The geographic origin of emeralds used to be more important than it is now. Colombia has long been famous for its emeralds, and consequently Colombian emeralds are in high demand. 10 years ago, a premium of about 10-20%, was frequently charged for expensive, high: quality Colombian emeralds accompanied by an origin report from a respected laboratory. Today, more often than not, emerald prices are based primarily on the merit of the stone. For example, a ﬁne Afghan emerald can command the same price as a Colombian emerald of the same quality.
Big emerald dealers, say that size and quality are prime determinants of his emerald prices. Similarly, the Gem Guide to Wholesale Gem Pricing uses the same pricing charts for all emeralds regardless of their geographic origin.
Others, still uses origin reports because some customers are willing to pay more for a Colombian emerald than a similar one from an unknown source. For the most part, they price emeralds according to their overall attributes because buyers nowadays are less interested in the origin. In addition, they want more than just fine colour. Customers are also looking for good clarity, cut, brilliance, transparency-a total package of qualities.
As is evident from the preceding section, factors other than just the 4 C’s of colour, clarity, cut and carat weight can play a role in the pricing of a gemstone:
- Clarity (degree to which a stone is free from flaws)
- Cutting style
- Cut quality (proportions and finish)
- Carat weight or stone size
- Treatment status (untreated or treated, type and extent of the treatment)
- Geographic origin (sometimes on certain high quality or rare stones with documentation)
- Distinctness of phenomena if present (e.g., stars, cat’s-eyes, colour change)
Coloured-gem dealers tend to evaluate gem quality as a whole rather than breaking it down to its constituent parts of colour, clarity, transparency, proportions, etc. Their final judgments are usually more intuitive than logical. Non quality related factors also enter into their pricing strategies. Some of these price determinants are demand, currency fluctuations, form of payment, buyer’s credit rating, amount purchased, competitors’ prices, time of sale, the customer’s eagerness to buy, the seller’s need for money and his assessment of the buyer. Astute, knowledgeable buyers tend to be offered better prices. That’s why it pays to learn how to evaluate and compare gems.