Home Amethyst How to Tell If Green Amethyst Is Real?

How to Tell If Green Amethyst Is Real?

by Madonna

Green amethyst, also known as prasiolite, is a captivating and increasingly popular gemstone. Its unique color and relative rarity make it a desirable choice for jewelry enthusiasts and collectors alike. However, with the rise in demand, the market has seen an influx of both natural and synthetic green amethyst, as well as outright fakes. If you’re considering purchasing green amethyst, it’s essential to know how to determine if the gem you’re eyeing is genuine. This article will guide you through the key aspects of identifying real green amethyst, providing you with the knowledge to make an informed decision.

Understanding Green Amethyst

What is Green Amethyst?

Green amethyst, or prasiolite, is a variety of quartz. Quartz is one of the most abundant minerals on Earth, but green amethyst is relatively rare. The green coloration in amethyst typically arises due to the presence of iron and the gemstone’s exposure to natural irradiation. Most of the green amethyst available on the market today is produced by heat-treating amethyst or citrine, as naturally occurring green amethyst is quite scarce.


The Difference Between Amethyst and Prasiolite

It’s important to note that “green amethyst” is a bit of a misnomer. Amethyst, by definition, is the purple variety of quartz. The term “green amethyst” is widely used in the jewelry industry, but the correct name for this gemstone is prasiolite. Understanding this distinction can help prevent confusion and ensure you’re using the right terminology when discussing or purchasing these stones.


Physical Characteristics


The most obvious characteristic of green amethyst is its color. Genuine green amethyst typically displays a range of green shades, from pale green to a deeper, more saturated green. The color should be consistent throughout the stone, although some variations and zoning can occur due to natural formation processes.


Clarity and Inclusions

High-quality green amethyst is usually eye-clean, meaning it does not have visible inclusions to the naked eye. However, like all gemstones, it can contain some inclusions. These inclusions might appear as tiny bubbles, needles, or other mineral inclusions within the stone. While inclusions are not necessarily a sign that the gemstone is fake, their presence and nature can provide clues about the stone’s authenticity and origin.


Green amethyst can be cut into various shapes and styles, just like other gemstones. The quality of the cut can affect the stone’s brilliance and overall appearance. A well-cut green amethyst will have even facets that enhance its natural beauty and color. Poorly cut stones might look dull or have uneven facets, which can detract from their visual appeal.

Testing for Authenticity

Visual Inspection

Start with a visual inspection of the gemstone. Look for uniformity in color and clarity. Natural green amethyst will often have slight variations in color and may contain minor inclusions. If the stone appears too perfect or has an overly vivid color, it might be synthetic or treated.

Refractive Index

One of the most reliable ways to test the authenticity of green amethyst is by measuring its refractive index (RI). The refractive index of quartz, including green amethyst, ranges from 1.544 to 1.553. You can use a refractometer, a common tool among gemologists, to measure the RI. If the gemstone falls within this range, it’s likely to be genuine quartz.

Spectroscope Analysis

A spectroscope can help identify the presence of certain elements within the gemstone. Natural green amethyst typically shows an absorption spectrum indicative of iron content. Synthetic stones or other green gemstones might display different spectral lines, helping to differentiate them from genuine green amethyst.

Distinguishing Natural from Treated Stones

Heat Treatment

As mentioned earlier, most green amethyst on the market is created by heat-treating amethyst or citrine. Heat treatment is a common and accepted practice in the gemstone industry, but it’s important to know if the stone you’re buying has been treated. Treated green amethyst can still be beautiful and valuable, but it should be priced accordingly.

Natural Prasiolite

Natural prasiolite is rare and can command higher prices. It typically has a more subdued green color compared to treated stones. If you’re specifically looking for natural prasiolite, it’s crucial to purchase from reputable dealers who can provide certification of the stone’s origin.

Spotting Synthetic and Fake Stones

Synthetic Quartz

Synthetic quartz can be manufactured to mimic green amethyst. While synthetic stones share the same chemical composition as natural quartz, they often lack the natural inclusions and subtle color variations found in genuine green amethyst. Laboratory-created stones are usually more consistent in color and clarity.

Glass Imitations

Green glass is another common material used to imitate green amethyst. Glass can be colored to match the appearance of prasiolite, but it has different physical properties. For instance, glass is generally softer than quartz and can show signs of wear and scratches more easily. Additionally, glass typically has bubbles and swirl marks that are not found in natural quartz.

Plastic and Other Substitutes

In some cases, unscrupulous sellers might try to pass off plastic or other low-quality materials as green amethyst. These materials are significantly softer and lighter than genuine quartz. They also lack the characteristic brilliance and clarity of a real gemstone.

Professional Authentication

Gemological Laboratories

For high-value purchases, it’s wise to get the gemstone tested by a professional gemological laboratory. Reputable labs can provide a detailed report on the stone, including its chemical composition, treatments, and origin. Certificates from recognized laboratories, such as the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) or the American Gemological Laboratories (AGL), can give you confidence in your purchase.


Having a qualified gemologist appraise your green amethyst can provide additional assurance. An appraiser can offer insights into the stone’s value, quality, and authenticity. They can also help you understand the market value of both natural and treated green amethyst.

See Also: Does Green Amethyst Fade?

Practical Buying Tips

Purchase from Reputable Dealers

One of the best ways to ensure you’re getting a genuine green amethyst is to buy from reputable dealers. Established jewelers and gemstone suppliers are more likely to provide accurate information about their products and offer certification. Avoid buying from unknown sources or those with questionable reputations.

Ask for Certification

Always ask for certification when purchasing green amethyst, especially for higher-value stones. A certificate from a recognized gemological laboratory provides an independent verification of the gemstone’s authenticity and details about any treatments it may have undergone.

Educate Yourself

Knowledge is power. The more you know about green amethyst, the better equipped you’ll be to make an informed purchase. Take the time to learn about the gemstone’s properties, treatments, and common imitations. This knowledge will help you ask the right questions and understand the answers you receive from sellers.


Determining if green amethyst is real involves a combination of visual inspection, understanding its physical properties, and utilizing various testing methods. While the process can seem daunting, arming yourself with the right knowledge and tools makes it manageable. Whether you’re a collector, a jewelry enthusiast, or simply someone looking to buy a beautiful gemstone, these guidelines will help you navigate the market confidently and ensure that you are getting a genuine green amethyst. Remember, when in doubt, seek the advice of a professional gemologist to authenticate your gemstone and provide peace of mind.


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