Many people confuse emeralds and emerald-cut diamonds for each other. And yes, the emerald cut was initially intended for emeralds – but it quickly gained traction and started getting used for other gemstones, including diamonds.
It goes without saying that despite both being gemstones, emeralds and diamonds are two very different things. The color is vastly different, as well as value – among other things.
If you cannot decide and are torn in the battle of diamonds vs. emeralds – we are here to help. Continue reading to find out what is the perfect choice for you!
Diamonds Vs. Emeralds: An In-Depth Comparison
We agree – it can be pretty tough to decide between diamonds and emeralds. They have their differences, but they are beautiful gemstones that will undoubtedly elevate your outfit and look great.
However, their differences go way deeper than their appearance – and we’ll go into great detail about each of them. So, let’s begin!
The first difference you can spot between diamonds and emeralds is their color.
Diamonds can be colorless or have a subtle tint of white to yellowish if graded lower on the color scale. On the other hand, emeralds are usually deep green to slightly blue. Their signature color is so well-known that it is used to describe many different emerald-colored things.
Emeralds are gemstones, and they get their color from chromium and vanadium chemicals, which turn the stone green. Some diamonds have a subtle tint of green in them, but they aren’t emeralds – not even close.
Emeralds have to be deep green. Green diamonds might confuse some people – but they are not the same as emeralds. Luckily, green diamonds aren’t very common, anyway. But if a regular person comes across one, it may be impossible to tell whether they’re looking at a green diamond or an emerald.
For both diamonds and emeralds, color is one of the principal factors to consider when buying a gem. The better the color, the more expensive the stone will be. And that’s the same for all gems out there.
There is a strict rule of what people want to see in a gemstone – and that’s a specific color. The clearer, the better – and the color grade significantly affect the price of diamonds.
The color needs to be lively – and the diamond needs to reflect light well. For diamonds, it’s always best to opt for the GIA-graded gemstones to avoid buying something without actual value.
It can be trickier for emeralds to pick out a fantastic one – as their color is graded differently. The value is higher for very green emeralds, and if you have trouble picking one out, stick to the deep green shades rather than the lighter ones.
Whenever someone thinks of diamonds, the first thing that comes to their mind is probably their signature sparkle. And for emeralds, it’s their bright green (to a slightly bluish) color.
All gemstones have a subtle sparkle – but thanks to their surface, diamonds take the cake in this category. Emeralds, on the other hand, aren’t as sparkly. They have a glimmer when exposed to direct light – but it’s still somewhat subtle.
If an emerald is unusually sparkly, that’s typically a sign that the gemstone is lower quality. And for diamonds, it’s the opposite: The better the sparkle is, the more expensive the stone will be. Why?
Because with diamonds, the sparkle is a sign of exceptional clarity, good color, and a great cut.
A fantastic jeweler knows how to bring out the sparkle in diamonds, and their work is included in the price. So, if you are looking for a shiny piece of jewelry, diamonds will provide you with a far better shine than an emerald.
Here, we can even discuss brilliance, graded on an RI scale. The RI scale measures how much and how well a gem reflects light. Diamonds generally have a high refractive index (RI), with an average of 2.4. On the other hand, emeralds have an average of 1.58 on the RI scale.
A diamond with high brilliance is relatively easy to find – while emeralds with high luster are rare.
So, if you’re looking for exceptional brilliance and rarity, you might want to stick to emeralds. In short, remarkable shine and sparkle are undoubtedly more challenging to find in emeralds than in diamonds.
Diamonds are expected to be the most expensive gemstone of all – but that isn’t necessarily the case. The truth is: Diamonds can cost less than emeralds – but generally speaking, they are more expensive.
For diamonds with lower graded color and lower graded clarity, the price will be lower than that of an emerald. And yet, a pure emerald stone with the same carat weight will cost more than a poorly graded diamond any day.
Of course, that is provided that the emerald in question is of high quality – very heavily included emeralds don’t stand a chance compared to diamonds. Emeralds with numerous or large inclusions are generally cheaper because they are more brittle and, therefore, more prone to breaking or shattering.
So, it’s safe to say that price depends on the quality in both cases. Still, the costs can be pretty similar for both diamonds and emeralds. Diamonds are generally more in-demand, but the rarity of emerald is what gives this green gem its relatively high price.
Out of all gemstones in the world, emeralds are the rarest, making their price that much higher. Emeralds are hard to find out in nature, by the way. Colombia provides the world with the most emeralds out of all countries: More than half of the world’s emeralds are mined in Colombia every year.
Make no mistake about it, though – diamonds are generally more expensive. They are always sought after, making the centerpiece on almost all engagement rings out there.
Are Emeralds More Valuable Because Of Their Rarity?
It can be almost impossible to say with certainty what gemstone is more valuable than the other. Diamonds and emeralds are mainly used for extravagant jewelry and similar purposes.
Now, many gemstone fans will argue that diamonds are more valuable than emeralds – but that doesn’t have to be true. It all comes down to personal preferences rather than anything else.
If we equate value to the price of each gem, then it’s safe to conclude that diamonds are more expensive. But their retail prices aside, both diamonds and emeralds are incredibly valuable in their own ways.
Inclusions are another aspect where emeralds and diamonds are not the same. Diamonds and emeralds are entirely different when it comes to inclusions. And for those who don’t know what inclusions are, they are tiny imperfections, cuts, and natural defects found in gemstones.
They can look like chippings, cloudy parts in the gem, or dark stains that came to be because of the low-quality cut and shape. Emeralds have more inclusions in general, and it’s practically impossible to find an emerald that isn’t heavily included. Many of those defects can be seen with a naked eye – but they aren’t a big deal in emeralds the way they are in diamonds.
It’s genuinely not as important if the emerald has some stains and cloudiness because the deep green color hides the defects. On the other hand, the transparent nature of diamonds can show precisely how included a particular stone is.
The inclusions don’t matter as much on emeralds – but nobody wants to buy a diamond with plenty of defects that would cloud its sparkle.
Diamonds with fewer inclusions have higher value, and they are almost always more in demand than heavily included diamonds. It’s so important for diamonds to be as clear and close to perfection as possible that there is an actual grading system for the number of inclusions.
On the other hand, many people prefer emeralds with inclusions and cloudiness – or, in simple terms, imperfect emeralds. The belief is that the flawed emeralds are unique – unlike any other emerald.
Because of that, the lower clarity of the emerald doesn’t mean that the emerald isn’t valuable – quite the contrary. Often, heavily included emeralds are more expensive.
The way these two gemstones came to existence is different, so they reflect light differently and have contrasting colors. Carbon atoms start to crystalize under extreme heat and pressure and thus create diamonds as we know them. Essentially speaking, diamonds are made of carbon – while emeralds come from a mineral called beryl.
And because of their different compositions, they have a variance in hardness, too. The variance isn’t enormous: On the Mohs scale, the emerald has a 7.5 – while diamonds are consistently ranked a 10. That isn’t too far off, but diamonds are notably harder than emeralds.
This information may put some people off emeralds – but that shouldn’t be the case. Emeralds are very resilient, and they aren’t prone to fissures and breaks despite being less hard than an average diamond.
Of course, this does mean that jewelers need to pay extra attention when designing the shape of an emerald. Any jeweler will prefer to cut as little as possible into an emerald gem to prevent potential breaks.
That is precisely how the emerald shape came to be – it was explicitly designed for emeralds as a way to shape the gem without cutting into it too much. The emerald shape is used globally for all kinds of gemstones – not just emeralds.
However, for shaping emeralds, even the expert jewelers will find it tough to shape the gem into something specific and more complicated than the emerald shape. Emeralds are, as we’ve mentioned, rarely found in nature, and therefore, jewelers prefer to take special care when cutting into them.
No jeweler or designer would like to ruin an exquisite emerald because they tried to make it into a complicated shape. It’s better to stick to classic silhouettes here. That’s why some people prefer diamonds, which you can find in virtually any shape you’d like – especially those shapes that give the best sparkle.
Related Read: Which Diamond Cut Sparkles The Most?
What Is A Better Choice – Diamonds Or Emeralds?
Deciding what a better choice for you is depends on the occasion and preference. Diamonds and emeralds need a suitable event – and the right outfit – to be showcased in their full glory.
Like engagement rings, diamonds and emeralds are fantastic presents for your significant other. However, it’s crucial to remember that there is the right time to wear diamonds and the right time to wear emeralds:
For day events, diamonds are always a better choice. They don’t steal attention from your attire, and since they’re colorless, they’ll sparkle under the daylight just enough to complete your outfit.
On the other hand, emeralds are the perfect gem to wear during the evening. Emeralds can be far too colorful for day events, as their vivid color is bound to attract attention.
If you’re looking for a gem that will look perfect for daytime wear, stick to diamonds. The trick is to find a diamond that is beautiful but subtle. Huge rocks on engagement rings might give a wrong impression. Small, discreet diamonds are the key to a perfect, professional look for work events.
If all that doesn’t help you decide what the better choice for you is, go with diamonds. Diamonds are more flexible when it comes to daily wear and fancier events, and they will likely never look “out of place.”
A diamond’s lack of color goes well with any outfit. The vivid green of an emerald, though, only complements some colors – limiting the wearer to specific colors and looks.
Or, consider this: If you cannot seem to decide on either, why not combine both? You can use an emerald for the center stone and place smaller diamonds around it.
The bottom line is – it can be genuinely challenging to choose between diamonds and emeralds. They are quite different, despite both being rare and valuable gemstones.
Diamonds are harder on the Mohs scale – but emeralds can have more inclusions and defects without losing value. In that sense, diamonds are “more perfect,” but the imperfect nature of an emerald is what makes them unique.
As for the usefulness of said gemstones, diamonds indeed take the lead, as they are suitable for every occasion. However, if you want a particular gem piece to wear on special occasions, the emerald will be a perfect choice!