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Colombian vs. Zambian Emerald: Which should you buy?

Emeralds are synonymous when talking about gemstones. They rank as one of the highest sought-after gem pieces among hobbyists and professional jewelers alike. In general, Emeralds are primarily sourced in Colombia and Zambia, beating Brazil, Afghanistan, China, France.

In this blog post, we list down the similarities and differences between Zambian and Colombian Emeralds. We hope that you find this useful in determining which one is right for you.

What are Emeralds?

Emeralds are gemstones classified under the Beryl mineral family. The word itself comes from 'Esmeraude', the French word for 'green gem'. It is a gemstone with vibrant natural green color. Gemstone specialists generally gauge the value of an emerald on their vibrancy, which helps differentiate high and low-quality Emeralds.

Colombian Emeralds

Colombian Emeralds are known to have one of the most vivid green colors. Colombian mines are the source of 70% of the world's emeralds with Coscuez, Chivor, and Muzo as the three primary mines. These mines are home to the purest dark green Emeralds.

Emerald fact:

'Chalk Emerald' is the most famous Emerald in the world. It weighs 37.8 carats and has a rich green color and clarity. It is one of the finest emeralds to be discovered. The Chalk Emerald was donated to the Smithsonian by Mr. and Mrs. O. Roy Chalk in 1972 and displayed in the Gem Gallery at the National Museum of Natural History.

Zambian Emeralds

The discovery of the Zambian Emerald caused a big stir within the gemstone industry. In 1976, the first mine in Zambia began operation in the Kafubu river area. Its geographical location is known rich for its gemstone. 20% of the world's emeralds are sourced in Zambia and have gained their recognition and popularity over the last decade, with the help of big companies like Gemfields and Tiffany & Co.

Zambian emeralds are more affordable than their Colombian counterparts. While Zambian emeralds have a shorter history compared to Colombian emeralds, their clarity and color are similar. Gems sourced from Zambia are also easier to cut which can affect the difference in price as compared to a Columbian Emerald.

Difference between Colombia and Zambia Emerald

Colombian Emerald

Zambian Emerald


Vivid dark green in color

Bluish-green in color

Transparency and Presence of Inclusions

Made from sedimentary rocks and has more inclusions

Cleaner, more transparent with less inclusions


The Gota de Aceite (oil drop effect) pattern is more commonly seen

Rare instances of Gota de Aceite


Difficult to cut due to its composition and color distribution.

Easier to cut.

Popularity and History

Longer mining history, a long-standing and trusted record of high quality gems. Makes up 70-90% of the world's Emeralds.

Shorter history, less popular among the public. Mining just started in 1976. 20% of the world's Emeralds.



Medium to high

In the end, both Emeralds are worth buying. However, it all depends on the qualities of the individual gemstone. High clarity Emeralds tend to increase in value over time. If your budget allows it, Colombian Emeralds would be the optimal choice. However, Zambian Emeralds also act as a great alternative. Emeralds in general are good long-term investment pieces to have.

Click here to shop our Emerald collection.

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