Being one of the four recognized precious gemstones, emeralds are must-have gems for many jewellery lovers. However, there are a lot of stones sold as emeralds that are actually fake on the market. Let’s see how to detect fake emeralds and avoid such imitations.
Natural Emeralds vs Fake Emeralds
Natural emeralds are a green variety of beryl and most of them are very heavily included. This gemstone has Type III clarity, meaning that even good quality natural emeralds used in fine jewellery are in I2 to I3 clarity range.
Fake emeralds are the stones that have a different chemical structure from that of natural emeralds. They can be made of both synthetic and natural materials.
Such cheaper gemstones as peridot and garnet may sometimes be sold as emerald imitations. Green coloured glass can also be used to imitate natural emeralds.
Are Synthetic Emeralds Fake?
Synthetic emeralds are the stones created in labs. These gems have the same chemical composition as natural emeralds and are not considered technically fake.
It’s worth mentioning that synthetic emeralds compared to natural ones usually have better clarity and less visible internal flaws as a result.
However, you should make sure if the emerald you are buying is natural or lab-created. Synthetic stones are cheaper and buying a lab-created emerald at the price of a natural one is definitely not a good deal.
It’s really hard to tell if an emerald is natural or lab-created just by looking at it. The best way to have a conclusive answer is to have the stone tested by professionals using special equipment.
Spotting a Fake Emerald: Colour and Sparkle
Natural or lab-created emeralds come in various shades of green, from dark to light tones.
While fake emeralds are also green, some of them have additional non-green undertones such as yellow. If you notice such a secondary shade, be aware that the stone you are looking at might be another stone such as green garnet etc.
Another way to check if the emerald is fake is to expose the gem to light. Real emeralds do not exhibit intense fire (colour flashes); they have some but it is minimal. While fake emeralds sparkle in all colours of the rainbow.
Fake Emeralds and Clarity
Real emeralds are not perfectly clear, they usually have natural imperfections within their structure. If you look at such a stone using a loupe, you will spot lines, bubbles, crystals etc. Even high-clarity emeralds have some imperfections.
Lab-created emeralds may look very clean with a naked eye, but they also have some flaws.
In contrast to natural and synthetic emeralds, imitations usually look perfectly clean. So if you see a flawless and cheap stone this is a sign that you are actually dealing with a fake.
What are Emerald Doublets and Triplets?
Doublets and triplets are terms used to describe gemstones created by adding one or two additional layers of material to a real gem to make it look bigger.
Real emeralds are sometimes treated in such a way by adding glass or plastic layers. These materials are usually coloured in a more intense green to make the stone look more attractive.
To check if this is the case, look at the stone from the side. You will definitely notice if the stone is made up of layers.