Are Emeralds Rarer Than Diamonds?

At J.H. Young Jewellers, we pride ourselves on offering an exquisite selection of gemstones, each with its unique allure and history. Among these, emeralds and diamonds stand out for their beauty and desirability. But a question we often encounter is whether emeralds are rarer than diamonds. This blog delves into the intriguing world of these gemstones to provide a nuanced understanding of their rarity and value.

Understanding Rarity in Gemstones

Rarity in gemstones is determined by several factors, including availability, mining difficulty, and the gemstone's presence in nature. Both diamonds and emeralds have unique aspects that contribute to their rarity, but they differ significantly in how they are formed and sourced.

The Formation of Diamonds

Diamonds are formed deep within the Earth’s mantle under extreme pressure and temperature conditions before being brought to the surface through volcanic eruptions. These conditions are rare, but diamonds themselves are found in many parts of the world, making them well-known and widely available in various grades.

The Formation of Emeralds

Emeralds, part of the beryl family, owe their green color to trace amounts of chromium and sometimes vanadium. Unlike diamonds, emeralds are formed in hydrothermal veins and pegmatites, where hot water and minerals interact with host rocks. This process is less common than the conditions that form diamonds, contributing to the rarity of emeralds.

Comparing Availability

When assessing the rarity of emeralds versus diamonds, it is essential to consider the availability of quality gemstones fit for fine jewellery.

Abundance of Diamonds

While diamonds are plentiful in nature, high-quality diamonds that are clear, well-cut, and large are less common. However, the global diamond mining industry has established a steady supply, making diamonds relatively accessible compared to many colored gemstones.

Scarcity of Quality Emeralds

Emeralds are known for their enchanting green hue, but finding emeralds without inclusions (internal flaws) is extremely rare. The presence of these inclusions not only affects the clarity but also the integrity of the stone, as emeralds with fewer inclusions are less prone to breaking. The unique combination of color intensity, clarity, and size without significant inclusions makes high-quality emeralds exceedingly rare.

The Impact of Cut and Color

Both diamonds and emeralds are greatly valued for their cut and color, which significantly impact their appearance and market value.

Diamond Cuts and Brilliance

The cut of a diamond is pivotal in determining its brilliance and sparkle. A well-cut diamond will reflect light beautifully, making it appear even more luminous. Expert cutting can mask some clarity or color imperfections, enhancing the perceived quality of the diamond.

Emerald Color and Clarity

In emeralds, color is the most critical factor. The most coveted emeralds exhibit a vivid, saturated green that is evenly distributed across the stone. Unlike diamonds, where a precise cut can enhance light reflection, the cut of an emerald is often designed to maximize the intensity and distribution of its color rather than just its brilliance. This can make finding a perfectly colored and well-cut emerald an even rarer occurrence.

The Impact of Gemstone Rarity on Jewellery Design and Desirability

Rarity Driving Design Innovation

The rarity of gemstones like emeralds and diamonds often serves as a catalyst for creativity in jewellery design. Designers are inspired to create pieces that highlight the unique qualities of these gemstones, ensuring that their rarity is showcased in the most flattering and visually appealing manner.

  • Emeralds: The distinctiveness of each emerald, with its unique color variations and jardin (inclusion patterns), challenges jewellers to craft settings that enhance its natural beauty without overshadowing it. The delicate nature of high-quality emeralds often require designs that protect the stone, such as bezel settings that encompass the gem's edges or halo designs that add brilliance and support to the central stone. In comparison to diamonds, emeralds score 7.5-8 on the Mohs Hardness Scale, making emeralds less able to withstand daily wear as well as diamonds can.
  • Diamonds: The versatility and hardness of diamonds allow designers to explore a variety of cutting techniques that enhance the stone's natural brilliance and fire. The rarity of particularly flawless diamonds or those of unusual colors (such as pink or blue) can inspire designs that focus on showcasing these rare features, often leading to highly customized and intricate settings that are as unique as the stones themselves.

Desirability Through Scarcity

The rarity of a gemstone directly enhances its desirability. This desirability is not only due to the beauty of the gemstones but also because of the prestige associated with owning something rare and exceptional.

  1. Exclusivity: Owning a piece of jewellery with a rare gemstone like a high-quality emerald or a colorless, flawless diamond is often a sign of prestige. This exclusivity makes the piece not only a personal treasure but also a statement of distinction and taste.
  2. Investment Value: Gemstones that are rare, especially those that are becoming rarer due to limited supply, often hold or increase their value over time. This potential for appreciation makes diamonds and emeralds particularly appealing to those looking at jewellery not just as a form of adornment but also as a long-term investment.
  3. Cultural and Historical Significance: Both emeralds and diamonds carry with them a rich history and cultural significance that add to their allure. The story behind each piece, where the stones are sourced, the historical context of their popularity, and the famous personalities who have worn them, contribute to the mystique and desirability of these gemstones.

Rarity on the Market

The market availability of these gemstones also reflects their rarity. Diamonds, although plentiful, vary widely in quality and price, but the infrastructure for their cutting, polishing, and distribution is well-developed, supporting their accessibility.

Market Dynamics for Diamonds

Diamonds are mined in significant quantities across several continents including Africa, Australia, and Russia, which supports a robust global market. This widespread availability does not diminish the value of the finest, most flawless diamonds, which are still incredibly rare and prized.

Market Dynamics for Emeralds

Emeralds, by contrast, are mined in fewer locations. Major sources include Colombia, Brazil, and Zambia, with Colombian emeralds particularly famed for their quality. The more limited supply, combined with the challenges of finding high-quality stones, often results in higher prices and perceived rarity in the market for top-grade emeralds.

Choosing the Right Gemstone

When selecting between an emerald and a diamond, consider what qualities are most important to you:

  • Brilliance and Fire: If you desire a gemstone that will dazzle with fiery sparkle, a diamond may be the perfect choice.
  • Color and Uniqueness: If you are drawn to rich color and rarity that stands out, an emerald could be the ideal gem for your collection.


While emeralds are generally rarer than diamonds due to their natural characteristics and market availability, each gemstone holds its unique appeal. At J.H. Young Jewellers, we celebrate the beauty and distinctiveness of both, ensuring that every client finds a piece that truly speaks to them.

Visit Us

Discover our exquisite collections and learn more about what makes each gemstone special by visiting our store. Our knowledgeable staff are eager to help you find the perfect piece that not only sparkles but also resonates with your personal style and elegance.