Have you ever bought a piece of emerald jewelry? Are you planning to buy one? If the answer to any of these questions is yes, this is a must-read for you. In essence, green beryls are beryls that do not meet the color standards of an emerald. To put it simply, they are not green enough.
Still, there is no reason why green beryls and emeralds couldn’t co-exist in peace and harmony. Except for one. Many gemstone and jewelry sellers are eager to take advantage of the fact that both, green beryl and emerald, are the variety of beryl. So, they sell green beryls as emeralds. Both loose and in jewelry. The difference in value is immense, and they know it.
Dishonest sellers make some nice profit. Buyers lose a lot of money. And so it goes on for years. Both online and in-store. The examples I have included in this article are just the tip of an iceberg. Nevertheless, they give you some insight into what problems exist and what to pay attention to.
Here (the examples below) it was somewhat easy because all it took was to notice the discrepancies between the two certificates. But what if there is no certificate? What if green beryl is set in a yellow gold setting which makes its color appear more saturated, darker (emerald-like)? Use your common sense. In case you are not sure, ask the Community.
Green Beryl vs. Emerald: The Color
“Emerald has many special qualities, but colored stone professionals generally agree that emeralds are, most of all, about color. Emerald has been the standard for green among colored stones for thousands of years”, as the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) puts it. Indeed, the subject matter of “green beryl vs. emerald” is all about color. And about the value, of course.
Emeralds are praised for their green color, whereas green beryls lack this crucial component. Both emerald and green beryl are a variety of beryl. Emerald is the green to greenish-blue variety of beryl. Green beryl, on the other hand, is light green or, as it is sometimes referred to, pale green beryl. Thus, all emeralds are green beryls in a sense, but not all green beryls are emeralds.
As GIA has put it: “Gem experts differ on the degree of green that makes one stone an emerald and another stone a less-expensive green beryl. Some people in the trade tend to give the name emerald to any green beryl colored by chromium. But to most gemologists, gemological laboratories, and colored stone dealers, it is more correct to call a stone green beryl when its color is “too light” for it to be classified as emerald.”
Green Beryl vs. Emerald: The Value
Emeralds not only have much more appealing color but are also very rare as compared to green beryl. The combination of these factors makes emeralds substantially more valuable than green beryl, of course. Actually, emeralds are among the most valuable gemstones in the world. It is always somewhat difficult to compare the value of two different types of gemstones, as the quality factor has to be taken into account at all times. Nevertheless, the difference in value is immense. It’s tens of times, at least.
There are sources that claim green beryls cost only $1-2 per carat. I wouldn’t value them that low. At least not the nice quality green beryls. I have seen some really nice quality green beryls selling for about $10-22 per carat (transparent, lustrous gemstones of 12 to 31 carats). Emeralds, depending on the quality and size, can cost from tens of dollars to tens of thousands per carat. Hence, calling a gem an “emerald” instead of a “green beryl” can be a real game-changer.
Here we come to the very essence of this story. It’s the right time to recall GIA’s words that some people in the trade tend to give the name emerald to any green beryl colored by chromium. Even to the palest of them. They shouldn’t do that if they were honest sellers with appropriate professional ethical standards. The reality, however, is very different. Apparently, the temptation for high profits is too hard to resist for some people. That’s why potential buyers have to exercise due caution when buying emeralds or emerald jewelry. Below are some very instructive examples of how dishonest sellers are selling jewelry with green beryls claiming it is emerald jewelry.
Here the seller repeatedly claims it’s a GIA certified emerald and diamond ring. It’s all over the place. It’s in the title and in the item’s description. Its value is estimated at $11 800 – 15 730. So, everything seems crystal clear – it’s got to be an emerald and diamond ring. We get to the next image, the AIG’s certificate, and it repeats what has been stated in the item’s description (Figure 2).
Then, just as promised, there is the GIA certificate (Figure 3). With one “minor” difference, though. If you pay due attention, you shall notice that the certificates states – species: natural beryl; variety: green beryl. Bingo! It is not an emerald! It is green beryl, instead. A much cheaper gemstone!
Normally, a GIA certificate would add trustworthiness and consequently – value to an item. Apparently, the seller could not resist playing out the “GIA card” here despite the fact that the GIA certificate clearly states this is not an emerald. Most likely they expected a potential buyer not to notice this minor, yet extremely important, detail. It is also possible they were confident that a potential buyer will not possess the necessary knowledge to interpret this piece of information properly, even if it will not remain unnoticed.
No matter what caused the seller to act this way, his behavior is highly unethical and misleading. It is not just the fact that he is knowingly trying to sell this gemstone as an emerald, though it is not an emerald. It is also about the item’s value. As mentioned before, green beryls are many times cheaper than emeralds. The price estimates given both in the item’s description and in the AIG’s certificate do not hold true for green beryl. They are somewhat inflated even for emerald jewelry, not to speak of green beryl jewelry. So, it is nothing more than a fraud. And it tells us something about AIG Labs and trustworthiness of their gemological reports, too.
Pay attention to how pale this green beryl is (Figure 4).
Here is another ring with green beryl that has been sold as emerald jewelry (Figure 5). The buyer paid almost $3000 (winning bid plus buyer’s premium) for something that is obviously not worth that amount of money.
They have used a different gemological report this time – Gemological Appraisal Services (GAS). Its reliability is as poor as that of the AIG Labs.
There is one very interesting detail about these gemological reports. These labs are well aware that the respective gemstones have been graded by the GIA before. Both labs specifically mention this in their reports: “Graded loose prior to setting in the GIA Laboratory, Report No #”. Yet, they still grade these gemstones like emeralds, which is totally contrary to the GIA’s grading.
Their authority in gemology is literally zero when compared to the GIA. So, how can these dissenting gradings be explained? I see only one reasonable explanation – both AIG Labs and GAS are willing to adjust the reality, the truth as per clients’ needs. At the expense of a potential buyer, of course.
Again, pay attention to the pale color of this gemstone (Figure 8). Remember, the main difference between green beryl and emerald lies in color.
A different item, the same story. Here the buyer paid almost $5400 for a piece of “emerald jewelry” that has nothing to do with emeralds (Figure 9). The same inflated price estimate again. Basically, a waste of money.
GIA clearly indicates this is green beryl. GAS stubbornly claims it is an emerald. Apparently, GIA’s reputation, experience, and authority mean nothing to them (Figure 10).
The green beryl in this ring might appear not as light in color as the previous ones (Figure 11). However, it has to be taken into account that it has been mounted in a yellow gold setting. Yellow gold always makes pale gemstones look more saturated, darker. So, when choosing your jewelry, take into account this aspect, too.
This ring looks pretty nice. No question about that. The problem, however, is that it is not worth the money it was sold for. In addition, the problem is that the buyer thinks he has bought a piece of emerald jewelry, whereas, in reality, he has bought something totally different.
So, exercise due caution when buying emeralds or emerald jewelry! Green beryl vs. emerald is a subtle subject matter.
If you have had some experience buying emerald jewelry or green beryl jewelry, please share it in the comments section below. Our community would highly appreciate your thoughts and ideas!