5 Tips for Identifying Real Emeralds from Fakes by Colonial Gemstones

Emeralds, renowned for their captivating green hues, have been treasured gemstones for centuries. Nevertheless, their scarcity and value have made them a prime target for counterfeiters. Differentiating between genuine emeralds and fakes can be a challenging task. However, with the right knowledge and techniques, you can safeguard yourself from inadvertently purchasing counterfeit gemstones. In this article, Colonial Gemstones presents five essential tips to help you identify authentic good quality emeralds from imitation ones.

Assess Colour and Transparency

The vibrant green colour is one of the most distinguishing characteristics of emeralds. Authentic emeralds typically exhibit a deep, lush green colour with a subtle bluish undertone. In contrast, counterfeit emeralds often possess a flat, overly vivid green colour that lacks the depth and complexity of genuine stones.

Transparency is another key factor. Authentic emeralds rarely display complete transparency; they generally contain some inclusions or imperfections. These inclusions are commonly referred to as “Jardin,” a French term meaning “garden.” Counterfeit emeralds are more likely to appear overly clear and devoid of any imperfections, which raises suspicions of them being lab-created or synthetic.

Look for Inclusions

As mentioned earlier, inclusions are a natural feature of authentic emeralds. These imperfections, although they may seem like flaws, are actually a vital indicator of authenticity. They are often visible to the naked eye and resemble tiny fractures, feathers, or even gas bubbles trapped within the stone. If a gemstone appears excessively flawless, it is likely to be an imitation.

A gemmologist’s loupe or microscope can be valuable tools for meticulously examining these inclusions. Moreover, some inclusions in emeralds can create a distinctive phenomenon known as “emerald fingerprinting,” where specific patterns of inclusions are characteristic of particular mines or regions.

Assess the Refractive Index

A gemstone’s refractive index measures how much it bends light. Different gemstones have distinct refractive indices, and emeralds fall within a specific range. To verify the authenticity of an emerald, you can use a refractometer, a specialized gemmological tool that gauges the refractive index of a gemstone. A genuine emerald will typically fall within the expected range, while an imitation may yield a significantly different reading

Conduct the Scratch Test

The scratch test is a basic yet effective method to differentiate between authentic emeralds and imitations. Emeralds have a hardness rating of 7.5 to 8 on the Mohs scale, indicating that they are relatively hard and resistant to scratching. Most imitations, such as glass or quartz, are softer and can be easily scratched with a metal object like a knife or a file. 

However, exercise caution when performing the scratch test, as it can potentially damage both genuine and counterfeit gemstones if not executed properly. It is advisable to consult a professional gemmologist for this type of assessment.

Seek Professional Certification

When uncertainty persists, the most reliable approach to confirm the authenticity of an emerald is to obtain professional certification. Certified gemmologists employ a combination of advanced techniques, including spectroscopy and magnification, to provide a definitive verdict on the gem’s authenticity.


Differentiating real emerald wholesaler from imitations necessitates a discerning eye and a fundamental understanding of gemmology. By considering factors such as colour, transparency, inclusions, refractive index, and conducting the scratch test, you can enhance your ability to distinguish authentic emeralds from imitation ones. It’s important to remember that seeking the expertise of a certified gemmologist is always a prudent choice when uncertainty arises. Armed with these insights, you can confidently embark on your quest to acquire the exquisite beauty of authentic emeralds.

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