Emerald vs Sapphire: Which is Better?

Emeralds and Sapphire are high on the list of precious gemstones. This can make it quite difficult to choose one for your upcoming occasion. It’s essential to know all the facts before making a decision. At the end of the day, you must realize that this is a personal investment that requires time and money. Therefore, it’s natural to feel conflicted.

Emerald Vs Sapphire

Sapphires are the second hardest gem in the world, after diamonds. Both emeralds and sapphires have long been treasured gemstones. Each gemstone has several advantages and it can be easy to get lost in them while looking at your options. Let’s go through some of the most important characteristics of emeralds and sapphires that can make your job easier.

When we think about sapphires, the first thing that comes to our mind is a shiny blue gemstone. However, sapphires can be found in several colors such as pink, blue, green, yellow, and white. Emeralds, however, are only available in green. But, that does not mean it’s limited in options to choose from.

If you’re looking for pastel green hues, you can go with emeralds because they are available in an impressive color palette ranging from khaki to deep green.

Sapphires come from the mineral corundum. The chemical compound corundum contains iron, titanium, vanadium, and chromium. It’s responsible for the several hues that sapphires have. Emeralds, on the other hand, originate from the beryl mineral family. In emeralds, the color green is a result of the traces of iron and chromium.

Now, let’s talk about hardness. Sapphires are known for being one of the second hardest rocks in the world. This is because of its high rank of 9 on the Mohs scale. This score implies that sapphires are highly durable and more likely to last longer and be less susceptible to scratches. Emeralds, on the other hand, are susceptible to damage. Their score on the Mohs scale is between 7.5-8.

Is emerald better than sapphire?

Sapphires are generally stronger than emeralds. They have a better refractive index, which refers to the brilliance of the stone. The refractive index of a sapphire lies between 1.76 – 1.77, whereas an emerald’s refractive index is 1.57-1.58.

One of the most important characteristics of sapphires and emeralds is their clarity. Emeralds have a high amount of inclusions, which appear as liquids and glass. These inclusions are visible to the eye. If there are a lot of inclusions on the stone, it could mean it’s likely to fall apart sooner than later.

All natural sapphires have some inclusions and color zones, but in most cases, they are not visible. If you analyze under a magnifying loupe, it can reveal the inclusions it has. If there are no inclusions, it means the stone was likely created in the lab. Natural sapphires that have the least amount of inclusions are the rarest and the most valuable.

As per the comparison drawn between sapphires and emeralds, it’s apparent that objectively speaking, emeralds are not better than sapphires. However, keep in mind that your decision should depend on your specific needs.

Is emerald more expensive than sapphire?

To answer this question, we can compare emerald to green sapphires, but not all color of sapphires. Emeralds are generally more expensive than green sapphires. However, both gemstones are extremely rare in their natural untreated state, and this rarity gives them both a high price tag.

The price range of high-quality sapphires begins from $450 per carat and can exceed $10,000 per carat, depending on color, size and quality. You can read more about the most expensive color sapphires here.

Good quality emerald cost somewhere between $4,000 to $10,000 per carat. A limited heirloom-quality emerald gem can go for as much as $30,000 per carat. 

The wide range of colors that can be obtained as sapphires is a unique selling point. Therefore, sapphires are more versatile than emeralds, and hence, they may cost more.

The following table might help you understand the difference in expense, and will obviously be dependent on factors such as size of the gem:


Price per carat (USD)

 Red Sapphire (Ruby) $6,000 to $60,000
Emerald $4,000 to $10,000+ 
Padparadscha Sapphire $3,000 to $6,000
Pink Sapphire $3,000+ 
Ceylon, Cornflower, Kashmir Blue Sapphire $2,500 to $6,000
Australian Blue Sapphire $2,000+
Green Sapphire $450 to $2,000

What is emerald worth per carat?

Good quality emerald cost somewhere between $4,000 to $10,000 per carat. A limited heirloom-quality emerald gem can go for as much as $30,000 per carat. 

What is sapphire worth per carat?

Sapphires are traded on the basis of the quality of the stone. If the sapphire is completely natural, the price is going to be much higher. This is because of how rare the sapphire is. One of the rarest sapphires, the Kashmir Sapphire can go for $200,000 per carat or more. However, more common sapphires, depending on the color and size, cost somewhere between $2,000 to $10,000 per carat.

Sapphires and Emeralds can be difficult to choose from with both sapphires and emeralds being expensive and rare. But, it’s possible to make the right choice if you thoroughly understand the characteristics of the gemstones and choose one that matches your requirements.