Home » Treatments and Enhancements for Emeralds Gemstones

Treatments and Enhancements for Emeralds Gemstones

Clarity Enhancement Substances

A natural emerald with no treatment enhancements is among the rarest of gems owned only by gem collectors. For this reason, virtually all emeralds in the world today have clarity enhancements before they are put in the market.  Due to the necessity to clean the emerald with acids and others chemical substances after the cutting process, this enhances the emerald’s appearance, but lowers its real quality.
Emeralds from all sources generally contain internal tiny fissures, imperfections considered as a part of the flaws, and emerald mining processes, such as the use of explosives and heavy machinery excavation, plus jewelry manufacturing and fashioning can cause additional fractures as well.  The filling of such surface-reaching features to make them less visible has been practiced for centuries, but if it weren’t for these enhancements, we wouldn’t know our gemstones as we do today, but would wear them as amulets and rocks like the Incas or Colombian aborigines before Christopher Columbus’ time.
Emeralds are always treated with oils and other fillers to enhance their beauty like sapphires, rubies and even diamonds.  This process  ‘softens’ the visible defects. These treatments require special care.  If anyone is offering you an untreated emerald, request the GIA or AGL (gemological laboratories) treatment certification.  This will ensure that you know the emerald’s origin, because oftentimes the seller doesn’t. 
Emeralds may lose the oils or fillers after a few years of wear. This is quite normal.  In this condition, the stones become quite brittle and are more fragile  and susceptible to cracking and breaking.
Oil Filling Fissures in Emeralds … An Ancient Practice
Hundreds of years ago, gemstone cutters discovered and pioneered the practice of bathing emerald gemstones in natural oils. This is referred to as the process of oil treatment for emeralds and was done to fill the fissures and enhance the appearance of the emerald gemstones. The oils seep into the natural cracks and fissures in the gemstone and ‘soften’ the appearance of these natural flaws.
Today, a few hundred years later, man has developed many other types of synthetic permanent filler that are used in the process.  Some of these have a longer life than those of the natural oils used in the days gone by and these treatments do not affect the value of emeralds.  On the contrary, the emerald never will change.  Be careful, however, to remember that only if the emeralds have not been refilled do serious visible fractures or cracks appear and threaten the gemstone’s integrity.  This is why the 10x magnifying loupe is so important to spot concealed hairline fractures.   See photos below.
Important Questions Today:
Is a permanent treatment with synthetic fillings better than using natural oils?  Yes because a synthetic permanent substance eliminates the traditional re-oiling of emeralds without diminishing its quality and value.  We use both treatments, depending on each individual gemstone and the preference of our customers.  There is no difference at a simple glance,  but only under microscopic examination.


We do not purchase these qualities of emeralds
Cracked emerald

This deep green color emerald has a severe deep filled fracture around the entire stone. May be held together by a small internal portion of the stone and supports by the synthetic sticky filling, but can very easily split in two parts.

Emerald fissure filling

This beautiful vibrant crystal medium-deep green color very good quality emerald has a synthetic filled hairline fissure only visible through a x10 magnifying loupe

synthetic filled cracks in emeralds

This medium-deep green color emerald has an almost non-visible fracture. It is deep and all around the stone. It can fracture and split into two parts at any time. There are also some pits.

Synthetic filled pit

This beautiful sparkling medium-deep green emerald has a deep filled pit. Its structure is strong, but when the filling begins to come out, there will be a large hole on the table which will be very noticeable.

Emerald pit filling

Deep green and dull emerald. Pit filling all around of the stone. All kind of synthetic filling will become visible very soon and then this emerald will have an appearance like Swiss cheese.

Surface reaching flaws

This medium-deep green emerald has deep surface reaching flaws as well as having fissures along them. Synthetic filling will come out shortly and the fissures will be much more noticeable.

heavily included emerald with black carbon spots

Medium-deep green color and dull emerald heavily included with black carbon spots

Heavy included emerald

Light–medium green color emerald. The material or beryl of the gem has a nice sparkling crystal, but it is heavily included.

Black carbon spots in emeralds

Black carbon spots in emeralds are from minerals trapped in the crystallization process.


1 Comment

  1. Lorin Helbling says:

    Thank you for these photos and accompanying comments. They were extremely helpful. I recently purchased an emerald ring from a large TV shopping vendor. The ring was very pretty, but the emerald had a rather long “crack” visible with a hand lens. The crack extended through the table of the stone; seemingly a broken stone just waiting to happen. Very disappointing, but these photos reinforced returning the ring was the correct course of action.

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