Finding the Most Expensive Emerald: A List of the Top 10


Top-10-Most-Expensive-Emeralds

Gemstones have captivated people since ancient times, and emeralds are no exception. One of the oldest emerald mines in the world, located in Egypt, was built more than 3,500 years ago! But not all emeralds are created equally, and some are worth millions.

The most expensive emerald in the world is the Bahia Emerald, which has an estimated worth of about $400 million. This massive rock weighs more than 700lbs and consists of 180,000 carats. Still, some may argue that this uncut hunk of emerald crystals is simply the largest mass of emerald shards.

This ranking will offer some helpful insight if you’d like to learn about the priciest emeralds and emerald jewelry pieces. So, whether you’re in the market for a top-tier emerald or you’re simply curious, we’ve got the scoop!

Here Are the Top 10 Most Expensive Emeralds in the World:

  1. The Bahia Emerald – $400 million
  2. Cartier Emerald and Diamond Necklace – $9.914 million
  3. Elizabeth Taylor’s Bulgari Emerald Brooch – $6.578 million
  4. House of Boghossian Necklace – $5.96 million
  5. The Rockefeller Emerald – $5.511 million
  6. Emerald and Diamond Ring – $4.645 million
  7. Emerald and Diamond Earrings – $4.449 million
  8. Emerald and Diamond Brooch – $4.425 million
  9. Grand Duchess Vladimir of Russia Emerald Necklace – $4.303 million
  10. Art Deco Emerald and Diamond Necklace – $4.194 million

10. Art Deco Emerald and Diamond Necklace – $4.194 Million

Art-Deco-Emerald-and-Diamond-Necklace
photo source: Christie’s

The Art Deco movement hit its peak during the 1920s and absorbed nearly every aspect of modern design, from buildings to jewelry. The Art Deco Emerald and Diamond Necklace, crafted in 1929, is a fantastic display of this design.

This necklace features diamonds and emeralds set into a chain-like platinum necklace that hugs tight to the wearer’s throat before forming a small drop-down against the back of the neck. This piece sold for $4.194 million in 2013, and its age and luxury are only part of the reason it’s so valuable.

Why It’s Expensive

The platinum, diamonds, and emeralds alone would be enough to make this necklace a valuable investment. But this particular piece also belonged to royalty—Princess Faiza, an Egyptian princess born in 1923.

Because this necklace is an antique that could be considered a lost crown jewel, it’s sure to fetch a much higher price than other emerald necklaces.

9. Grand Duchess Vladimir of Russia Emerald Necklace – $4.303 Million

Grand-Duchess-Vladimir-of-Russia-Emerald-Necklace
photo source: Christie’s

The most beautiful jewelry is often subtle, allowing the precious materials and craftsmanship to speak for themselves. This piece, the Grand Duchess Vladimir of Russia Emerald Necklace, adheres to that trend, with a simple platinum and gold band leading to a staggeringly large and sparkling green emerald.

This emerald pendant is sizeable, weighing 75.61 carats, and it’s encircled by multi-size high-quality diamonds. When this necklace went to auction in 2019, it sold for $4.303 million, but like the Art Deco Emerald and Diamond Necklace, its value isn’t only the result of its precious materials.

Why It’s Expensive

This necklace once belonged to Catherine the Great, one of the most significant historical figures of the last millennium. It then passed through multiple Russian royal hands, eventually becoming the property of American entrepreneur John D. Rockefeller, Jr.

Consequently, this necklace’s history is just as valuable as its precious stones and platinum setting.

8. Emerald and Diamond Brooch – $4.425 Million

Emerald-and-Diamond-Brooch
photo source: Christie’s

A fancy brooch can make a statement, but this emerald and diamond brooch only says one thing—Wealth!

This brooch has it all: multiple emeralds, several diamonds, pearls, white and yellow gold, and a honey-colored diamond that sits like a crown above the other jewels. But the focal point, a superb 378.22-carat emerald with minimal flaws, might be one of the most significant reasons this brooch sold for $4.425 million in 2008.

Why It’s Expensive

As soon as you set eyes on this brooch, it becomes evident why it’s worth millions. How could it not be, decked out in diamonds, pearls, and emeralds? In short, this piece’s excessive amount of precious materials is why it fetched such a jaw-dropping sales price.

7. Emerald and Diamond Earrings – $4.449 Million

Emerald-and-Diamond-Earrings
photo source: Christie’s

The best way to accentuate your emerald rings, necklaces, and brooches is to wear a dazzling pair of emerald earrings. But these diamond and pearl earrings might be the most expensive in the world, selling for $4.449 million in 2019.

The two pear-cut emeralds dangle beneath twin white pearls, and the iridescent cushion-cut diamonds above those pearls shimmer brilliantly.

The emeralds themselves are exceptionally clear and the ideal shade of green. They’re also heftier than the average cut emeralds, weighing more than 46 carats.

Why It’s Expensive

Quality is the main reason these earrings sold for millions. The emeralds, the true star of the show, exhibit an unusually high level of clarity and are the perfect shade of green.

6. Emerald and Diamond Ring – $4.645 Million

Emerald-and-Diamond-Ring
photo source: Sotheby’s

At first glance, you might not even realize that this elegant emerald ring contains diamonds. The emerald-cut stone set inside the 18-karat gold band is so hypnotic it’s challenging to take your eyes off it!

No wonder this ring sold for $4.645 million when it went to auction in 2013.

Why It’s Expensive

Most emerald rings feature dark green stones that weigh less than 5 carats. These pieces easily sell for thousands. But this ring’s centerpiece is a whopping 61.35-carat stone that easily puts other emeralds to shame.

Of course, the diamonds and gold setting only increase this ring’s overall value!

5. The Rockefeller Emerald – $5.511 Million

The-Rockefeller-Emerald
photo source: Christie’s

Though the Rockefeller family’s wealth peaked during the early 1900s (before the Great Depression), they remain one of the most well-respected and affluent American families. But several of the family’s most valuable items, including certain jewelry pieces, have now traded hands.

One of the most stunning of these pieces is the Rockefeller Emerald, a platinum ring featuring a blue-green 18-carat emerald.

Even though this emerald is the ideal hue, its history and size make it a desirable investment. This emerald ring sold for $5.511 million in 2017, though it will likely sell for a much higher price in the future.

Why It’s Expensive

Owning a piece of Rockefeller family history is a rare treat. But owning a precious stone that once belonged to this family is even better, which is why this emerald ring is so valuable to investors and collectors.

4. House of Boghossian Necklace – $5.96 Million

House-of-Boghossian-Necklace
photo source: Christie’s

This necklace resembles a Roman emperor’s leafy crown. But instead of bright green leaves, it’s covered in brilliant green emeralds and accentuated by glittering diamonds.

Created by Edmond Chin, one of the world’s most respected jewelry designers, this distinctly royal necklace was a gift for the House of Boghossian, a family that’s crafted world-class jewelry pieces for generations.

The multi-size emeralds set into this gold necklace might not be perfect, but that didn’t stop this piece from selling for $5.96 million in 2017.

Why It’s Expensive

This necklace’s multi-million-dollar auction price is the culmination of its precious materials, unique design, and superior quality. Even though the stones set into this piece have some small flaws, the piece remains a stunning masterpiece of craftsmanship.

3. Elizabeth Taylor’s Bulgari Emerald Brooch – $6.578 Million

Elizabeth-Taylor's-Bulgari-Emerald-Brooch
photo source: Christie’s

Elizabeth Taylor’s jewelry collection (when it was still intact) was one of the most valuable on the planet. The cumulative value of her pieces was about $115 million, making them more valuable than many of the world’s most expensive crown jewels.

In fact, Taylor even owned an Egyptian crown jewel!

Still, one of the highlights of the late actress’s collection was a Bulgari (also stylized BVLGARI) emerald brooch, which sold for $6.578 million at a Christie’s auction in 2011. Crowned by a dazzling ray of sparkling diamonds, the true star is the platinum-mounted rectangular-cut emerald, an undeniably elegant dark green gem that instantly draws the eye.

Why It’s Expensive

This emerald and diamond brooch is expensive because of its precious materials (diamond, platinum, and a massive emerald) and because it once belonged to a celebrity—Elizabeth Taylor.

The fact that it’s a Bulgari piece also contributes to its value. Like Cartier jewelry, Bulgari jewelry tends to sell for incredible prices thanks to its stellar brand reputation.

2. Cartier Emerald and Diamond Necklace – $9.914 Million

Cartier-Emerald-and-Diamond-Necklace
photo source: Christie’s

If you’re familiar with expensive jewelry, you likely know that Cartier makes several of the costliest pieces. This brand has been crafting unique, high-value jewelry for over a century!

The Cartier Emerald and Diamond Necklace that sold at auction for $9.914 million in 2013 is one of the most opulent pieces ever released by the brand, and it’s also an antique. Initially created in 1937, this necklace contains a dozen cut and polished emeralds (weighing a total of 108.74 carats) and several splendid round-cut diamonds.

Why It’s Expensive

There are quite a few reasons why this necklace sold for almost $10 million. Firstly, it’s a Cartier item.

Because Cartier is internationally recognized as one of the leading luxury jewelry makers, it can sell its products for much higher prices than other lesser-known brands.

But it’s impossible to ignore the fact that this piece is also chock-full of precious stones, including emeralds and diamonds. These jewels are set in luminous yellow gold, one of the most valuable precious metals on the planet.

So, even if you took this necklace apart (but why would you!), it would be worth a small fortune based on materials alone.

1. The Bahia Emerald – $400 Million

The-Bahia-Emerald
photo source: Wikimedia Commons

The most expensive emerald in the world is the Bahia Emerald, which has an estimated value of $400 million.

Now, this choice may be controversial for some readers. After all, this emerald is actually several emeralds fused together to form a gigantic 725-lb (328.85 kilograms) emerald rock.

This massive collection of emerald pillars (also called shards) is also highly controversial in terms of its legality. Originally mined in Bahia, Brazil, it’s uncertain whether this emerald was legally transported to the United States (its current location).

While the Brazilian government continues to petition for the return of this gigantic emerald, its eventual fate remains unclear. Still, if the legal battles fought over this stone ever end, the Bahia Emerald is sure to either end up in a museum or as part of a wealthy investor’s collection.

Why It’s Expensive

Size is the primary reason this emerald is worth hundreds of millions of dollars. It’s not every day that you find an emerald that weighs nearly half a metric ton, so this enormous gem is an exceptionally rare find.

The legal battles fought over this stone may also impact its value. Several people have claimed ownership of the Bahia Emerald, generating plenty of interest among the world’s most affluent investors.

What Makes Some Emeralds So Expensive?

Like other jewels, emeralds are some of the most expensive birthstones money can buy. That said, some emeralds are pricier than others!

For example, a loose one-carat emerald can cost as little as $300, but it can also cost well over $3,000! The price difference generally comes down to the following:

  • Size
  • Cut
  • Quality
  • Supply and demand
  • Additional precious materials

Let’s explore these factors in more detail to discover why some emeralds are worth millions while others can retail for a few hundred bucks.

Size

The larger the gemstone, the greater the price! After all, finding high-quality gemstones that also happen to be quite large (more than a few carats in weight) is exceptionally rare.

These larger jewels are often fashioned into sizeable cut stones, resulting in eye-catching jewelry pieces that are equally impressive and valuable. The Cartier Emerald and Diamond Necklace is a wonderful example, containing over 100 carats of top-tier emeralds.

Cut

Just like the most expensive diamond cuts, the way a jeweler chooses to shape a raw diamond significantly impacts its final value. For example, cushion-cut or emerald-cut stones can outsell smaller round-cut ones, as these cuts typically allow larger emeralds to remain intact.

In short, cuts that help increase an emerald’s size or weight (measured in carats) can impact value. Of course, an emerald’s cut isn’t quite as influential (in terms of price) as its quality.

Quality

Generally, the most prized emeralds are those that have darker, more intense tones. These emeralds also tend to have a distinct yellow-green coloration and few internal “breaks” or fractures.

Hue is also a significant quality indicator for other gemstones, including the most expensive sapphires.

Clarity is also key when judging an emerald’s quality. If an emerald is slightly opaque, it likely won’t sell for the same price as a fully transparent emerald.

Size, clarity, and color are vital to judging the quality of emeralds, diamonds, and other precious stones. Notably, the primary reason why these stones are considered “precious” is that they’re far rarer than common stones like agate, flint, or limestone.

And the more scarce an item, the higher its price potential!

Supply and Demand

Emeralds take thousands of years to form, sometimes hundreds of thousands of years. They’re also located beneath the Earth’s surface, generally between 40ft (about 12 meters) and 9,800ft (about 3km).

As such, the global supply of emeralds is limited. Additionally, the labor required to mine for emeralds can quickly get pricey. This low supply and high labor cost instantly make emeralds a costly commodity.

It’s also crucial to note that emeralds are highly sought after. Emeralds are the May birthstone and are considered classically beautiful jewels associated with love, power, and wealth.

Consequently, the demand for high-quality emeralds outpaces the supply. According to the law of supply and demand, this relationship ensures that emerald prices will continue to rise over time.

The only way emeralds could become less expensive is if there was a sudden uptick in supply or a decrease in demand.

Additional Precious Materials

Many emeralds included in this ranking aren’t raw, uncut gems. Instead, they’re highly refined jewels that sit inside necklaces, rings, and brooches.

Because these gems are surrounded by precious metals and jewels (like diamonds), they’re worth far more than they would be if they were unpolished and uncut. After all, gold, platinum, and other gemstones command high prices, so adding emeralds to these materials results in a high-value item that’s bound to attract wealthy buyers and investors.

The primary exception to this trend is the Bahia Emerald, a staggeringly large mass of uncut, unpolished emerald shards. Though this rock doesn’t feature additional precious materials, it’s worth millions due to its size and rarity.

What’s the Most Expensive Emerald in the World?

The most expensive emerald in the world is the massive Bahia Emerald, a 725-lb slab of stone from Brazil. This is technically a collection of emerald crystals fused in huge, pillar-like shards. However, it’s one of the world’s largest and most valuable emerald objects, valued at about $400 million.

Although FM Holdings, LLC currently owns the Bahia Emerald, there is a movement to have it returned to Brazil. For the time being, this unique and controversial emerald will remain under lock and key.

Check out these related articles to learn more about the most expensive natural wonders!

Eric Lyons

Eric is a subject-matter expert on the world's most expensive luxuries and collectibles. He has explored thousands of luxuries and collectibles over the past few years and now brings them to readers around the world.

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