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Article: Unveiling the Green Gem: A Comprehensive Guide to Spotting Natural vs. Synthetic Emeralds

Unveiling the Green Gem: A Comprehensive Guide to Spotting Natural vs. Synthetic Emeralds

Unveiling the Green Gem: A Comprehensive Guide to Spotting Natural vs. Synthetic Emeralds

Emeralds are a popular choice of gemstones, loved for their variety of fascinating green hues and options. Whether you’re a first-time buyer or an emerald enthusiast, it is important to know how to tell natural and synthetic ones apart.

This article is a comprehensive guide for you to do just that & increase your knowledge about emeralds. We’re helping you understand each type, their treatments, methods of identification and comparison, and the differences in pricing and sourcing.

Introduction to Emeralds

As we all know, emeralds are widely popular for their rich green tints and inclusions. These gemstones are a type of beryl mineral which has been loved for centuries on end, and have been mentioned across several mythologies. Like the brightest and sharpest of us, emeralds are formed inside the Earth’s crust due to high heat and pressure that create appropriate conditions for their growth. This elongated process can span over millions of years resulting in unique gems possessing individual features. The future could hold new variations of emeralds with distinct features that have not been seen yet!

Understanding Natural and Synthetic Emeralds

While natural emeralds are a gift from mother nature, synthetic ones are a fine creation made by the smartest of human-kind in a laboratory. Various methods of making synthetic emeralds include flux, hydrothermal and flame fusion. These methods are inspired by natural processes and cut down on processing time significantly, thereby increasing their availability and affordability.

Characteristics of Natural Emeralds

In most cases, natural emeralds can be distinguished from their artificial counterparts immediately, due to their rich character. Natural emeralds have outstanding and intricate inclusions, which refer to the internal blemishes that come to life during the formation of the stones. They often resemble leaves and branches, which has led to coining of the term 'jardin' for the same, which is French for 'garden'. A natural emerald also changes hues from deep greens to bluish-greens and has a beautiful balance of color-schemes across sections.

Characteristics of Synthetic Emeralds

Due to years of experience and technological advancements, synthetic emeralds available in the market today may be very visually similar to natural emeralds. This may often make it difficult to distinguish the two without deploying specialized equipment. However, here are two easy ways you can identify a natural emerald among a sea of processed emeralds. The absence of inclusions or presence of artificial ones different from those found in natural emeralds is one of these characteristics. Synthetic emeralds also seem to possess more even distribution of color, which does not display variations in color like those seen in natural counterparts.

Identifying Natural Emeralds

A natural emerald can be identified by several considerations, such as the presence of inclusions as stated earlier in this article. The inclusions can be discovered through a jeweler’s loupe or microscope, which can help get a close look at the unique patterns of the gemstone, thereby allowing for verification and authentication.

You can also look out for clarity levels of the gemstone. A processed emerald often boasts its high levels of clarity, as opposed to natural emeralds whose formation leads to more imperfections that add character to the stone.

Lastly, you can distinguish genuine and lab-grown emeralds by observing their fluorescence under a UV light. A natural or genuine emerald will flash an intense red fluorescence whereas a lab-grown emerald will exhibit wear or no fluorescence at all.

Emerald's Common Treatments

The lives of natural and imitation emeralds can be extended, and looks can be enriched using some treatments. These treatments are well-known and commonly carried out in the gemstone and jewelry industry. They include oiling, wherein a clear oil is inserted into surface reaching fractures, and resin infusion which involves inserting polymer resin to stabilize the gemstone. The aim of these treatments is to bring the level of inclusion to a minimum to make sure the gemstone is aesthetically pleasing. Virtually all emeralds are oiled, meaning this treatment is highly popular, so don’t worry when you find out your emerald has been treated!

Do note that these treatments lead to an improvement in the clarity and overall look of the emeralds but may affect their long-term durability. Also keep in mind that the effects of these treatments are not permanent, so you may see more inclusions in your stone over the years.

Pricing Differences for Natural and Synthetic Emeralds

Natural emeralds demand higher prices than synthetic ones. This is due to their scarcity and distinctive features among other things. In contrast, synthetic emerald prices are low owing to a shorter processing time leading to consistent supply and lower costs associated with lab-based processing. However, other factors such as quality, size, and general appearance of an emerald can influence its price greatly apart from its natural or synthetic heritage.

Ethical Considerations in Emerald Buying

As we concentrate our efforts into building a sustainable lifestyle for us all, it is important to think about the same while buying gemstones. For starters, you must consider where your emerald came from, and whether it was mined in a way that respects those who indulge in mining, the laws & regulations and mother nature herself.

You can look out for certifications such as the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme. The presence of such certifications guarantee that the gemstone you are purchasing has not been involved in illicit or violating activities.

Additionally, you can engage in conversation and first-hand research to make sure that the jeweler or brand you purchase from makes sustainable and ethical sourcing a priority. This will help you ensure that you do not enable and silently support malpractice.

Also Read: Emeralds Vs Diamonds: A Comparison Of The Legends


In conclusion, synthetic emeralds have become increasingly refined and similar to their natural counterparts due to technological advancements, but maintain some key differences. These differences can be found by paying attention to details like inclusions, color variation and distribution and fluorescence. When in doubt, don’t be afraid to use advanced techniques and get in touch with experts to verify and double-check. Make sure to only source, purchase and design with dealers who practice ethically and remember to consider impacts to the larger community and nature. By choosing the illuminated path, not only do you get your hands on a lean-clean gemstone, but also make a positive impact!

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