Elizabeth Taylor’s jewelry collection is almost as legendary as the actress herself. In 2011 her emerald and diamond suite (necklace, pendant, earrings, bracelet and ring) designed by Bulgari, sold for a total of almost 25 million dollars at Christie’s Auction House.

Coloured Gems: This is Why Emeralds Are More Expensive Than Diamonds

Despite popular belief, emeralds are often more expensive than diamonds. According to Knight Frank’s 2019 Luxury Investment Index, the last decade has seen a dramatic surge in prices with a strong demand for green gemstone. Emeralds, especially rare, transparent, and vivid are becoming very desirable to gemstone fans and collectors.

Mined in areas of Zambia and Mozambique, emeralds are rare gemstones and even in established emerald mines, it can be hard to find high-quality, large gems. Emeralds vary in shade but the most sought-after and expensive emeralds are deeply coloured. Due to the rarity of this type of emerald, a high-quality gemstone can often command a higher price than a diamond.

The demand for emeralds is growing, with many buyers preferring to purchase a green-coloured gem over the traditionally prized diamond.

The CEO of Gemfields, the world leader in responsibly sourced coloured stones, Sean Gilbertson says:

“The swing toward precious coloured gemstones is overwhelming, with robust demand prompting double-digit growth in many countries. The past decade has seen the world record prices for an emerald and ruby surpass that of a colourless diamond on a per carat basis.”

CEO, Gemfields, Sean Gilbertson.
Photo by David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images for Getty Images

In 2019, coloured gemstones actually outperformed the wider jewellery market with Bonhams sale in London fetching £723,063 (around A$1.3 million) for a 17.43-carat Kashmir sapphire ring. Similarly, the Rockefeller Emerald achieved a record per-carat price of US$305,516 (AUD$393,888) in 2017. Compared to the record holder for the world’s most expensive colourless diamond, the 76.02-carat Archduke Joseph, which fetched a per-carat price of US$282,485 (approx. A$364,196), emeralds are coming out on top.

Explaining the surge in demand, Jean Ghika, global head of jewellery at Bonhams, says “The rarity factor is an undeniable pull. Potential buyers are looking to expand their collections beyond colourless diamonds. They’re keen to seek out the very best examples of highly desirable and rare specimens, whether that be Kashmir sapphires, Burma rubies or no-oil emeralds, the likes of which they may never find again.”

Courtesy of Gemfields

Due to this, emeralds and other coloured gemstones offer strong opportunities for investors.

The Emerald Worth Buying

Emerald and Diamond Drop Pendant, Blue Nile

This elegant white gold necklace from Blue Nile holds two exquisite green emeralds in a glittering circle of marquise and round brilliant diamonds.

Mesh Bib Necklace, Tiffany & Co

Designed by Elsa Peretti, this glamorous Tiffany & Co necklace is inspired by Peretti’s travels in Jaipur, India. Made of 18k gold, the mesh necklace is designed to seductively drape across the neck and showcase the vibrant tumbled emerald bead.

Cabochon Emerald Ring, Blue Nile

This Blue Nile statement ring features a sparkling collection of pear-shaped and pavé diamonds, while a pair of 18k white gold tiger prongs secure the vibrant cabochon emerald.

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