How to Tell if an Emerald is Real or Fake

Basic Tips and graphics on how to tell if an emerald is real or fake for a person without any knowledge of emeralds; But if you are buying a high-priced emerald, it is better to get an independent lab report.

How can you Tell if an Emerald is Real or Fake:

GENUINE - NATURAL - REAL - AUTHENTIC - LAND BORN – EARTH MINED... have the same meaning.

The difference between a natural and a synthetic (or lab created) emerald can be difficult for the average person to determine. The following steps show how you can discover if an emerald is real or not:

Color, weight and temperature in real Emeralds are slightly different from the Lab Grown and other imitations, but a trained eye and knowledge of Dealer's experience is needed to determine these differences and here I try to help people who don't know about emeralds.

An emerald having a very vivid and intense shade of green; extremely clean with the same brilliant luster (shine) visible on a natural emerald of far greater quality (and cost!), and with a price tag of only USD $500 (or less) per carat, indicates that this is not a realistic price for a real natural emerald. When the price is suspiciously low, you are probably looking at a lab created emerald. Always ask if the emeralds you are looking at are created (Man-made) or natural.

If you are making a significant investment in a high-quality emerald, my advice is to have the gem tested at a reputable, independent laboratory; Lab grown emeralds are very similar to high quality natural ones; If there is already a lab report for the emerald being purchased, make sure it corresponds to the emerald you are going to buy.

How to tell if it is a genuine emerald ring to buy

NORMALY A GEENUINE EMERALD RING MUST BE SET WITH GIRDLE ON SIGHT AND VIEW ACCESS TO THE PAVILION

Never inspect a ring or any other jewel without a X10 lope, if you don’t have one, ask the seller for a 10x lope or a good magnifying lens and a bright light. If you see tiny flaws or "irregular patterns" within the stone and (this is a very important detail) small natural holes or tiny deep lines especially in the pavilion (the backside) of the gemstone, this is an indication that it may be a natural emerald...Normally 90% of natural emeralds are left with small imperfections on the pavilion after being cut, due to the deep natural flaws that come to the surface, including irregular cut, because these natural imperfections are in the color area of the emerald, as the cut goes deeper into this area to remove the imperfections, the color fades. See graphs below.

The most desired shape is the emerald cut in engagement rings. There are a lot of different styles and designs but always the girdle and pavilion of all gemstones must be exposed on sight (but not too high) for inspection and future cleaning procedures in all items. In bezel setting gemstones, the pavilion must be open at the bottom NOT CLOSED.

If You are Buying a Finished Piece of Jewelry

Make a very sharp inspection on the girdle of the gem looking for material fused together or assembled in layers If you don't have access to inspect the girdle and pavilion, I wouldn't buy the item, there is a lot of tricks like doublets made with the same material of emeralds with identical characteristics of them and color enhance in the mounting among many others. If you are buying a bezel setting emerald ring make sure it has access to the pavilion for inspection and further cleaning process.

Emerald doublets or any other man-made gem imitation in jewelry must be disclosed by the seller.

A SYNTHETIC GREEN LAYER FUSED BETWEEN TWO COLORLESS LAYERS OF AUTHENTIC VERYL OR EMERALD MATERIAL.

You can see the natural flaws and even natural holes because the material on both sides of the doublet are genuine colorless emerald layers, that is why the salesperson will tell you "THIS IS A REAL NATURAL GEM! on the front view it looks like a beautiful high quality emerald. So, it is very important to inspect the GIRDLE with a X10 lope looking for a possible assemblage.

Doublet emerald with natural beryl
Color zone in emeralds

But also, there are emeralds and other color gemstones with a remarkable color zone...

COLOR ZONED IN EMERALDS IS COMMON

This is a genuine Colombian emerald with a remarkable color zone which keeps its natural flaws in it, becoming natural holes and scratches on the surface of the pavilion, if more polish, less color, the color zone reaches the culet to make sure that the frontal view all color spreads to all the gemstone.

For an inexperienced eye this emerald could seem like a double but it is not.

DON'T BE CONFUSED WITH REAL AND MAN-MADE EMERALDS:

Check the emerald pictures below

There are laboratories creating “green stones” OR IMMITATIONS, very similar in chemical composition to natural emeralds. These emeralds created in laboratories are so identical to the natural ones, some even include the apparent natural flaws inside of the stone. Jewelry stores may display these stones with different names such as “lab grown,” “Chatham,” “man made,” and “natural lab created” This imitation of “emeralds” can be larger, have nicer color, and contain fewer flaws than real mined ones and their composition may also be comparable to natural emeralds. However, the fact that their cost is usually a fraction of the price of the real natural mined emeralds. As is currently the case with "Lab Grown Diamonds"; because these "Lab grown stones" can be manufactured by the ton at low cost; Natural gems are not, and their extraction cost is very expensive, because they are not abundant.

Real emeralds & fake emeralds

Color zone in emeralds
Bluish green natural Muzo emerald color zoned - click to see more color zone pictures

GENUINE COLOMBIAN EMERALD FROM MUZO MINES, VIBRANT GREEN BLUISH MEDIUM-DEEP COLOR NATURAL FLOWS RISING TO THE SURFACE ON THE PAVILION AND CANNOT BE REMOVED BECAUSE THE COLOR IS IN THAT AREA, WHEN REMOVING THE NATURAL FLOWS, THE EMERALD WOULD TURN WHITE OR COLORLESS

Real Colombian emeralds
Table view real Colombian emeralds

NATURAL EMERALDS ON THE TOP MUST BE CLEAN (FREE OF FRACTURES, CRACKS OR HOLES) GOOD SYMMETRY AND FACETS SHOULD BE ALIGNED STRAIGHT IN RELATION TO THE GEM’S GIRDLE. WHEN THE EMERALD IS SET, WHAT IS DISPLAYED IS THE TOP OR TABLE AND CROWN, NOT THE HIDDEN PAVILION, WHICH IS WHAT GIVES THE COLOR TO THE TOP OF THE EMERALD

Irregular cut in natural emeralds
Irregular cut in the pavilion of natural emeralds

FLAWS IN NATURAL EMERALDS COMING UP TO THE PAVILION FACETS IS NORMAL, ALSO THE IRREGULAR CUT IS NORMAL IN NATURAL EMERALD’S PAVILION TO PRESERVE THE COLOR, ALL NATURAL COLOMBIAN EMERALDS ARE HAND-CUT. A PERFECT CUT IN A HIGH QUALITY EMERALD IS VERY RARE AND EXPENSIVE.

How to tell if an emerald is real
GENUINE - NATURAL - REAL - AUTHENTIC

These photos are real of a genuine eye clean emerald, compared to synthetic ones through light and at different angles, to show the difference between natural emeralds and synthetic ones:

Land born or created by nature into the land around 65 million years ago and it is normal they come with natural flaws and inclusion, they are not perfect or clean; always emeralds are included. I never seeing a flawless natural emerald.

Do you notice the internal difference in these gems? This is a real photo and on the genuine emerald you will always see small internal imperfections through the light, with an X10 loupe as shown here.

Real Versus man-made emeralds
FACE UP OR FRONTAL VIEW IN NATURAL EMERALDS TROUGH LIGHT SHOW IRREGULAR AND UNEXISTENT SHADOWS AND INTERNAL MIRRORS

This is an eye clean genuine emerald with even color, but when light is all around and you examine its transparency through the gem looking for "inclusions" which are other kind of minerals inside of the gemstone like quartz, pyrite, calcite among too many others, you can see non-existent shadows and very small sparkles that appear and disappear as you move the emerald. Lab-created imitations stay clean and even color in its almost perfect cut.

Real emeralds and man-made emeralds
SYNTHETIC OR MAN-MADE IMITATIONS

Are created of different materials, from glass, plastic or resins, but the most sophisticated are created in laboratories with beryl, the same material of emeralds or aquamarine with artificial color and that is the reason they call them: "genuine lab-grown emeralds". and they say that they are natural because they are created with the same natural material as the hearth mined emeralds and can be created by tons. at very low cost, intermediaries make them expensive.

How you can tell real or fake emerald
A GOOD LAB-GROWN IMITATION

ON FACE DOWN: lab-created imitation also brings imitation of natural flaws but in this position, you can see the difference of light reflection, and if you turn around the natural emerald, the little shadows in there, they turn brilliant and disappear and others appear like tiny mirrors; not in lab-created, they remain the same at any angle, not flashes that disappear when you slowly TURN the man-made emerald.

Man-made emerald
Fake pear shaped emerald

CLEAN, VERY BRILLIANT AND DEEP GREEN COLOR BUT FAKE EMERALD OR LAB CREATED = MAN MADE EMERALD

Natural emeralds VS Lab grown emeralds
WITH LIGHTS ALL AROUND IN THE BACK VIEW THE IMITATIONS STAY CLEAN

and show perfect and even color and cut. Natural emeralds show shadows and non-existing reflexes or internal mirrors and of course its natural inclusions; very often the color in natural gems is not even because 90% of them on the rough do not have even green color called "color zoning" in gemstones.