As one of the Big 4 Gemstones, Emeralds have been loved, desired and cherished for hundreds of years.
And as one of the most important gemstones in history, it is expected that some of the finest examples would sell for some serious money but what are the most expensive Emerald’s ever sold?
I’ve done the digging and looked through hundreds of auction results to come up with the 10 most expensive Emeralds ever sold.
Weight: 13.56 & 12.91 Carats
Sale: Christie’s, Geneva, 10th November 2015
Sale Price USD: $3.9 Million
The opening entry on the list is a pair of stunning Colombian Emerald and Diamond earrings.
It is not just the origin and size of these Emeralds that is impressive but that neither of them has been clarity enhanced, which is very rare with Natural Emeralds of this color, size and clarity.
Weight: 25.38 & 23.12 Carats
Sale: Christie’s, Hong Kong, 27th November 2011
Sale Price USD: $4.0 Million
The second pair of earrings on the list is the Stars of Colombia, which are a pair of stunning Colombian Emeralds.
What makes these Emeralds so special is that they both weigh more than 20 carats and have stunning color and clarity, neither are clarity enhanced.
Finding a near-matching pair of Emeralds like this is very rare, which is why they sold for more than $4 million.
Weight: 28.88 Carats
Sale: Christie’s, Hong Kong, 27th May 2014
Sale Price USD: $4.1 Million
The first individual stone on the list is a stunning, 28.88 carat Emerald that came from the famed Muzo region of Colombia.
Like many Emeralds from this area of Colombia, the stone has a deep, rich green color but unlike many Emeralds, it hasn’t been clarity-enhanced, which is why it sold for over $4 million.
Weight: 75.61 Carats
Sale: Christie’s, Geneva, 15th May 2019
Sale Price USD: $4.2 Million
Now this is a very impressive Emerald and one with a lot of provenance as the history of the Imperial Emerald can be traced all the way back to Catherine the Great
And it is understandable why this stunning Emerald was part of the Russian Imperial Collection for more than 100 years as the 75.61 carat Colombian Emerald possesses excellent color and clarity and has only had minor clarity enhancement.
The Imperial Emerald originally weighed over 107 carats and was a rectangular-shaped stone but it was recut into a 75.63 carat pear shape in 1954 by Cartier and was repolished in 1971 to the 75.61 carat stone that it is today.
Weight: 35.72 Carats
Sale: Sotheby’s, Hong Kong, 7th October 2014
Sale Price USD: $4.3 Million
The title for this Emerald is very apt (a name for the stone would have been nice) as this is a very rare example of a fine-quality Emerald.
As with nearly all of the fine quality Emeralds, this stone came from the famed Muzo region of Colombia but there are some things that make this Emerald truly special.
Like many other Emeralds on this list, the stone has exceptional color and fine clarity, with no evidence of clarity enhancement but when an Emerald possesses all of these traits and weighs more than 35 carats, it is indeed an impressive and very rare example.
Weight: 378.22 Carats
Sale: Christie’s, Geneva, 14th May 2008
Sale Price USD: $4.3 Million
The most extravagant piece on this list and possibly every blog post I will ever write.
Set with one of the largest Emeralds to ever be sold, weighing an incredible 378.22 carats, a yellow diamond weighing 40.43 carats and six colorless diamonds weighing over 75 carats.
The $4.3 million sale price was also a world record price, beating the previous record by over $1.5 million.
Weight: 46.52 Carats
Sale: Christie’s, Hong Kong, 28th May 2019
Sale Price USD: $4.4 Million
In May 2019, one of the finest pairs of Colombian Emerald earrings were auctioned at the Christie’s auction in Hong Kong.
Weighing in at 23.34 and 23.18 respectively, the accompanying SSEF and AGL lab reports say that both Emeralds were of Colombian origin with no enhancements.
Both earrings are set with additional matching 3.01 carat F/VS2 Cushion Cut Diamonds. While not a world record price, the $4.4 million sale price made them the most expensive Emeralds sold in 2019.
Weight: 61.35 Carats
Sale: Sotheby’s, New York, 11th December 2013
Sale Price USD: $4.6 Million
In December 2013 one of the finest large emeralds to ever come up for sale was sold at Sotheby’s in New York.
The 61 carat, modified square cut stone was set in a ring with approximately 17 carats of mixed marquise and pear cut diamonds.
The accompanying AGL report states that the emerald is of Colombian origin and only minimal clarity enhancement.
Weight: 18.04 Carats
Sale: Christie’s, New York, 20th June 2017
Sale Price USD: $5.5 Million
When the Rockefeller Emerald came to auction in 2017, many people believed that it could become the most expensive emerald ever sold but it was not to be.
The emerald was originally in a Van Cleef & Arpels brooch that was purchased by John D. Rockefeller in 1930 as a gift for his wife Abby Aldrich Rockefeller. Following her passing in 1948, Rockefeller instructed his favourite jeweller Raymond Yard to disassemble the brooch and the emeralds were distributed between their children.
It was David Rockefeller who received the 18.04 carat Colombian emerald and he entrusted Yard to mount the stunning gemstone in a platinum ring with diamonds. The emerald was assessed by the American Gemological Laboratories who said:
‘the opinion of the Laboratory that the origin of this emerald would be classified as Classic Colombia, clarity enhancement: none; also stating that ‘the unusual combination of size, provenance, absence of treatment and quality factors present in this material contributes favorably to its rarity and desirability’
Weight: 23.46 Carats
Sale: Christie’s, New York, 13th December 2011
Sale Price USD: $6.5 Million
Sale Price GBP: £4.2 Million
The most expensive emerald ever sold was part of the Elizabeth Taylor collection that went on sale in December 2011 and created a lot of excitement in the world of luxury jewelry.
It was the emerald set by famous jewelry house Bvlgari that was one of the stars of the show and it was the brooch that became a record breaker.
Set with a 23.46 carat Colombian emerald with minimal enhancement and twelve pear cut diamonds in platinum.
The stunning craftsmanship of this piece meant that it could be worn as a brooch or as a pendant on the matching emerald and diamond necklace. It will take a very special stone to beat this as the world’s most expensive emerald.
I hope that you have enjoyed reading through this list of the World’s Most Expensive Emeralds as it was a lot of fun making it.
But even though every Emerald on this list is an extremely rare and fine example, they do not achieve the same level of prices as the other big four gemstones.
To ensure the prices in this list were as accurate as possible, they were calculated using the historical exchange rate tool on xe.com from the sale price that was found on the websites of the respective auction houses. We would like to thank Sotheby’s and Christie’s for the images that we used in this post.
If you would like to see more of the World’s Most Expensive Gemstones, then please click on one of the links below: