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Why Are Man-Made Emeralds Harder to Distinguish for Most People in Metro Manila?


There is a very common mentality here in the Philippines, that assumes all synthetic or imitation gemstones are eye-clean, with no inclusions or spots in their interiors. A lot of people mistakenly think that just because a gemstone is very clear inside, that means it's not natural or genuine. This statement is very dangerous for people to believe, since lots of natural gemstone species can appear eye-clean as well (i.e. aquamarine, amethyst, diamond among others). More importantly, lots of man-made gemstones can indeed have inclusions. So take careful note of this: just because a gemstone shows internal characteristics or inclusions does not necessarily mean that it's a natural gemstone. Again, if you see dark spots, fractures or other things inside a gem, please do not assume that it's natural, this assumption can lead to costly mistakes in jewelry or gemstone buying.



For emeralds this poses a particular problem. Emeralds are one of those gemstone species that tends to have a lot of inclusions. The thing is, while most imitations are eye-clean, many Filipinos are not aware of 'synthetic emerald' or 'man-made emerald'. These emeralds are grown artificially using either a hydrothermal-growth manufacturing process or a flux-growth process. Both of these procedures are well documented in the global industry and have multiple variations on technique, however the emeralds they produce are often very much filled with inclusions.



Man-made emeralds can range from heavily included to slightly included, with many possessing inclusions that can easily trick local buyers into believing that they are naturally mined gemstones. Gemologists are trained to recognise and detect the specific types of inclusions that are created by the hydrothermal and flux-growth processes, so that by use of microscope- they can properly separate natural emeralds from man-made ones. Do not mistakenly buy a green stone as natural emerald just because you see inclusions inside it when looking through a loupe- this does not automatically mean it's natural. Detection of artificially-created inclusions should be left to trained professionals, as some of them are very difficult to see (only visible in certain angles and directional lighting), and distinguishing the specific types of inclusions is not something most people in the Philippines are familiar with.

Stay alert, and remember that the price differences between natural emerald and man-made or synthetic emerald is very high. Both these items are essentially composed of the same elements ordered in the same crystal structure. Careful consideration should be made before every purchase, even for local jewellers buying from their own suppliers abroad.
Gemologist.ph
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