How To Not Be A Fool While Buying Emeralds
Many people come to me once they get back from tours, eagerly showing off a big gemstone that they bought at a throwaway price. They bring back rubies, emeralds, sapphires, pearls and all kinds of gemstones. Almost every time I have to inform them that the stone that they paid a few thousands for, is only worth a few hundreds! Sometimes even cheaper than that!
If you think gemstones are precious,
you will find this article priceless.
It will help you buy genuine stones,
and make travel memories timeless!
Since it is almost May, let’s talk about Emerald first, as it is the birthstone of the month.
Don't want to know it all? click here for the basics and skip to the end.
a) Ask the type of emerald – Natural, Treated or Lab created(synthetic).
b) Ask the origin – Columbia, Madagascar, Zambia, Brazil, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Russia.
c) Most popular cut – Emerald cut. Available in other cuts too.
d) Know the Value of its color – Pure green is of the highest value. Popular – bluish green/yellow-green tint.
If you’re willing to know more (with nice images 😉 ), here are some facts about emeralds and how to use them while buying–
1) They come in various hues ranging from blueish green to pure green. Sometimes with a hint of yellowish green too.
The emerald may not be real if –
a) It has a lot of yellow undertones
b) You see colorful rainbow like flashes (called fire) when held against light. Natural emeralds may show some fire but it is very minimal.
c) You look at it from the side and see a few layers. This means that the stone is a doublet or a triplet and not a genuine one-piece emerald. Scroll through the images below to see what a doublet looks like.
What are doublets and triplets?
Layers of other materials are placed beneath/above a gemstone to make it look much bigger and valuable. Sometimes colored plastic or glass is added on top of an emerald to make the color look more attractive. This is not necessarily a way of duping the customers. Some people genuinely sell such gemstones to offer more luxurious looking pieces at a better price.
2) Emerald is a hard gemstone.
Inspect the facets (cuts and edges). Real emerald is hard so usually it should not have chipped or soft edges. Your jeweler/gemstone dealer will know you’re a smart buyer if you question them about the facets being worn off.
3) It usually comes with a lot of internal fractures, making it capable of breaking if not handled well.
It is DEFINITELY NOT a real emerald if you see a very clear stone, unless it is worth thousands of dollars. Whenever a shop offers a deal with a nice clear green stone and it doesn’t burn a hole in your pocket, get out of that shop right away!
Sharing below some microscopic images of 2 types of emeralds with inclusions. – The first one is a real emerald and the second is synthetic. Every gemstone dealer has an eye loupe, so ask them to show you such inclusions so that you can identify that what you have bought is genuine!
4) Natural untreated emeralds are very rare.
Hence most jewelers will not give off a natural untreated emerald at any discounts. However, since emeralds have a lot of natural fractures, which not only reduces their clarity, but also affects their color, there are some acceptable enhancement methods. Always ask about the treatments done on your stone because there are some precautions that need to be taken which vary with the kind of treatment used. Here’s how the gemstones look with treatments.
A little bit more about the enhancements.
a) A clear treatment is better than colored impregnation as the latter hides fractures as well as enhances the color (so you may end up paying a higher price thinking the color is originally good)
b) Some emeralds are treated with oil enhancements. The oil dries off after some time and they may need to be retreated.
c) Man-made epoxies and resin enhancements are acceptable but the jeweler needs to know if the treatment is done, as such a stone will break when exposed to high temperatures while making the jewelry.
Next time you think of buying an emerald on impulse, keep this guide handy and ask the right questions in order to get the right quality.
Lastly, I would hate it if you left without some eye-candy! Some of these designs are not made with real emeralds, but there are many other natural gemstones with the rich green color as well. Indulge in some green jewels for your emerald jewelry inspiration!
I hope you found these tips useful and will help you make an informed decision. I hope to write more articles like this one about other gemstones as well, but it may take a while. Meanwhile, in case you come across any tempting offer for other gemstones, I urge to research about it online or you could simply drop me a message for confirmation too, before making a huge investment.
I would love for you to share these tips with your friends and also comment below with your thoughts or even the gemstones that you want to know more about and I would be happy to help.
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