There are a huge number of colored gemstones. One of the most popular among them is emerald - a dark green stone, harder than quartz, but softer than ruby, sapphire or diamond. Emeralds are found all over the world and are mined in places such as Zimbabwe, Madagascar, Zambia, Brazil, India, Afghanistan, Russia and Pakistan. However, the highest quality emeralds are mined in Colombia. Since precious stones often require serious investment, before you purchase them, you need to learn how to choose the right quality stones.
Emeralds are a type of mineral such as beryl. Along with diamond, ruby, alexandrite and sapphire, they belong to the group of precious. Natural mineral has a green color, it can be quite a light shade and vice versa dark or grassy.
This type of beryl has long attracted the attention of people, it was believed that they have powerful magical powers, are able to heal and give wisdom. Geologists found jewelry with this stone in the tombs of mummies belonging to the pharaohs. Also, jewelry with emerald was loved by French and English monarchs, believing in its miraculous power.
Today, the main deposits of these precious nuggets are Colombia, Egypt, Brazil, Cambodia, South Africa. Gems are also mined in Spain, Russia, Italy, the USA, France, Somalia, Zimbabwe, Madagascar and some other states.
Jewelers determine their authenticity by the following physical characteristics:
- All minerals are rich in green.
- Emerald can withstand temperatures up to 700 degrees, at higher it begins to lose its color,
- The gem is resistant to various acids,
- Its Mohs hardness is 7.5-8, which is not a very high indicator and inferior to other precious nuggets,
- Due to the fact that this variety of beryl is quite fragile, it is often possible to observe cracks and small nets on its representatives, but this indicates the authenticity of the specimen.
- The stone in its structure can have bubbles and interspersed from other rocks.
Real natural quality stone can be distinguished by color and its transparency. Its shade should be transparent and saturated. Instances that have an even clean tint with the absence of any damage are considered ideal and are priced more expensive than diamonds.
Due to its popularity, this jewel has become the object of numerous fakes. They often try to give out products made of green glass, rhinestone, crystals, yellow chrysolite and many other imitations of it as an emerald.
Today, even on the shelves of jewelry stores you can find numerous fakes from this gem, so you should clearly understand what exactly you want to buy, a beautiful piece of jewelry with fake mineral at an affordable cost or a jewelry with natural emerald, which will cost much more, but will look much more spectacular.
How to determine the authenticity of a stone
In the 19th century, scientists first cultivated an artificial mineral in Germany. Today, emerald stones are grown in many laboratories in various countries, including the Russian Federation. Every year, methods of growing them are improved, and now laboratories create emeralds that surpass natural nuggets in some of their characteristics.
Natural minerals, unlike artificial ones, cannot possess such a beautiful saturated color, large size and strength. Also, they do not deteriorate under the influence of sunlight and are not subject to the formation of cracks and scratches. The price of synthetic stones is ten times lower than their natural counterparts.
Since the quality of emeralds grown in the laboratory is almost as good as natural stone in external characteristics, dishonest manufacturers of jewelry did not fail to take advantage of this.
Today, thanks to modern technology, tourmaline, zircon, high-quality green glass, grossular, quartz, alexandrite and cubic zirconia are easily mistaken for an emerald. It is very important to be able to distinguish a real gem from glass and other materials.
In order to determine the authenticity of the jewelry, it is necessary to arm yourself with a color filter and a magnifying glass. You can determine the natural origin of the stone according to the following scheme:
- In the ultraviolet rays, a real gem becomes a brown-red hue. But, it is worth considering that a synthetic stone will not help determine this test, since in this regard it is completely identical to natural.
- A magnifier will allow you to consider the inclusion in the emerald, their qualitative and quantitative composition. One must be extremely careful in order to be able to distinguish inclusions from ordinary bubbles, which may also be present in glass.
- Composite stones of emerald and other materials can be distinguished by inclusions in the area of their bonding.
But, it happens that a doublet consists of several real stones of low quality, which is quite difficult to determine without special knowledge.
Also, when choosing a product with this gem, you should pay attention to the price, since emeralds whose karate is high enough will be sold at an incredible price. Therefore, if the eye falls on jewelry with a large transparent green stone, which has an affordable price, then most likely it is a fake.
What else to look for when choosing emeralds
Experts drew up rather detailed instructions, following which you can buy a real stone, which will then become a worthy decoration of any jewelry. When buying a jewelry, you should pay attention to the following things in order to be able to distinguish it from other stones:
- Stone transparency. Pure emeralds will cost more than having a dull shade, but in this case there is a greater chance that they are real. Instances of light shades are quite common in nature, so jewelry with them can be purchased at almost any jewelry store. Dark emeralds are very rare, so buying them is not so simple.
- The authenticity of this representative of beryl can be seen with a magnifier by looking on his line of growth. In an artificial instance, they will be clearly parallel, but in the present they will not be so ordered.
- Also, when buying jewelry with this jewel, pay attention to it color. Real gems look like green velvet, but may have interspersed in various shades or be unevenly colored. Bright pebbles may actually be tourmalines or beryls.
- Natural stones possess quite low dispersion and not able to sparkle like, for example, diamonds. Excessively sparkling gems are likely to be cubic zirconia.
- Facets of stone are also of great importance, since fraudsters very often take ordinary glass and a thin layer of natural emerald is glued on top of it, this is clearly visible if you look at the product from the side.
- If the edges If the precious mineral looks worn out, then it is probably glass, since the stone is more durable and does not wear off so quickly.
When purchasing jewelry with a real representative of beryl, it is worth understanding that it requires a special relationship. It is better not to wear jewelry with a large emerald all the time, but use it as a decoration for various celebrations, as otherwise the stone will lose its luster and beauty much faster.
Jewelry with small inserts made of emeralds is ideal for everyday wear, as it looks appropriate with any kind and style of clothing, hair and makeup. But, it is also worth remembering that this mineral does not like sunlight and the effects of chemicals. Clean jewelry with this type of beryl using sharp objects, such as toothpicks, tweezers, etc. also not recommended.
Is it possible to grow an emerald at home
It is known that under natural conditions these minerals grow and develop for thousands or more years, but the cultivation of artificial stone takes only one to two months. In terms of external characteristics, synthetic pebbles may look more attractive than natural ones, since they look perfect. There will be no extraneous inclusions in an unnatural gem; it is well suited as a decoration for gold and silver jewelry.
To create the mineral at home, some sources advise resorting to the hydrothermal method, that is, purchase a special vessel that can withstand pressure and high temperatures, contact a specialist who can adjust it and then wait until the emerald grows.
In fact, scientists have not yet invented a way to grow minerals at home, this is done in specially equipped laboratories using a complex technological process under the supervision and control of competent specialists. Synthetic gems are grown from powder, which remains after the natural emerald is cut.
The process of creating an artificial pebble in a laboratory is as follows:
- The powder from the faceting of real stones is placed in an autoclave,
- It is affected by chemicals and high temperature conditions,
- Next, the vessel is placed in a zone with low temperatures to carry out the crystallization process.
It is known that the process of the origin of this mineral occurs approximately the same, but it takes a very long time, and you can enjoy the beauty and grace of an artificial gem after a month.
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What you need to know about emeralds
Emeralds are usually classified according to their shade: it is from it that the cost of the mineral will depend. The color of an emerald is determined by its chemical composition, namely the amount of impurities of vanadium, iron, chromium. In special tables you can find the following types of stone:
- bright green
- medium green
- dark green
- light, with a greenish tint.
Emeralds of a shade of fresh grass are most valued. Such stones are mined in mines near Bogota in Colombia. In addition to the Colombian, the most significant are deposits in East Africa, India, Pakistan, Siberia and Transvaale (South Africa).
Of course, when buying jewelry, asking the seller about the origin of the stone is not enough. You need to know a number of features that distinguish a genuine emerald from an artificial one. The first thing to know about emeralds is that they almost always have defects. And there are much more of them than, for example, rubies and sapphires.
Many natural emeralds are opaque. In addition, if you want to purchase an antique product, keep in mind that the stones in the old ring or necklace will be dull, possibly frayed, since the emerald is an extremely soft mineral.
Emeralds are characterized by special inclusions that do not affect their value, but only indicate their natural origin.
What to choose?
When buying jewelry with emeralds, carefully inspect it. The impeccable structure, purity, uniform color, smoothness, the absence of inclusions and the bright play of light - all this indicates that you have an artificial stone. An exception is the so-called ennobled emeralds, the inclusions of which are made invisible to the eye by burning with a laser.
If you are comfortable with artificially grown gems, you should still familiarize yourself with the rules for choosing jewelry. Artificial emeralds are also faked, and instead of a synthetic mineral, you run the risk of buying cheap fluorite or even green glass. You must be able to recognize low-quality fake.
Synthetic emeralds began to grow back in 1888, their history is also rich and interesting.
What should an artificial emerald look like? These synthetic emeralds are obtained by a hydrothermal process based on the dissolution of natural beryl. They are distinguished by a bluish-green hue, which you will not find in natural stones. The price of such stones is much lower, and, unlike natural emeralds, they are inserted not only in gold, but also in silver.
Of course, an ordinary buyer can easily confuse natural, synthetic and fake stones, despite any precautions. Most likely, no one will allow you to verify the authenticity of jewelry directly in the store using the Chelsea filter. Therefore, a gemological examination can be recommended as a universal way to protect against cheating.
Natural emerald can be a variety of shades of green, but most often, it is green with blue. Extremely rare are exclusively green minerals, and their price is very high. A stone with a yellowish tone should make you suspicious, as it may be garnet or peridot.
In order to more accurately see the color nuances of the crystal, use a white sheet of paper: just lay the decoration on it. In addition, a good natural crystal should have a saturated color and be moderate or very dark. Stones that are too light may turn out to be beryl, and although emerald is a variety of this mineral, the green color of these crystals is provided by completely different chemicals.
Natural emerald is characterized by inclusions that make the stone slightly cloudy. Only stone obtained in laboratory conditions can be perfectly transparent. But at the same time, when you look at the crystal, these inclusions should not be too conspicuous and should not be close to the surface of the mineral, as this makes it very fragile. By the way, precisely due to the presence of small bubbles and cracks, a natural faceted emerald cannot sparkle too brightly in the rays of light. If the stone that you are going to buy sparkles - most likely it is zirconium.
Place of extraction and crystal differences
Before buying earrings or an emerald ring, ask the seller where the stones in these jewelry come from. Knowing some of the features of gems from different deposits, you can choose the right natural stone.
The highest quality emeralds are mined in the Colombian mines of Chivor, Muso and Cosques.
In addition, high-quality stones are mined in Brazil, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Madagascar, Nigeria, Russia, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Crystals from different deposits differ from each other. Minerals from the Muso mine are usually dark green with moderate yellow or blue content. Coscos mine gems often have a faint hint of a blue hue and have a vibrant and vibrant color. Emeralds from the Chivor mine have deep shades of blue. All Colombian gems are characterized by the presence of spiral inclusions.
Brazilian crystals have a yellowish tint and are mostly light green in color. But there are fewer inclusions in them than in Colombian ones.
Gems from Zimbabwe are good in quality, but, as a rule, they are quite small. In Zambia, stones of the highest category are mined, which are very highly valued among jewelers, but they are also expensive.
Emeralds of Russia are very light and green, like young grass. That is, most of them have a yellowish tint. By the way, precisely because of this color, some old and very famous Russian emeralds were re-subjected to chemical analysis, and it turned out that they were beryls.
Often so-called "doublets" are inserted into rings or earrings. This is a gluing of natural stone with glass, the worst quality stone or an emerald-like mineral. There will be a real gem above, but they can use a fake as the bottom layer. These layers are bonded with a painted epoxy. This is done in order to increase the weight of the insert, and hence the price of the product. If you carefully consider the faceting of the stone, then on the side this gluing will be visible. It is best to carry out such an inspection with a magnifying glass.
Emerald is a fairly solid mineral, so when polishing its faces should remain even and smooth.
In addition, one of the most accurate methods for determining the naturalness of a mineral is with a refractometer. The refractive index of light for an emerald will be from 1.57 to 1.6.