As a gemstone enthusiast, I know the thrill of finding that perfect, eye-catching emerald to complete your collection or serve as a meaningful gift.
Over the years, I've delved deep into the world of emerald shopping, seeking the best place to buy emeralds while ensuring quality, transparency, and value.
To guide you on your journey to finding the ultimate emerald treasure, I've curated a list of top-notch retailers where you can confidently invest in these captivating green gems without compromising on beauty or ethics.
Top 4 Best Places to Buy Emeralds
1. James Allen
If you're looking for a nice emerald at the best price, look no further than James Allen. Utilizing their 360° zoom technology, you can examine the jardin, or the garden in which emerald inclusions grow. During my search, I visited their website and appreciated the detailed view they provided.
Unfortunately, they don't allow you to visualize the gemstone in the setting, so you'll have to use your imagination a bit. However, I prioritized my preferences and assessed the options available.
After researching and comparing the best places to buy emeralds, I found James Allen to have the largest selection of emeralds--literally thousands. They are all of varying qualities. I observed that the prices of a loose emerald range from under $500 to $200,000, which is suitable for most budgets.
All of their emeralds are treated, so they will have to be re-treated over time. I verified this information and documented it for future reference.
But we'll go over treatments later.
James Allen has a team of gemologists ready to consult and assist you with any questions about their gemstones. They are available 24/7. I inquired about their services and found them very helpful.
They also offer a free lifetime warranty with their settings that covers routine works such as prong tightening or rhodium plating, which is a crucial when buying emerald jewelry.
2. Brilliant Earth
Brilliant Earth has a medium-sized collection of loose emeralds, but the inventory is frequently changing because people keep buying them up. During my research, I found that they have around 50 loose emerald gemstones at this point in time.
There's a mixed variation of shapes among both natural and lab-created emeralds. I examined the natural emeralds, which are treated by oiling, so make sure you don't steam clean them. You'll find more about emerald treatments in the FAQ.
They have their natural emeralds divided into titles. Some natural ones remain untitled, while others are Premium and Super Premium. I compared the different categories and observed that a few emeralds didn't seem to differ between unnamed and Premium, but I could definitely tell the Super Premium from the Premium.
Many of the Premium emeralds are translucent, not transparent. I assessed the transparency levels and found that translucent is more opaque..
Not only do they carry loose emeralds, but they've also got a small collection of preset emerald jewelry too. I filtered through the options and discovered that these include mainly earrings and necklaces, like this unique olive branch lab-grown emerald and diamond pendant below:
Brilliant Earth prides themselves on ethics and gives back to the environment and community. I verified that all of their packaging is eco-friendly, even down to the wooden jewelry box they provide.
As for warranties, they have the Brilliant Benefits Extended Service Plan, or the ESP for short. I reviewed the warranty, which is similar to the ESP at Kay's and Jared, but Brilliant Earth's warranty is up in three years. It's still based on a sliding scale, but you have to renew it if you want to keep it covered.
You also won't be able to add it if you're only shopping online without a diamond expert. I had to give them a call after my purchase to have them add that on there. It was inconvenient, but maybe they'll change it in the future.
Why I Liked James Allen More: James Allen's lifetime warranty covers routine maintenance for FREE. There's no need to activate it, call, or pay for renewal. I appreciated that it was automatically included in my purchase.
3. Blue Nile
Emeralds at Blue Nile don't come loose, but preset in different jewelry pieces. I researched their selection and found it perfect for anyone looking for high-quality emerald jewelry. However, if you're looking for cheaper pieces under $500, you won't find a ton of options at Blue Nile.
All of their emerald jewelry is natural and set in either gold or platinum. I compared the available options and observed that if you're looking for rose gold, they only seem to have options in yellow or white.
Blue Nile would be a good choice if you're looking to spend the same amount you would on a 1 carat diamond engagement ring on an emerald instead.
And for those of you with wallets bursting at the seams (we're jealous), you have the option of purchasing from Blue Nile's Extraordinary collection, featuring the best of Blue Nile with some hefty prices. I assessed this gorgeous emerald, sapphire, and diamond ring valued at a staggering $52,000:
Gemstones from this collection will be natural and untreated, while others outside the collection may be treated to enhance color.
Blue Nile is one of the oldest names in online jewelry, so they've got a great reputation for customer service and quality products. I verified their reputation, but found that they don't offer a warranty like James Allen.
Blue Nile provides a manufacturer's warranty. This simply means that if it breaks because of a flaw in the design, they'll replace it. Routine maintenance like rhodium plating white gold or tightening stones will have to be done out of pocket.
Why I Like James Allen More: While Blue Nile has some gorgeous pieces, I wished they had some loose emeralds to choose from. Personally, I feel more confident in buying jewelry where I have more of a say in. Emeralds are known to have inclusions, so I'd rather be able to look under a viewer like James Allen's to really observe the characteristics and make sure I like where the inclusions are located.
4. Leibish & Co.
If you're looking for the absolute best emerald gemstones, Leibish & Co will be your go-to. They offer gorgeous untreated loose emeralds ranging from $4,000 to beyond $50,000.
They are also untreated, so they'll retain that deep green color. I reviewed their collection and found a few pages of loose emeralds to choose from. You'll also know the origin of the stone. They have a variety of shapes too that can be added to either a ring setting or to create an emerald necklace.
I appreciated that they let you magnify the emerald to examine all its characteristics. They allow you to view a video of the settings, but you can't visualize what your emerald will look like in it either.
I highly encourage you to consider purchasing from Leibish & Co., if you have the budget for it.
For the rest of us who may not be able or willing to spend that much, I believe James Allen will be better suited and offer a better selection for their price.
Why James Allen is Better: Leibish and Co. does have gorgeous high-quality emeralds, but James Allen has more emeralds suited for the everyday buyer. They provide many different loose emeralds under the minimum price of what Leibish & Co. has to offer.
Additional Buying Options
The stores listed here are among the best places to buy emeralds online based on their reputation and range of products. However, it is important to note that we have not vetted all of these stores personally. From our own research, we highly recommend James Allen as a top choice for where to buy emeralds.
Online Stores: James Allen, Brilliant Earth, Blue Nile, Leibish & Co, Borsheims, Gemvara, Angara, and Brian Gavin Diamonds are well-known online retailers that offer a wide selection of emerald jewelry.
These stores provide a convenient shopping experience, allowing customers to browse and purchase emeralds from the comfort of their own homes.
Brick and Mortar Stores: Tiffany & Co, Harry Winston, Cartier, Bulgari, Chopard, Buccellati, Graff, Astteria, The Natural Emerald Company, Gemfields, Muzo Emerald Colombia, and Ross-Simons are prestigious brick and mortar stores where customers can personally visit, view, and purchase high-quality emeralds.
These retailers offer the opportunity to consult with knowledgeable staff, inspect the stones closely, and ensure that the emerald meets your expectations before making a purchase.
How We Selected The Best Emerald Stores
When researching stores, I focused on their emerald offerings and variety. I looked for those with a diverse selection of cuts, sizes, and designs, ensuring buyers could find the perfect gemstone to suit their needs and preferences.
During my comparison, I focused on stores that provided certificates of authenticity and had a strong reputation for high-quality emeralds. I consulted with gemologists to gain insights into the quality of the stones and verified their origins to ensure ethical sourcing.
Settings and Jewelry Available
I assessed the available settings, designs, and metal types to accommodate different styles and preferences. I visualized different combinations and considered common preferences at the best places to buy loose emeralds.
I carefully examined the pricing of emeralds at various stores, keeping multiple budgets in mind. I made sure to compare similar stones to get an accurate understanding of the retail value depending on the exact emerald jewelry selected.
A user-friendly website with detailed product descriptions and high-quality images was essential for an enjoyable online shopping experience. I prioritized stores with informative and easy-to-navigate websites when looking for emeralds online.
For in-person shopping, I evaluated the staff's expertise, customer interactions, and the store's overall ambiance. I closely inspected the emeralds for color, clarity, cut, and carat weight during my in-person visits.
I documented the information gathered, focusing on store policies, emerald details, and personal observations. I used this information to filter options and narrow down choices based on individual priorities and preferences.
Lastly, I prioritized customer service by reviewing testimonials, ratings, and store policies regarding returns, exchanges, and warranties. This ensured a satisfactory post-purchase experience and provided extra confidence in the selected store.
FAQs When Buying Emerald Jewelry Online
What Are Emeralds?
Most people are familiar with emeralds, as they are the birthstone of May. Emerald is the green variety of the mineral beryl. It gets its green color from traces of vanadium in beryl.
It is also a sister stone to both aquamarines and morganites, which are also varieties of beryl you'll see in the jewelry market.
Are Emeralds Good For An Engagement Ring?
Emeralds are not recommended for an engagement ring because of their brittleness and treatments.
Most jewelers will not work on chips or breaks in an emerald because they're a 7.5 on Mohs scale of hardness.
Color treatments like these will become damaged out in the sun which doesn't work for everyday wear.
The exception to this advice is an untreated emerald, but they are rare and very pricey. You can choose the best place to buy emerald rings from our list above.
Is Emerald Jewelry More Expensive?
It depends on where you get it from, the quality, and what it is set in. If you are looking at a 14K yellow gold Columbian emerald pendant marked as AA quality, it's going to be more expensive. But if you've got lighter green emerald with inclusions all around, it won't be as expensive.
If you buy emerald jewelry at a physical retailer like Jared or Kays, you'll notice they don't carry natural gemstones or even set them in 14K for the most part, unless it's through their LeVian collection.
And real emeralds through LeVian cost way more than they need to. Often times you'll have to order a stone in and custom make an engagement ring in 14K gold. These stores will then charge an arm and a leg for the work, and take weeks doing so. Any of the online guys we've mentioned won't do that.
What Should You Look For When Buying Emerald Online?
You've probably heard of the 4Cs by now, a diamond grading system put forth by the Gemological Institute of America. With green gemstone types, they follow the same basic guidelines, but without the actual grades.
Normally, the cut is the most important C of the 4Cs. However, this is when we're talking about diamonds. With colored stones, it's a little different. There is no cut grade standard for colored stones. While you normally see emeralds faceted, they are available in cabochons as well.
You can pretty much get an faceted emerald in any shape, but the emerald cut emeralds are going to have some of the best color and light return that you can buy. Whichever shape you choose, make sure it is even and not lopsided.
Emeralds are most valued by their color and their color tone, hue, and saturation.
Tone is how is basically how dark or light the stone is. A colorless beryl would receive a 0. An gemstone color tone can be Very Light, Light, Medium, Medium Dark, Dark, and Very Dark. If the emerald is too light, it's classified as green beryl. Medium to Dark is optimal for high quality emeralds.
Hue is the color that can be seen through the light in a gemstone. The GIA hue scale is red, orange, yellow, green, blue, violet, and purple. Emeralds can be green with secondary hues of either blue, or yellow. If an emerald has a slight bluish green hue, it could be seen on a grading reports as: slbG.
Read also: Emerald vs Jade: What's the Difference?
This is slightly bluish green. The main color is always capitalized. Colombian emeralds are valued for their strong bluish green hues. Zambian emeralds also have bluish hues. Often times, emeralds from Zambia can be too blue and be of less value.
Colored Gemstone Hue Example
Lastly, the saturation is the intensity of the hue. The overall grading system for gemstone takes into account the hue, tone, and saturation.
Emerald clarity is different than most gemstone clarity. Eye clean emeralds are very difficult to find, and if you do, they are very expensive. It's very normal to have visible inclusions in an emerald.
Avoid any with too many inclusions though, because they can compromise the stone, or make the stone look too cloudy and less like a faceted stone.
There are 3 categories of clarity for colored gemstones under the GIA. Different gemstones fall under different types. They are Type I, Type II, and Type III. Type I is almost completely free of inclusions. Type II are usually included. Type III are almost always included.
Emeralds are a Type III colored gemstone, meaning that even high quality emeralds are almost always included. Each Type sub-grades of IF, VVS, VS, SI1,SI2, and I1, I2, or I3. It's very similar to the clarity scale for diamonds, but diamonds don't have types and also have VS2 and VVS2.
Like most gemstones, carat is a subject C and it's the same with emeralds. Emeralds increase quickly on price based on their size and color. Keep in mind, it's difficult to find a high quality 2 stone than it is to find a high quality 1 carat. Sometimes you'll see the best loose emeralds or emerald rings referred to in carat weight or in millimeters such as 4x6.
Red Flags When Buying Emeralds Online?
If you're wanting natural emeralds, watch out for the terms "synthetic" and "simulated" Synthetic emeralds are created in a lab rather than the ground. Lab created emeralds are cheaper and have better color and clarity. They're real, but just don't have the biological history that mined emeralds do.
You may also see jewelry being advertised as simulated emeralds or emerald in the title of the item, but then says that the stone is cubic zirconia or green zircon in the fine print.
Here's an example of a stone that's not an emerald at all from Kohl's:
Color and clarity treatments are pretty normal for emeralds. It's very difficult to find a beautiful, high quality emerald without treatment. If you do, it'll be very expensive.
There's a lot of different treatments that emeralds get, but there are a couple that are worth noting. Always ask about the treatment. Some places won't tell you the treatments, but give you a disclaimer, like Kay's:
You always want to know what treatments were used on your emeralds, because most treatments will wear off over time. Exposure to prolonged light could alter the color of your emerald because of treatments.
Then you have to pay a jeweler to re-treat it. It's best to get an untreated emerald, but not many can afford it and it's hard to find. How to get the Best Deal When Buying Emeralds Online?
I'm going to leave you with three lasting tips to remember when buying emeralds online.
1. Make sure you can see the stone
You want to look an emerald all over, looking for inclusions, chips, or color zoning. A 360 viewer should be able to identify them when buying online.
If one is not available, you may look to see if you can view it in some sort of high magnification or see it in-person at a showroom. You want to be able to observe the jardin in an emerald.
2. Buy from a reputable dealer
There are many private dealers at gemstone auctions and on social media sites that are selling simulated or high treated emeralds advertised differently.
There is no overall grading report system for colored gemstones, you can obtain a certificate from the GIA stating whether there's been emerald treatments and if it's legitimate.
3. Put in a protective setting
If you're wanting an emerald stone as a center stone, make sure to put in a protective ring setting. Exposed edges leave the brittle emerald even more vulnerable. Consider a ring setting like a halo, bezel, flush, or even a tension setting. I would avoid high profile cathedral solitaires.
Get Your Emeralds At...
After an extensive search for the best place to buy emeralds, James Allen emerged as the top choice due to their vast selection, competitive pricing, and excellent customer service.
Their 360° zoom technology allows you to closely examine each emerald, while their team of gemologists is always available to assist with your queries.
Despite not being able to preview the gemstone in its setting, their free lifetime warranty covering routine maintenance makes James Allen the ideal destination for a stress-free and enjoyable emerald shopping experience.