Aventurine and emerald are two beautiful stones with rich coloration.
However, telling them apart can sometimes be difficult if you don’t know the difference to look for.
Fortunately, there are some easy ways to identify these stones so that you can identify them in your collection.
Aventurine vs Emerald: EXPLAINED
What is Aventurine?
Aventurine is a type of translucent quartz or quartzite that has small incisions.
These inclusions cause a sparkling appearance when light strikes them, which is known as aventurescence.
These inclusions, along with the colors that they can help create, make aventurine a popular gemstone for jewelry.
The most common inclusion is fuchsite, a chromium-rich type of mica.
It only takes a small percentage of this material to impart a stunning green hue into the stone.
However, while larger amounts may sound optimal, large amounts of fuchsite inclusions can actually be detrimental as they can cause cleavage if the flakes are in a common orientation.
Similarly, coarse grains of fuchsite can give the stone a pitted appearance.
While fuchsite can give aventurine a green color, other inclusions such as lepidolite mica can create pink, purple, or red colors.
Hematite and goethite can likewise produce a pink, red, orange, or brown color, while muscovite and ilmenite can give a yellow, silver, or grey appearance.
Properties of Aventurine
Aventurine produces a colorless streak, due to being harder than a streak plate with a Mohs hardness rating of 6.5 to 7.0.
Lower hardness occurs when mica inclusions are more abundant.
It can appear translucent or nearly opaque and have a vitreous or aventurescent luster.
In terms of cleavage, there are usually none.
However, a higher mica content that has a common orientation can cause directional cleavage that allows for easy breakage.
Due to being a type of quartz, it has a lot of the same properties, although this can be altered depending on the inclusions.
Many common varieties of aventurine have higher specific gravity than quartz, especially if higher contents of hematite, goethite, and ilmenite are present.
Uses of Aventurine
Green aventurine is the most common, and it is often used to create beads and cabochons.
These are then used in the creation of many jewelry pieces, such as rings, earrings, and necklace pendants.
In some instances, due to being less expensive than jade, green aventurine is used to create small sculptures, bowls, or vases.
Due to it being inexpensive, it is also commonly used for making tumbled stones, and if the inclusions of mica are small, the result can be quite smooth and lustrous.
Treatments and Fakes
Aventurine and clear quartz that lacks aventurescence are often dyed brighter colors to increase their appeal.
These stones are often used in the creation of inexpensive jewelry pieces as the brighter colors can increase desirability.
However, using the term aventurine in these instances is inaccurate, and translucent quartz is a much better-suited term.
Aventurine glass is another man-made stone that is created by mixing metal particles in transparent glass.
Often called Goldstone, it has a much higher aventurescence than anything produced by nature, and while quite beautiful, shouldn’t be confused with naturally occurring aventurine.
What Are Emeralds?
Emeralds are a gem-quality member of the beryl family, a mineral with a rich green coloration.
Emeralds have been much sought after for upwards of 5000 years, and ancient people in Asia, South America, and Africa all discovered and held them in high regard.
Beryl, the mineral which produces emeralds, is colorless when pure, and known as goshenite in this condition.
It is trace amounts of vanadium or chromium which help give this mineral its well-known green hue.
If iron is introduced as well, a yellow-green or blue-green hue can develop, depending on oxidization.
While colors can vary, in order to be considered an emerald, a stone much possess a distinct rich green color, and stones that only possess a weak coloration or lighter tone are instead considered green beryl.
If the stone is more blue than green, it is called aquamarine, while more yellow hues are termed heliodor.
With that said, there is discourse over the exact guidelines of what makes an emerald an emerald as opposed to green beryl.
Some professionals argue that emerald should only be applied to stones when chromium causes a green coloration, with those colored by vanadium termed green beryl.
This discourse is further compounded by the fact that in some countries there is no distinction, and any form of green beryl, regardless of saturation, is simply called ’emerald’.
This means that when purchasing an emerald for your collection, you should be careful to research where it is from and make sure that the specimen you’re buying has a deep, rich, and distinct green color.
Properties of Emeralds
Emeralds are exceptionally hard, ranking between 7.5 and 8.0 on the Moh’s hardness scale.
However, due to their inclusions and frequent surface-reaching fractures, their durability can be compromised.
In terms of clarity, almost every emerald has visible incisions, surface-reaching features, or filled fractures.
Filling fractures is a common treatment and it has been done for hundreds of years to reduce their visibility.
Emeralds have a vitreous luster and can be either transparent or translucent.
Although the first synthetic emeralds were produced in the mid-1800s, it wasn’t until the 1930s that they started being made in commercial quantities.
While these emeralds have the same chemical composition as naturally occurring emeralds, they usually come with superior clarity and a more uniform appearance.
Stones like this are great for jewelry. However, their origins should always be disclosed.
A way you can test to see if an emerald is synthetic is by looking at its magnification and refractive indexes.
Naturally occurring emeralds will often have a higher refractive index than those that are synthetically produced.
Similarly, synthetic emeralds can often be identified because they contain visible characteristics of the processes that created them.
This can be visible under magnification and include wispy inclusions, small platinum crystals, or parallel growth planes.
Aventurine and Emerald
Because of their impressive green hues, these two stones can often be confused with one another, especially when they’re not cut.
However, there are some significant differences to look for.
For instance, aventurine will often have mica inclusions that give it a glittery quality that emerald lacks.
Emerald is also often harder than aventurine, especially if the latter has a high mica content.
Aventurine is also often more opaque than emerald specimens, which can make it easier to identify.
Two Beautiful Stones for Any Collection
Both aventurine and emerald are known for their stunning green colorations, and they can be a great addition to any collection.
Now that you know the differences between these stones, as well as what to look out for, you can start to more confidently identify them before purchasing.