MANY people shop for emerald jewellery in May because it is this month’s official gemstone and makes a fantastic gift for spring birthdays and other occasions.
However, if you don’t know much about emeralds, buying them can feel daunting – and even more so on the internet, where you can’t actually see the jewellery until it’s delivered to you.
How to Assess an Emerald Online
So how do you know if an emerald sold online is “good” or not? How can you make sure your gift recipient will love it? Gemstone websites can often offer technical jargon that’s hard to understand and confuses you even more.
In this blog post we want to give you a different approach. Our jeweller is here to cut through the jargon and give you his 7 best online emerald buying tips. If you follow them, you’re likely to make a good purchase.
1. Know your facts – emerald quality
You should always be able to trust a reputable jeweller, whether online or on the high street. If in doubt, check your online jeweller is a British Jewellers’ Association (BJA) member and abides by their Code of Ethics.
It’s additionally good to know your emerald basics. Here’s an overview of how our in-house gemmologist assesses emeralds – by their clarity, colour, cut and carat weight.
- While colour is important, our gem expert always checks clarity first. Without clarity, a good colour on its own isn’t very valuable.
- 99% of emeralds have marks, called inclusions, trapped in the crystal. It’s very rare to find a glass-clear one. When someone does, its price quickly skyrockets.
- Very slight inclusions in commercial grade emerald jewellery are considered normal. But they should be few and only seen if you look very close up.
- Emeralds occur naturally, so the hue, tone and saturation of their green colour can vary.
- Hue refers to the type of green color, for xample yellowy-green or blue-green.
- Tone determines whether the colour is light or dark.
- Saturation means the vividness of the green.
- These factors together decide how attractive an emerald’s colour is. So keep an open mind until you see the gem.
- A good cut optimizes an emerald’s “inner glow”.
- Since all rough emeralds have imperfections, a great cut works around those and brings out the best possible gem.
- Carat refers to how much an emerald weighs. As big, clear emeralds are hard to find, their per carat price is exponentially much higher than that of smaller stones.
2. Location, location, location
Not all gems are created equal. Most of the world’s emeralds now come from Colombia and with good reason. The country’s natural emerald deposits are the best in the world.
They produce intensely coloured, exceptionally green gems and Colombian emerald cutters have experience and skill going back through generations.
Do check your jewellery retailer abides by the British Jewellery Association (BJA) code of ethics to ensure your emerald is conflict free.
3. Avoid treated emeralds
Treatments for some gems are acceptable and sometimes even necessary. Emeralds, however, do not generally need them.
It’s always better to buy a natural emerald to get good value for money. All jewellers are supposed to disclose any treatments their gemstones have been given.
Stick to established online retailers with an industry trade association membership to make sure you’re getting trustworthy information.
4. Check customer reviews
This is a great way to find out what people who’ve already bought the product think. Find jewellery websites that offer independent reviews on each item.
If in doubt, an item that’s had a few five-star reviews from other shoppers will give you peace of mind.
5. Does your retailer offer videos of jewellery items?
Being able to watch videos of real models wearing the jewellery you’re considering buying will take you a long way.
In an online shop, videos and customer reviews are the closest you can get to a “real” jewellery store experience.
6. Is there a refund policy?
Check your online jeweller’s refund policy, taking into account that certain items may be non-returnable. Always read the product details thoroughly too, to make sure it’s what you want.
If an emerald ring cannot be returned or exchanged, do check (and double check!) the ring size before ordering.
7. Decide which metal you want
This may sound like a strange thing to say. However, the emerald’s quality and size are not the only things that will affect price! The metal makes a big difference.
Silver and 9K gold are lower priced than 18K gold. Platinum is the most expensive choice. With gems, the metal colour is also very important.
Many people say yellow gold enhances the emerald’s green colour, although this is purely down to personal taste.
7. Finally, check presentation.
There is nothing worse than having your beautiful anniversary gift ring arrive stuffed inside a plastic jiffy bag.
If the emerald jewellery you’re buying is for a special occasion, it’s worth checking that a jewellery box or gift set is included with your purchase.
A nice box won’t make the emerald more beautiful, but it will crown your important gift-giving moment. Even if the emerald jewellery is for you, it’s handy to have somewhere suitable to store it in.
To read more, visit our comprehensive EMERALD GUIDE.
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