Emerald and oil at WildFish and on photo
This section in our inventory was long empty while we struggled to a) find emerald that was un-oiled and b) convince the gem testing laboratories that such exists.
Neither has become easier but we have eased our rules and the laboratories actually have begun to look harder at what is a treatment and what is residue of the faceting process.
First, let’s introduce emerald, as far as one of the most famous gem varieties in the world needs introduction. Cleopatra was not the first fan of this type of green beryl and its outstanding color, thanks to chromium and vanadium, two impurities that also bless many other gems with the best of their hues.
Emerald is a sibling to many other well known gems of the beryl clan, in particularly aquamarine, heliodor, morganite and many others that might gain more traction as the internet and the lack of untreated material widens the search of collectors and jewelry lovers.
Despite their public fame, emeralds have a bad reputation amongst photographers, who always suffer when chromium is on board.
Even the very best, most expensive specimens do rarely provide the same visual thrill as well photographed sapphires or garnets. Radical photo-shopping results in almost comically artificial images.
Inclusions are practically unavoidable in emeralds. The best are ‘eye-clean’ or ‘lightly included’, which still leaves visible inclusions in fully magnified images. If you come across an emerald with zero inclusions that does not cost your shirt, it is too good to be true.
Only the very finest specimens are ‘free of inclusions’ under the 10fold lens but do not count on seeing such a deity often. Most emerald, even good ones, are ‘moderately included’, meaning inclusions are visible to the eye, and in-your-face on any honest photo. ‘Acceptance’ is here the word and collectors have made a virtue out of necessity by judging the charm of such inclusions and calling them by a foreign name. French always provides rich pickings for beautiful names and thus inclusions in emeralds are called ‘jardins’. (And, yes, they can be beautiful, but that is also true for sapphires or rubies only there they are called ‘inclusions’.)
In emerald, one inclusion is not like the next. The more pleasant, or the less unpleasant, the inclusions are, the more likely will they be considered a ‘jardin’ and have little effect on pricing.
If, however, you find worm-shaped beasts climbing through grand-canyon-cracks, the price must come down. In my honest opinion, such unpleasant inclusions should not be visible to the unaided eye, meaning without lens. Budget and your personal taste will guide you. This is no rocket science. Decide what you can live with.
Another line is drawn between ‘transparent’ and ‘translucent’, or ‘facet-quality’ and ‘cabochon-quality’. A transparent emerald has at least some brilliancy, while translucent or opaque material has almost none and offers ‘only’ color. This may be the most beautiful vivid green and is a valid option but you’ve moved into a different price-range.
How to distinguish the one from the other? Check the lab report. There it must say: ‘One transparent green gemstone...’ or such, as opposed to ‘one translucent …’.
If no report is provided ask yourself: Could one see through this gem? The answer separates one world from the other. No light passes through an opaque gem. A translucent gem allows shades of light and dark. to pass through. But only in a transparent stone rays of light get in and out again, producing luster if the cut allows it.
Fine emerald is vivid green or bluish green; not yellowish green, and that must clearly show on photo. High chromium content blurs green, especially against a darker background and that is good! A fuzzy explosion of green is one of the easier shots to make from a good emerald (similar to the fiery balls good rubies make in near darkness). Yet, such an image is not enough. Our images provide you with a gem’s internal structure, its inclusions, its crystal and cutting.
Some brighter green beryl may not be classified as emerald but can be charmingly pretty. The gem labs vary in their verdicts. A light tone should buy you more clarity on the same budget. In the opposite direction emeralds can go far into Medium Dark 80 and still be primarily posh green, not eye-catching neon anymore but serenely dark jungle green.
With one of the lowest density amongst all gem varieties, emeralds make a full splash with few carats. Hence you may easily sacrifice size for quality. Thanks to their intense colors they can be cut flatter than other gems and present an even bigger face. A good carat of emerald can fill a big gent’s ring. Our Sandawana emerald's are especially famous for holding their color like their big brothers and sisters even in as little as 0.02 carat (or two points).
Classic ‘emerald-cuts’ have few facets, meaning they are not designed to sparkle but meant to show color, color and then color. If you want vivid neon green AND adamantine luster, consider tsavorite or demantoid. The best transparent emeralds will glow and blink but they will NOT disperse light into a rainbow of sparks like sphene or diamonds do. Consider luster in an emerald a high-end feature.
As this page shows, we have gathered a world-class inventory of Sandawana emeralds and single un-oiled specimens from around the world with ‘free of treatment’ reports from GRS, AGL, DSEF, IGI and some others.
Amongst our Sandawana’s around 5% have lab report stating un-oiled, the others have only colorless surface oil, which we have begun to accept in 2015.
In this category, and only here, you will find gems with clarity enhancements; not resin fillings, not re-constituted beryl rubble with green coloring, not glued together fragments, and not green fillings nor whatever other tricks lurk out there, but only colorless oil.
Why? Because unoiled emeralds are so rare that we basically had excluded ourselves (and our customers) from these wonderful gems and I could not endure it any longer. Furthermore, we found that some labs attested ‘minor oil’ onto every emerald, even if we were 100% sure they had not seen any oil from afar since they had been mined.
The rare no-oil emerald is still the most desirable and we will continue our quest to find them. However, we hope the puritans amongst our friends understand this decision.
You will find our oiled emeralds dramatically price competitive, while, as all untreated gems, unoiled emeralds demand a bonus and nevertheless sell faster than we can find them.
Take a look around and snatch one of our fine Sandawana emeralds while they are available at this cut-throat-rate.