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Difference Between Natural and Manufactured Emeralds

Natural vs Manufactured Emeralds

Emeralds are considered to be one of the precious gems in the world.  The gemstone is characterized by its green color and is associated with May as its designated birthstone.

In today’s gemstone market, there are two main types of emeralds. However, only two kinds are considered valuable and marketable. These are natural emeralds and manufactured emeralds.

There are many similarities between the two kinds of emeralds. Meanwhile, there are only a few differences.  Natural and manufactured emeralds are the same in terms of appearance, composition, condition of creation, and importance. The difference often lies in the nature of production, location, and tools used

As the name implies, natural emeralds are created by nature while manufactured emeralds are created using an artificial environment and technology that mimics the natural conditions.

Natural emeralds are created when water in high temperatures is deposited and condenses in the earth. It turns into beryllium. With traces of chromium, the substance turns into an emerald.

In its production, a natural emerald has imperfections or impurities and inclusions. This is caused by minute traces of other minerals, trapped gases and minerals during its production, crystallization, and cooling process. Inclusion and imperfections give the gem its cloudy or dusky appearance. Some inclusions can appear as bubbles, fissures, or feathers on the gem’s surface.  It has a low dispersion of light or “fire.”

The formation of natural emeralds can be considered coincidental since it takes the presence and the right amount of its ingredients and heat conditions to be present to form the gem.
There are also flawless emeralds or those with minimal to no inclusions. The flawless emeralds are very rare and very valuable.

Since the production of natural emeralds occurs by chance, they are in limited supply and cost a lot of money. Natural emeralds also occur in different degrees of color since the amount of chromium present is also very incidental.

On the other hand, manufactured emeralds are the modern counterpart of the natural emerald. These emeralds are created in a laboratory or any controlled and sustainable environment. Since the production of these emeralds is controlled, manufactured emeralds often appear flawless unless they are treated with minor impurities or imperfections to pass it off as natural emeralds.

Manufactured emeralds also form faster and are less expensive compared to natural emeralds. Emeralds which are manufactured need special tools and equipment that maintain a very high temperature or heat. These emeralds are also considered stronger since they do not contain imperfections as the natural emeralds do. They also present better clarity and color. Often, most manufactured emeralds are vivid green to cater to the market’s demand.

Two methods in manufacturing emeralds are the hydrothermal and flux methods.

Summary:

  1. Natural and manufactured emeralds have few distinctions from one another. They appear similar in terms of ingredients, conditions, hardness, luster, and appearance.
  2. The first difference between natural and manufactured emeralds is the manner in how they are created. Natural emeralds are created by nature with no assisted technology. Meanwhile, humans in laboratories create manufactured emeralds.
  3. One distinction of natural emeralds is the presence of imperfections like inclusions and impurities. Most natural emeralds have some sort of visible imperfections to a careful eye. In contrast, manufactured emeralds are often created perfectly and flawless.
  4. Imperfections cause natural emeralds to have a dull fire and cloudy appearance. In addition, the gemstone itself is weaker. All of these qualities are rectified in a manufactured emerald.
  5. Natural emeralds are also formed because of coincidence. The right amount elements and the conditions make a natural emerald. It also takes longer to produce one. Manufactured emeralds are motivated by the market’s demand and are faster to manufacture.
  6. The color of a natural emerald depends on the amount of chromium present. It can vary from pale to vivid green. In contrast, most manufactured emeralds are designed to be vivid green.
  7. The most important differences between a natural and a manufactured emerald are cost and perception. These two are related issues. Since natural emeralds are limited in supply, they are more valuable. They also are held in higher regard compared to other types of emeralds. Meanwhile, manufactured emeralds are more affordable.

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