HOW TO TELL IF AQUAMARINE IS REAL
1. EXAMINE THE COLOR
The best way to identify a genuine aquamarine stone is by looking at its color. In its natural form, a genuine aquamarine will have a pale blue color similar to seawater. It may also display a slightly green or yellow tint.
Because a genuine aquamarine stone is a beautiful sea-green or sea-blue color, the only other natural gemstones that closely resemble aquamarine's color are blue zircon and blue topaz.
You can easily distinguish blue zircon from aquamarine by its "fire," luster, and strong double refraction. In contrast, blue topaz has a visibly blue tint and is nearly indistinguishable from aquamarine with the naked eye.
Moreover, many "fake aquamarines" are also on the market made from artificial substitutes that are likely to cause problems. These "fake aquamarines" include various types of glass imitations, synthetic blue spinel similar to that used in simulating zircon, and, possibly, doublets.
The color of a real aquamarine depends on the angle it is viewed from. Therefore, at one angle, it may look very pale, while from another view, it may display an intense blue. In contrast, glass imitations will have the same color no matter what angle you view them from.
2. CHECK OUT THE HARDNESS
Another way you can tell a genuine aquamarine stone from a faux stone is by its hardness--aquamarines don't collect scratches easily. However, they can easily scratch glass and other similar surfaces below them on the Mohs hardness scale. If you notice any visible scratches on the stone in question, think carefully before purchasing it.
3. CHECK THE CLARITY
A genuine aquamarine stone will have excellent clarity and transparency. If you spot inclusions on the questionable stone, be very suspicious, as almost every genuine aquamarine stone is eye-clean.
4. USE A LIGHT SOURCE
You can separate a synthetic blue spinel from aquamarine by holding the stone under a good light source and looking at it through a Chelsea color filter. The synthetic blue spinel will show a bright orange or red, while aquamarine appears a distinct green since it effectively cuts out the deep red.
Be aware that doublets made to simulate aquamarine are hardly ever found, but the possibility of a doublet still exists.
5. TOUCH IT
A genuine aquamarine stone is cool to the touch. Compared to a genuine aquamarine stone, glass imitations will be warmer to the touch because glass is a poor heat conductor.
6. LOOK AT ITS LUSTER
Examine the luster of the questionable stone. The luster of glass imitations is often more "gaudy" or "glassy" in appearance compared to a genuine aquamarine stone.
Another thing to beware of is synthetic blue spinels. They are the artificial counterparts of stones like aquamarine. Synthetic blue spinels are produced quite easily in laboratories, using a combination of the mineral and chemical components in genuine gemstones such as aquamarine.
However, a trained eye can distinguish a synthetic blue spinel gem from other beryls; the blue color is usually gaudy, its luster & fire are too bright, the luster appears glassy, and light dispersion is low.
7. USE A MICROSCOPE
Use a microscope; there are a few key things you can look for when trying to identify a glass imitation aquamarine.
First, look for any signs of bubbling in the gemstone. Glass imitations will usually show a bubble or two, even if these be too small to be detected with a pocket lens—or they may show "swirl marks" as a result of improper mixing of the components. Aquamarine, as a natural mineral, commonly shows layers of small crystals ("feathers") or tiny needle-like inclusions.
Bubbles provide conclusive evidence that the stone in question is glass since no natural mineral shows bubbles of this kind.
Upon examination with a lens, You can eliminate zircon (double refraction) and many types of glass (bubbles), while the Chelsea filter further assists in detecting synthetic blue spinel. Any bubbles present in a blue spinel gem will be so small a size that a microscope is needed to recognize them.
8. USE A CHELSEA COLOR FILTER
A synthetic blue spinel gem can be separated from aquamarine at once by holding the stone under a strong light source and looking at it through a Chelsea color filter. The blue synthetic spinel will show a bright orange or red, while a natural aquamarine stone will appear a distinct green since it effectively cuts out the deep red.
9. CHECK THE PRICE
Aquamarine stones are easily available, but they do still command a price. If the cost of aquamarine stones is extremely low, they are likely faux stones. Conversely, if the price is too high, the seller may be trying to take advantage of you. So do your research to get a ballpark idea of what a fair price for aquamarine should be before purchasing.
The cost of aquamarine stones varies depending on multiple factors. For example, larger aquamarine stones cost between $300 and $600 per carat. The most vibrant colors attract the highest prices, with exceptional quality Santa Maria aquamarines fetching over $1,000 per carat.
Now that you know how to tell the difference between genuine aquamarine and fake aquamarine be sure to exercise caution when making any gemstone purchases. Only buy aquamarine gemstones from a reputable dealer, and always get a second opinion from a qualified gemologist before making any final decisions.