The classification of emeralds

Is the classification of an emerald based off the color or its properties? I have two that have been identified as emeralds, but the more I read about emeralds I keep getting lead back to the color factor. All of the inclusions are there but they are a vivid blue green color.

Do these photo colors look correct? I would classify these as aquamarine, supposing they ARE in fact beryl.

It does have to be pretty unmistakably green to be called emerald. Sometimes there is a blue secondary.


Depending on the light, yes the colors are correct. I was reading and looking at pictures of aquamarine and none resemble my stones.
I failed to mentioned that I bought them certified as emeralds from a not so well known lab in New York; since they are not so well known I want to get a second, third and fourth opinions on them. I eventually do plan on sending them in to be looked at professionally.

Probably a good idea. GIA or AGL would be my recommendation.

I have some beryl crystals from Nigerian that straddle the line between green-blue aqua and blue-green emerald (just as your stones appear to me in the above photos). There may be some professional differences of opinion on your stones.

I’m not certain, but it might be something along the same lines as when do you call a pinkish corundum “ruby” rather than “pink sapphire”. The jokes goes: “it’s pink corundum if you’re the buyer and ruby if you’re the seller”! There’s no definitive distinction from chemical composition or testing standpoint.

In the past, it was thought that emeralds had to be colored by chromium, but (if I recall correctly), most African emeralds are colored by Vanadium.

My guess is that your stones are Nigerian in origin, and it might be a roll of the dice as to whether the cert comes back emerald, aqua, or possibly even “green beryl”.

Keep us updated please!


Emerald is “grass green.” In these pictures, neither one is “grass green.” I would classify them as being greenish blue beryl. I don’t believe that either name “aquamarine” or “emerald” should apply to these stones. If I was evaluating them for a customer, I would not use the term emerald for either one.



do you tested dicroism and spectra? According to Lazarelli charts dicroism of emerald is yG - BG and dicroism of aquamarine colorless/bluish - blue/skyblue. I have always problems to see the spectra, but if: Aquamarine should have a different spectrum. According to Lazarelli there is a line in 456 (and a 437 line which is not seen in heat treated samples). In Emerald there are lines in the 580 and between 600 and 700 (the exact numbers differ between IGS and Lazarelli chart).

Do your homework! What is the SG of this stone? Does it fluoresce? It’s a beautiful color, and if you love it, then love it. Some emeralds have inclusions, but I’m not sure if you have checked your stones for inclusions.