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How Are Emeralds Graded: The Complete Guide to Emerald Grading Systems.

Updated: Sep 6, 2023


Banner showing a variation of Colombian Emeralds
A Bunch of Different high quality emeralds form Colombia.

Emeralds are mostly graded based in two different systems, one is called The Four C’s Grading System (Color, Clarity, Cut and Carat) mainly used to grade Diamonds and other gemstones, the other is known as The AAA Letters Grading System, classifying them as: A-B-C-D, mostly used for Emeralds, Rubies, Sapphires, Tourmaline, etc.


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Among the most valuable and popular gemstones in the world, emeralds are highly prized for their rich green color and unique appearance. However, not all emeralds are created equal, and there are a number of factors that determine the quality and value of an emerald. In the jewelry industry, emerald grading is a valuable process that helps buyers and sellers accurately evaluate the quality and value of these precious stones. In this blog post, we'll look at how emerald gemstones are graded in the jewelry industry.


Grading Systems Available.


The truth is that there are at least two different grading systems for emeralds, and most jewelry bloggers are not clarifying this. The AAA letter grading system is not standardized across all gem types, and different grading systems may be used for different types of gems. Additionally, not all gemstones are graded using this system, as some may have their own unique grading scales as we will see later, or be evaluated based on additional factors. However, the AAA letter grading system is useful for assessing the quality and value of gemstones.


A very Clean Colombian Emerald for Emerald Whisper Jewelry
Asher Cut Emerald

The Four C’s Grading System of Emerald Grading


This system is used to grade diamonds and emeralds. It was developed by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA). Color, clarity, cut, and carat weight are the 4Cs. Let's examine each of these factors in more detail.



Color


Color is the most important factor in grading an emerald. The most beautiful emeralds have a rich, saturated green color with no signs of brown or yellow. The hue should be pure and vibrant, with a slight bluish-green tint. The color of an emerald is graded on a scale of 0 to 6, with 0 being colorless and 6 being black. The most valuable emeralds are those that fall in the 4 to 5 range.


Clarity


Emerald's lack of inclusions or other flaws is referred to as clarity. Natural inclusions are flaws that can affect a stone's beauty and durability. Emeralds with fewer inclusions are valued more highly than those with more. The value of an emerald increases with its grade, which ranges from Flawless to Included (I). However, it is essential to keep in mind that inclusions are common in emeralds and may be present in even the finest stones.


Cut


The proportions, symmetry, and general shape of an emerald are referred to as its cut. In contrast to a badly cut stone, a well-cut emerald will emphasize its inherent beauty and color. The traditional rectangular or square shape with beveled corners is referred to as the "emerald cut" and is the most common shape for emeralds. However emeralds can also be shaped in other ways, such as round, oval, baguette, marquise or pear. On a scale from Poor to Excellent, the cut quality is rated, with the highest grade being the most valuable.


Carat Weight


The measurement of an emerald's weight, or carat weight, plays a vital role in establishing its market value. Due to the rarity and value of larger emeralds, the price per carat rises with stone size. It's crucial to remember nevertheless that an emerald's value is not only based on its carat weight. The cut, clarity, and color all significantly influence how much it is worth.



A very Clean Emerald in Big Size
A Very Clean Emerald set for a Necklace

The AAA Grading System


Another widely used methodology for grading gemstones in the jewelry business is the AAA grading system, especially for colorful gemstones. This method grades gemstones according to their color, clarity, and cut, with each grade denoting a different quality level.


AAA


The gemstone's highest grade, AAA, denotes exceptional quality. Gemstones with a grade of AAA typically possess exceptional color, clarity, and cut quality. An AAA-grade emerald, for instance, will have an excellent cut that maximizes its brilliance and fire and a very deep, vivid green color with no visible inclusions.


AA


The next grade down is AA, which represents high quality gemstones. AA-grade gemstones are slightly less exceptional than AAA-grade stones, but are still of a very high quality. For example, an AA-grade emerald may have a slightly lighter green color than an AAA-grade stone, or may have a few small inclusions that are visible under magnification, but is still considered to be of high quality.


A


The A-grade represents gemstones of good quality. These stones are still considered to be of good quality, despite the fact that they may have some visible inclusions or a color that is slightly lighter or less vibrant than that of stones of a higher grade. A-grade gemstones are in many cases more reasonable than higher-grade stones, settling on them a decent decision for people who need a great gemstone at a more open cost.


B


Gemstones with a B grade are of average quality. These stones may not be as well cut and may have more visible inclusions or a less vibrant color than stones of a higher grade. B-grade gemstones are normally more affordable than higher-grade stones, yet offer a decent degree of value at their cost.


C


The C-grade represents gemstones of poor quality. These stones may have significant inclusions or a very pale or dull color, and may be poorly cut. C-grade gemstones are typically the least expensive, but also offer the lowest level of quality.


D


The lowest grade of gemstone is D, which represents stones that are either damaged or of such poor quality that they are not suitable for use in jewelry.


It's important to remember that not all gemstones use the same grading system, and different grading systems may be used for different kinds of gems. When purchasing a gemstone, it is essential to consult via a reputable jeweler or gemologist to ensure that you are receiving the quality you desire because grading standards can differ between gemstone laboratories.


Other Grading Systems Gemewizard Grading System


GW Laboratories uses the sophisticated and scientific Gemewizard system, which takes color, clarity, cut, and carat weight into account when grading gemstones. This system, developed by computer science and the gemmology expert Menahem Sevdermish, is well-known in the jewelry industry.


To determine a gemstone's color, the Gemewizard method looks at its hue, tone, and saturation. While hue is the stone's predominant color, the tone is a measurement of how light or dark a color is. The variety's power or immaculateness is alluded to as immersion.


The presence or nonappearance of considerations or defects in a gemstone is alluded to as its lucidity. The Gemewizard system employs a six-point clarity grading scale, ranging from "Loupe Clean" (no inclusions visible under 10x magnification) to "Included 3" (inclusions visible to the naked eye). The system also takes into account the size, type, and location of inclusions when determining a gemstone's clarity.


The Gemewizard framework provides a comprehensive analysis of a gemstone's credits, including its origin, medicines, and any other significant information that could affect its value, in addition to evaluation. Additionally, the system issues a digital certificate to each gemstone or Jewelry if its the case, which can be used to verify its quality and authenticity.


In general, the Gemewizard grading system provides a comprehensive and objective method for determining the quality of gemstones. Its use of patented technology and in-depth analysis allow for precise evaluations of color, clarity, cut, and carat weight. Additionally, its standardized grading scale makes it simple for buyers and sellers to communicate about a stone's quality and value.



Additional Factors in Emerald Grading


In addition to the 4Cs, and the AAA Grading Letter System, and the Gemewizard Systems there are other factors that are considered when grading emeralds.


Treatments: Emeralds are often treated to improve their color or clarity, and these treatments can significantly affect the value of a stone. Some common treatments include oiling, filling, and irradiation. Gemologists will carefully evaluate the presence and extent of any treatments when grading an emerald.


Origin: The origin of an emerald can also impact its value. Some of the most highly prized emeralds come from specific locations, such as Colombia (among the most valuable), Zambia, or Brazil. Gemologists may evaluate the origin of an emerald based on its characteristics, or they may rely on documentation from the seller or previous owners.


A lot of green emeralds on a desk
Colombian Emeralds Ready for Necklace

Conclusions


Emerald grading is an important process in the jewelry industry that helps buyers and sellers to accurately evaluate the quality and value of emeralds. Emeralds are graded based mainly on two different systems, the Four C's grading system and the AAA letter grading system. The Four C's grading system evaluates the color, clarity, cut, and carat weight of an emerald, while the AAA letter grading system assesses the quality of the gemstone based on its color, clarity, and cut. Both grading systems provide a useful framework for evaluating the quality and value of emeralds, enabling buyers and sellers to make informed decisions when buying or selling these precious stones.


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