The fine emeralds of Columbia have long been the most famous in the world. However, emeralds have been mined from Columbia for hundreds of years, and many mines there no longer produce the same quality of rough emeralds as before.
Other excellent sources of rough emerald have been discovered more recently in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Russia, Zambia and North Carolina, USA.
The rough emerald mines in the Panjshir valley of Afghanistan which is known as the valley of the Five Lions are now producing some of the finest stones of any mine on earth. In fact, some emeralds from these mines are of such amazing quality, they don’t require any oils or other enhancements to mask inclusions and surface flaws.
This is a major advantage for the buyer. Many reputable emerald dealers and collectors don’t like to deal with treated emeralds because it’s difficult to tell what the stone quality is. Often the enhancements on the stone were done a long time before the dealer or collector acquired the stone. They don’t have any idea what was done to the stone. Plus, if oil is filling and hiding flaws, the stone may more fragile than it appears and not suitable for jewelry.
Afghan emerald from Panjshir valley look startlingly clean and flaw-free when examined with a 10X loupe, with bright, uniform, highly saturated color that rivals and even surpasses that of fine Columbian emerald, where many of the finest rough emeralds were mined centuries ago.
Cutting and Finishing Rough Emeralds
Rough emerald is valuable as rough gemstones go, but unless it is cut carefully and precisely into a perfect, suitable and beautiful shape much of its potential value as a polished gemstone can be lost forever through poor cutting technique. The mark of a good lapidary is to have tremendous passion and enthusiasm for crafting every rough emerald into that best, most sparkling potential form. Master cutters work tirelessly to find that perfect shape and transform it into reality.