Emeralds are one of the most sought after and expensive of all gemstones.

It is the gemstone for persons born in the month of  May.

The main producing countries are Colombia, Zambia, Zimbabwe and one or two other countries.  In fact it is a rare gemstone and most emeralds are not of gem quality.  So many attempts are made to make rough “emeralds” more freely available. 

In March, 2013 I was sent 4 pieces of rough “emeralds” to be cut by Gradwell’s Gems from a very experienced jeweler in the Eastern Cape who had come across a parcel of stones which he mistook to be genuine emeralds.

It immediately became apparent to me that all was not right and after a few tests I knew that these stones were fakes.
With the owner’s permission I cut two windows on the one stone – refer to picture, and you can see the result.

The stones are worthless pieces of quartz that had been coated with a paint or dye which made them appear to be emeralds of a very nice colour and clarity.

If visiting countries like Zambia be very careful about buying rough gemstones otherwise you may have a very expensive visit.

This is not to say that you could  not be offered similar “emeralds” anywhere in the world.  Emerald scams have been taking place in South Africa for many years.

When investing in diamonds or gemstones always try to get an independent Laboratory Certificate and don’t rely on the everyday jeweller’s certificate.

Neil Gradwell