $3,300.00 (by year end 2005). Now we are seeing emeralds being scooped up quickly and at a premium prices.
Is the Emerald on the rise again?
It may sound rather odd but, emeralds came down in price due to slower production in mining. One would think that the opposite would be true. Think about it? Production slows to a standstill and prices drop, as opposed to moving upward? However, when Japan and the U.S. markets realized global recessions in the 90's, demand for emeralds decreased dramatically. However, the market for all other gemstones rebounded quickly due to the simple fact that sapphires and rubies have been discovered throughout most of the world.
However, emeralds (especially Colombian Emeralds) come from one place and one place only - Colombia. While emeralds are readily found in other geographical locations around the globe, none come to close to the colors and quality produced from the mines in Colombia.
Again, Colombia has been ripe with problems in production. Miners need dynamite, supplies, law enforcement and even roads built in order to exploit the potential which Colombia has to offer.
Up until now, only 5% of Colombia's emerald cache has been discovered...
There are three major mines in Colombia. One in Muzo, another in Cosquez and close by to La Pita are several mines, which have only been in production during the past seven years. Collectively, the Muzo and Cosquez mines have been in production for over 500 years.
The cost of an emerald can be attributed to many factors. No doubt, color, cut and quality are at the top of the list. However, price is also determined by those who set the world market prices. A major partner in the La Pita mines is known as Yesid Nieto. This man may be the next "site holder" for all emerald production realized from the La Pita mines. On any given day he can buy up to 12,000+ carats of fine emeralds (which accounts for about 6 to 8 weeks of emerald production).
Are we now seeing a trend in the emerald market similar to that of the Tanzanite market...
Many readers may know what has happened to the Tanzanite market in recent years. For those who don't, here's quick market recap. Three site holders control the world's supply of Tanzanite. The rest is kept in rough storage for the future. Prices of Tanzanite have soared out of control during the past few years due to the Tananite Cartel controlling supply and demand. Control any item in demand and you control the world market price.
In the case of emeralds, we hope this is not where the world market is heading. Prices for Colombian Emeralds are now increasing on a daily basis (as opposed to weekly and monthly). A mediocre emerald is now commanding upwards to $1000.00 a carat! When we say "medicore" we are seeing emeralds which are so light in color that one would just have to pass on such a "buy". These are not emeralds the experienced emerald buyer wishes to see (and pick through) on a daily basis. Once in a while you might find an all around gorgeous emerald however, one has to spend hours picking through hundreds of emeralds to find just one "single" treasure.
This would explain why fine Colombian emeralds are now commanding up to $1800.00 per carat. Get into 2 carat plus gems and the price may triple!
However, every cloud has a silver lining and in our case, we were smart enough to take into consideration the potential of escalating emerald prices. First, we buy them from the source (Colombia) and in many cases from the miners from themselves (miners in Colombia are known as "Esmeralderos" and are allowed to keep a certain portion of the emerald crystals they find).
Second, by selecting the crystals directly from the miners, we pay less for them in their raw form. The crystals are then transferred to an experienced cutter of emeralds, who studies the crystal and seeks to cut the rough into several gems to maximize both profit margins for our firm and of course, the more he cuts, the more he earns (it's a win-win situation).
In the end, we may end up with 100 to 125 emeralds of exceptional quality! Exceptional quality comes in the form of a gorgeous green emerald, beautiful cut and clarity. Don't expect to purchase a one carat emerald for a few hundred dollars, as they don't exist at such a price!
Yes, you can buy emeralds cheap! Emeralds which are Declasse are cheap. Declasse emeralds may look like muted green jade. You might have seen 60 carat emerald necklaces which appraise for $50,000.00 on the Internet. However, these are known as "promotional stones" (they are stones, not gems). They appraise high due to the sheer number of carats of emeralds, their settings and accenting the piece with 10 carats of I-1 dimonds.
However, once again - 60 carats of emeralds can appraise high (even Declasse emeralds) as they're being appraised based on world market price. This should tell you something when seeking out a one or two carat emerald of high quality. You can buy a 60 carat emerald and diamond necklace for a few thousand dollars however, you can spend just as much on a one carat emerald of "true" Colombian origin, color and clarity.
Other guides relating to jewelry and gemstone buying which you may find helpful are as follows: