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The genuine emerald is a member of the beryl family and is best known for its sparkling and magical green color. This mineral is the focus of the Wizard of Oz movie, and it continues to enchant people of all ages because of its mystical appeal and eternal beauty. Knowing how to spot real emerald from fake emerald is essential if you want to invest in the real thing.

The same goes for when you are investing in other precious stones – you have to be able to tell if what you are buying is real or otherwise. The emerald belongs to the top three in the gemstone world.

It is a top tier gemstone that ranks equally with sapphires and rubies, which are also just as expensive. This is a real investment if you think about it, so be on guard for sellers who don’t offer the real deal.

What’s the difference between green beryl and emerald?

Both green beryl and emeralds come from the beryl family. There is a lot of confusion and debate on where the line should be drawn, but there are coordinates that can help you decide for yourself. According to experts, green beryl becomes green beryl because of the element vanadium.

On the other hand, Emeralds usually turn green when the chemical that causes the green color is chromium. When the green color is impinged by yellow, that is no longer an emerald nor green beryl – gemologists call this variant heliodor instead.

In the United States, lines are drawn (almost to the extent of splitting hairs), but elsewhere, any green beryl mineral is automatically tagged as an emerald. The reason for this is that the name “emerald” can automatically increase the value of a gemstone. “Green beryl” doesn’t draw as much attention, interest, and, ultimately, value.

Is there a yellow emerald?

No. In the United States, the Fair Trade Commissions warns against the misnomer. By and large, emeralds are beryl minerals that are of a distinct deep green color. Calling a yellow beryl a “yellow emerald” is mostly misleading. Green and yellow are worlds apart, chemically speaking. So if someone comes up to you and offers you a yellow emerald, say no immediately.

Spotting the Real Emerald vs. Fake Emerald

Genuine emerald has specific characteristics that make it easy for buyers to spot the real emerald and separate them from the fake emeralds.

The most valuable emeralds appear naturally as deep green gems or sometimes, bluish-green. Contrary to popular belief, genuine jewels are not dark but brilliant and vivid. The color of top tier emerald is always even, and the color quality is consistent throughout the gem no matter how you view the flower.

Below are some factors and determinants that you can employ to check if the gem you are holding is the real deal or not.

Internal Characteristics/Inclusions

Inclusions are imperfections found in the crystalline structure of gemstones. The majority of emeralds have the tiniest of internal characteristics, and this is normal because this how gems form in nature. Minerals that are absolutely or virtually free of inclusions are the rarest of rare, so one should be cautious when you are offered something that is “completely flawless” because, in nature, such gems are hard to find.

The value of emerald is highly dependent on its color. An emerald that appears flawless will have a lower cost compared to emerald with some inclusions if the ‘flawed’ emerald has better color quality.

By better color quality, we refer to the breadth and depth of the color. If the emerald has paler shade, then its value will be decidedly lower. Some examples of internal characteristics include internal flaws like bubbles, crystal formations, and lines in between the internal structures.


“Fire” refers to the reflection of natural or artificial light when it hits any gemstone. Emeralds have low fire or luster, so don’t expect a lot of it when you hold a genuine jewel to natural light (which is the best light for checking out gemstones).

If the gemstone given to you produces a bright spectrum of colors from reds to greens to yellows, likely, you are not holding a real emerald, but a simulant or a different gem altogether that only happened to be green. Misidentification is a problem when buying gemstones, so be careful and pay attention to the minute details that give away the fakes.


The clarity or brightness of an emerald refers to how well you can observe its facets and internal characteristics without much effort. Gemstones with high clarity can easily be seen with the naked eye, and even the presence of inclusions should not be able to stand in the way of clarity. The higher the clarity of a gemstone, the bigger the value and its accompanying price tag. However, please note that it is scarce to find an emerald in nature that is virtually free of fog, so it’s essential to consider this when examining any stone. If a gemstone is advertised as flawless, but its cost is below the market average, buyers should beware.


One final check for the emerald is its edges. Gemstones are cut in such a way that they have many beautiful facets. These facets have plenty of corners and angles. Take a brief look at the edges of the emerald. Emerald is a hard gemstone, so you should be able to see relatively sharp edges on its facets.

If any of the edges appear worn down, it’s possible that you are not holding the real thing. Emerald has a rate of 7.5 to an eight in the Mohs scale of hardness. Ordinary glass scores only a five, so technically, you can scratch the glass’s surface with an emerald, and the glass will yield to the hardness of the emerald, not the other way around.


A non-visual test for genuineness is related to its price. Emerald can be as expensive as rubies, sapphire, and jade, so be wary if someone is offering you emerald at bargain prices. If you want the real article, be prepared to pay for the real value of any gemstone.