Aria Gems’   “Panjshir Emerald Quality Guide

Aria Gems has developed a Propriety Quality Guide to assist Afghanistan’s’ artisanal miners with Quality Control for the identification, grading, sorting, and pricing of Panjshir’s high quality natural emeralds. Our guide is based on International Gemstone Guidelines , global buyer markets, master gemologists, and the International Color Association.

Price – Global Buyers will pay the top price per carat for quality of 8+ on a scale from (1 low – 10 best)

Treatment –  All Emeralds from Panjshir should NEVER be treated.  Untreated Emeralds (No Oils) command up to 50% higher prices

Step #1.  Colours – The chart below illustrates four (4) historically and globally desired emerald hues (the basic color of the gemstone) which is instrumental in determining rarity and global demand which drives price.

pic-GemVal Colour Scheme (desired)

Source: Gemval International Standards


Hue – Dictionary Definition

  1. A gradation or variety of a color; tint: pale hues
  2. The property of light by which the color of an object is classified as red, blue, green or yellow in reference to the spectrum
  3. Color: all hues of the rainbow

Tone – Dictionary Definition

  1. A quality of color with reference to the degree of absorption or reflection of light; a tint or shade; value
  2. The distinctive quality in which colors differ from one another. In addition, these differences are indicated through tint, shade, and a slight modification of any given color, including hue: green with a yellowish tone.

pic-QC A-AAA Rating July 11, 2015


iPhones and Androids are convenient, but picture quality is average and average pictures could mean average information for quality inspection and an average sales price.

The most IMPORTANT feature that needs to be addressed with Panjshir Emeralds is the clarity.  Many Panjshir Emeralds are cracked due to mining techniques costing millions of dollars in lost value.  Colour is generally good to very good, so don’t focus on the colour over the clarity.

Back-Lit Pictures – High quality pictures are critical to showing the inside of a rough gem.

Put a fluorescent light source behind your gem so that the inside is visible.  This will help analyse the clarity of the gems looking for cracks, feathers, fissures, and foreign material.  The clarity is essential to determine if a gem is high quality especially in the Americas, Europe, China and Japan.

A back-lit photo showing inclusions with "yellow arrows"

A back-lit photo showing inclusions with “yellow arrows”

Sorting your Lot of Gems

Step #1 – Host rock should be removed completely from all rough. Some slight host rock remaining like the examples below is acceptable.

Step #2.  Transparent v. Translucent – If you can see through the gem, it’s transparent.  If not, then it’s translucent.

Step #3.  Cracked & Included – Sort Included gems versus Crystals regardless of the size.  Large emeralds over 28cts that are cracked will be cut into pieces along the crack lines and generally not sold as a large gem.

Step #4. Sort by Colour – Use the colour scale above to separate your gems.

Step #5. Sort by Size.  Rough gems less than 3ct should be put aside for they’re best for beads.  Gems larger than 28ct that are not cracked/included and transparent will be sold for higher prices.

Click here to download “QC Sorting Guide”


$15M emerald ring sold at Christie’s. Colour 101.


Part of a sorted LOT = 1 kilogram = 5,000 carats.



Colour 88 and average quality 8

We hope that you enjoyed our Aria Gems Quality Control Guide.

If you any questions, please contact our VP of Quality Control, David Green at

David Green VP of Quality Control