How To Detect A Genuine Emerald

There is endless information out there regarding the authenticity of diamonds and how to differentiate a genuine diamond from a replica. However, when it comes to colored gemstones, particularly emeralds, how is one to know whether or not he or she is looking at the real deal? Let us take a look at the characteristics of an emerald, how to tell the difference between a gemstone and a glass imposter, and how to ensure that you are in fact buying a real emerald.


Rough and Polished Leibish Emeralds

A shovel of both rough and polished emeralds


Locating an Authentic Emerald

The very best way to make certain that you are in fact being sold a real emerald is to demand that it be given together with a certificate. There are a number of third party enterprises that asses these gemstones, but some of the biggest names out there are AGL, GRS, Gubelin, and CD. Another, relatively obvious suggestion is to always purchase your stones from reputable stores and gemstone dealers. Additionally, it is advised to be wary of especially low prices. They may seem tempting, but it could be the best indicator that something is very wrong and that you are in fact being offered pure garbage. After taking these rather obvious first steps, it is recommended to come prepared with several pieces of useful information regarding emeralds. These include knowing that a peek through a jeweler’s loupe should provide you with a glimpse of several flaws in the stone, as most emeralds are included in some way. Gas bubbles can appear in a natural emerald, but only next to other flaws. Bubbles that appear alone will most likely indicate that the emerald is either glass or a synthetic emerald. While diamonds are known for their fire, real emeralds rarely display fire, so if you see a rainbow of colors coming from your stone, you may be looking at a fraudulent emerald.

A sample of a Gubelin report

A sample of a Gubelin report


The Formation Process of an Emerald

Natural emeralds are the results of geological events that took place in the Earth’s crust hundreds of millions of years ago. Emeralds formed one molecule at a time amid very specific conditions. When hydrothermal fluids escape from magma deep within the Earth’s crust, hydrothermal veins are formed. It is within these veins that emeralds can come to be, assuming that conditions are optimal and elements, such as beryllium, are present. Colombian emeralds, some of the most famous and sought after emeralds on the planet, are formed in this manner. However, not all emeralds are formed in hydrothermal veins. Some are formed in pegmatite deposits. These are similar to hydrothermal veins, except for one main difference. Hot water is the leading element in hydrothermal veins whereas magma or molten rock is the primary agent in pegmatite deposits.



Gemstone Vs. Glass

In addition to the many different types of natural and synthetic gemstones that may be posing as authentic emeralds, there are simple glass stones hoping to be mistaken for natural emeralds. Similar to other impostors, glass will likely have bubbles and may also display scratches. If the facet cuts are rounded, you are probably looking at glass. While emeralds don’t rank the highest on the Mohs scale of hardness, they are certainly sturdier than glass. Purchase a Mohs kit in order to test the stone’s hardness. If it is real it should rank 7.


Rough and Polished Emeralds

The difference between a rough and polished emerald

No one wants to come home after spending a great deal of effort and money seeking out the perfect emerald only to discover that they have acquired nothing more than a glorified ornament. Precautions must be taken while researching and buying emeralds as well as any other precious and semi-precious gemstones. This will hopefully enable you to purchase an emerald safely, so that you can truly enjoy it hassle-free. It is important to point out that while synthetic emeralds should be avoided at all costs, 99% of real emeralds are still treated with oil in order to fill cracks within the stone. The rare 1% that is not treated with oil will be clearly marked NO OIL and will demand much higher prices. These are considered the top of the top when it comes to quality emeralds.