Green Sapphire vs Emerald: Which is Better?

Green Sapphire vs Emerald: Which is Better?

Are you having trouble deciding between an emerald and a green sapphire?

Welcome to the ideal destination. Within this comprehensive Twirl Weddings educational handbook, we shall explore and provide insights into the inquiries encompassing emeralds and sapphires of a verdant hue:

  • Are emeralds suitable for daily wear?
  • Do green sapphires cost a lot?
  • Where is emerald mining done?

Differences between Emeralds and Green Sapphire

  • Green sapphire is not as well-known as emerald, which is in high demand.
  • Evaluating the green sapphire quality is simple, but assessing emerald quality is more complex.
  • Untreated green sapphires are frequently found, while untreated emeralds are rare.
  • The clarity of green sapphire stones should be high, while emerald clarity is less critical to its quality.

Origin – Emerald vs. Green Sapphire

Although both emerald and green sapphire are shades of green, there are significant differences between the two stones.


Emeralds, one of the four precious gemstones in the jewelry industry, are recognized as the May birthstone. Along with rubies, sapphires, and diamonds, emeralds are considered a precious gemstone, while all other gemstones are deemed semi-precious.

Gem-Quality Rough Emerald

Emeralds are a striking green variation of beryl mineral, which is also responsible for the creation of aquamarine and morganite jewelry. While these green gemstones can be discovered in several locations worldwide, some sources are more prominent than others.

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In ancient times, the first emeralds were sourced from Egyptian mines. However, they were typically opaque and lacked the translucency and transparency that are attainable today. As a result, they were marketed as beads, decorative sculptures, or cabochons.

Nowadays, only a few emeralds are mined from Egypt. After the Colombian emerald mines were discovered, it spelled the end for Egypt’s emerald production. The most prominent emerald deposits can be found in Colombia, Afghanistan, Brazil, Zambia, and Ethiopia.

Green Sapphire

You’ve likely heard of blue sapphire and possibly pink and white sapphire too. While sapphires come in a range of colors, these three hues are the most common in jewelry stores.


Green sapphire is not as prevalent as other sapphire colors. Similar to all sapphires, green sapphires originate from the corundum mineral. All sapphire colors come from the corundum family, including the July birthstone, ruby, which is not referred to as a “red sapphire.”

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Blue sapphires can be found in numerous locations globally, while green sapphires are more restricted. Green sapphires with diverse hues can be found in the United States (Montana), Sri Lanka, Tanzania, and Australia.


Green sapphires and emeralds both have the potential to display pure green tones, although they often have additional secondary hues. Let’s examine the distinguishing visual characteristics between these two stunning green gemstones.


When it comes to emeralds, many opaque-looking natural emeralds are mistakenly sold by jewelers like Kay’s at exorbitant prices just because they are natural. However, these low-quality gemstones are not sought after in the jewelry market. High-quality emeralds are transparent, although translucent emeralds can also command higher prices.

Opaque to Translucent Emerald $590


Transparent Emerald $20,000


In addition to their clarity, emeralds are prized for their particular hues and intensity. The most sought-after emeralds possess a green tone that is medium to dark in shade. The green color in emeralds is derived from the presence of chromium and/or vanadium impurities within colorless beryl formations deep beneath the earth’s surface.

However, truly pure green emeralds are quite rare. The majority of emeralds contain secondary hues of either blue or yellow. For example, Colombian emeralds often exhibit greenish-blue secondary hues, while emeralds from the Panjshir mines in Afghanistan tend to possess yellowish-green secondary hues.


Imitations and Synthetics

Although emeralds are a type of green-colored beryl, they are distinct from green beryl itself. Unfortunately, some unscrupulous sellers in the market try to pass off green beryl as “light green emeralds” to unsuspecting buyers. This is misleading, as the light green color of green beryl is derived from the presence of iron within colorless beryl, whereas emeralds get their distinct shades from the presence of chromium and vanadium.

Green Beryl


Natural Emerald


Unfortunately, new buyers may not be aware of this difference and might be swayed by an attractive deal on what they think is an emerald. In addition to green beryl, there are other green gems and materials that may be used to deceive buyers looking for emeralds. Some examples include green garnets, green sapphires, epidote, and other similarly colored stones.

However, the most common substitutes for emeralds are faceted green glass or green cubic zirconia. As one of the most coveted gemstones in the world, emeralds are often targeted by fraudsters and imitation makers in smaller markets outside of typical retail jewelry stores.

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While other green gemstones may not typically be sold as emeralds in chain jewelry stores, you may encounter a significant number of synthetic emeralds. These are real emeralds that are produced in a controlled environment rather than forming naturally within the earth. Synthetic emeralds possess all of the same qualities and properties as natural emeralds, but their price and value differ significantly.

Green Glass, the most common emerald imitation material

Emeralds are one of the few gemstones that undergo a range of treatments to enhance their color and clarity. Although some of these treatments are normal and acceptable, they can decrease the value and price of the stone to some extent. Other treatments may have a more significant impact on price and value. However, we’ll delve into these treatments later.

Natural Emerald
Lab Grown Emerald

It is crucial to obtain a legitimate gemstone laboratory certificate verifying that a green stone is untreated before purchasing an untreated emerald. High-quality untreated emeralds are extremely rare. Additionally, emerald treatments are often challenging to detect, even for experienced jewelry associates and consumers.

Green Sapphires

The corundum mineral family also includes the green variety, which can come in a range of green hues. In contrast to emeralds, light green and bright green sapphire engagement rings are the most valuable. While a deep green sapphire ring is beautiful, it is not as desired.


Like emeralds, green sapphires can exhibit secondary hues. Teal sapphires are one of the most popular trends in sapphire jewelry, characterized by bright bluish-green hues often found in Montana. In addition to blue-green shades, green sapphires can have yellow-green hues or even soft seafoam-green hues akin to green beryl.



Green sapphires, although not as well-known, possess a brilliance that is absent in emeralds. The combination of white light with the stunning green color of sapphire is truly mesmerizing, and these stones are quite rare.

Imitations and Synthetics

Compared to natural emeralds, the demand for natural green sapphires is relatively lower. When people search for sapphires, they are usually seeking a pure velvety blue stone, rather than the various fancy colored sapphires available.

READ MORE: Peridot vs. Emerald

Price and Value – Emerald vs. Green Sapphire


The price difference between green sapphires and emeralds is significant. Although gem-quality green sapphires are rare, they are not in high demand, and many people are unaware of their existence. Consequently, the price per carat weight is relatively low.

In contrast, emerald rings and fine jewelry are highly sought after, with diamonds, emeralds, sapphires, and high-quality rubies being the most desirable gemstones for engagement rings or jewelry pieces. The high demand for emeralds drives up their cost, making them much more expensive than even the highest quality green sapphires.


Green Sapphire Price per Carat

The quality of a gemstone is a determining factor in its price per carat weight. For colored stones like green sapphire, clarity and color are often prioritized. Higher quality green sapphires should have excellent clarity, with no visible inclusions to the naked eye. If the stone has visible inclusions, it can decrease the value and price.

Prices for untreated, natural green sapphires can range from $100 to $1500 per carat. As the carat weight of a green sapphire engagement ring increases, so does the price. For instance, a 3-carat unheated sapphire with yellow-green hues from The Natural Sapphire Company is priced at around $4300.

Emerald Price per Carat

Assessing the quality of a natural emerald is a complex process that impacts its per-carat price. Unlike sapphires, natural emeralds are not considered low-quality if they have noticeable inclusions. In fact, emeralds free of natural inclusions are rare and cost much more.

The biggest factors that affect emerald price are transparency and color, followed by carat weight and clarity. Inclusions found in emeralds are often viewed as an aesthetic attribute, referred to as “jardin.” These inclusions can look like vines throughout the stone, hence the French word for “garden.” Therefore, clarity is not a significant factor in the price of an emerald engagement ring.

The price range for a 1-carat emerald varies based on its quality. While some 1-carat natural emeralds can be found for as low as $400 per carat, such stones are likely more translucent than transparent. It’s crucial to buy natural emeralds with certificates indicating whether they have undergone any treatment, as many emeralds are subject to treatments that can enhance color and clarity.

Oiling is one of the most common treatments, but it is not permanent and must be re-applied by a jeweler. Therefore, untreated emeralds are much more expensive, particularly if they have top color.

For instance, a .95-carat emerald that has been subjected to heat treatment but not oiling can still cost around $12,000. This eye-clean 2.68-carat Asscher emerald from 1st Dibs has standard mild clarity enhancements and costs around $22,000.

2.68 carat Asscher Emerald



The value of diamonds and gemstones is not solely determined by their resale price. Gemstones are not a good investment unless they are of high quality with vibrant colors, such as the finest quality rubies, sapphires, or emeralds.

While diamonds are the traditional choice for engagement rings, many people prefer colored gemstones. However, if you choose a colored gemstone for your engagement ring, you should ensure that it is durable enough to withstand daily wear and tear.


Green Sapphire

Gemologists use the Mohs scale to determine the scratch resistance of a mineral, which is a way to measure how well a gem worn daily can withstand dust, dirt, and other particles in the air. This is important to consider because even standard rings are exposed to these particles regardless of your lifestyle. If your gemstone is too soft and not properly cleaned, you risk scratching it while wiping it.

Thankfully, green sapphire engagement rings are highly durable due to their high hardness. Sapphire is known for its wearability and ranks a 9 on the Mohs scale, just below diamonds at 10. However, durability is not solely based on scratch resistance, and green sapphires excel in all aspects of wearability.

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In comparison to green sapphires, emerald engagement rings have lower wearability and need more care and attention if worn regularly. The Mohs hardness scale rates emeralds at 7.5-8, making them less scratch-resistant than sapphires. Given that diamonds are four times harder than sapphires, one can assume that emeralds are four times less hard than sapphires, given their hardness rating of 8.

mohs hardness scale

Moreover, emeralds often have inclusions, making them more susceptible to chipping if accidentally struck. Additionally, many emeralds have undergone treatments that cannot withstand high temperatures or intense light. Therefore, wearing an emerald engagement ring outdoors in summer may not be ideal.

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Although emeralds can be worn daily, they require more care and attention than green sapphires.


Both emeralds and green sapphires are stunning green gemstones that can make a great addition to your jewelry collection. However, despite sharing the same color, there are distinct quality standards for each of these stones. Emeralds are valued primarily for their medium tone deep green color, while green sapphires come in a variety of hues and tones that are all desirable.

Hopefully, this guide has provided useful information for those looking to compare and contrast green sapphires and emeralds.

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