Able to maintain a beautiful yellowish green color even in small grains,
Sandawana emerald is the king of melee-sized emeralds.

In 1954, two South Africans began prospecting for beryl and Lithium in Zimbabwe, and came across the high-quality emerald producing Sandawana deposit two years later. At that time, mining was being carried out by the Rio Tinto Group of England.

Sandawana emeralds were formed about 700 million years ago, with deposits as deep as 150 meters (490 feet) beneath the earth’s surface. During the early years, this mine was unusual among emerald mines for the attention that was paid to safety. Although there are now 27 locations in Zimbabwe where emerald has been discovered, there appears to be no significant production outside the Sandawana and Chikumbwe deposits. There are storied of mines that have been worked for an entire year without producing a single emerald. The production volume of emerald rough Zimbabwe is limited compared to that of Colombia, Zambia, and Brazil. Therefore, high-quality Sandawana emeralds are extremely difficult to obtain, and prices are over three times that of diamonds of the same size.

Much emerald rough is traded on the gray market, to the extent that one hears stories of rough being hidden in corpses to smuggle it from mining areas to polishing centers. It is a fact that Zimbabwean government control of production is becoming more difficult, not only for emeralds, but for all gemstones. Because of this, there are no figures for total emerald rough production, but estimates out annual worldwide production at about $200 million. Even with fluctuations in yearly production and prices, Colombia accounts for more than half of this production, and when combined with Zambian and Brazilian output, the proportion approaches 85 percent.

Sandawana emeralds are quite small, with polished stones averaging about 0.08 carats, but they characteristically possess an attractive yellowish green color. Stones from other sources become light in color when cut to small sizes, but Sandawana material holds its yellowish green color beautifully even in melee sizes. Conversely, large Sandawana stones have poor transparency and are not very attractive.

Brooch, Gold
Sandawana Emerald 27pc
2.96 ct
Diamond 53 pc
3.67 ct
US $25,000