Green Garnet vs Emerald: Which is Better?

Green Garnet vs Emerald: Which is Better?

Let’s talk about emeralds and green garnets. They’re like two peas in a pod – both stunning and unique in their own way. It’s like choosing between a fancy green cocktail or a refreshing green smoothie, both delicious and satisfying.

Emeralds have a smaller range of green hues, but they come in a wide price range, so there’s an emerald for every budget. On the other hand, green garnets are like the rarest of unicorns, hard to come by but definitely worth the hunt.

Emerald vs. Green Garnet

Curious about how emeralds and green garnets differ from each other? Well, you’re in luck! This article will explore and contrast these two stunning green gemstones while also addressing common inquiries such as:

  • How uncommon are green garnets?
  • Are man-made emeralds uncommon?
  • Why is there such an extensive range in emerald prices?

Differences between Emerald and Green Garnet

  • Green garnets are rare, although emeralds are widely available.
  • Green garnets are often untreated, whereas emeralds are virtually always treated.
  • Green garnets can range from light to dark green, whereas emeralds are typically medium to dark in color.
  • Green garnets are semi-precious, whereas emeralds are precious stones.

Origin – Emeralds vs. Green Garnet

Although emeralds and green garnet have the same hue, they are both mined in completely different locations. Let’s explore.


The emerald, known for its striking color and rich history, is a highly sought-after green gemstone for engagement rings. It has been around for centuries, like garnets, but is considered one of the four most valuable gemstones globally, along with sapphires, rubies, and diamonds.

The gemstone emerald belongs to the mineral beryl family, which also includes other popular gems such as morganite and aquamarine. Emeralds, specifically, are the dark green variation of beryl, distinct from the lighter green variety known as green beryl.

READ MORE: Best Aquamarine Engagement Rings

Throughout history, emerald jewelry has been highly favored by royals and people of high status, such as the elegant Cleopatra. While emeralds are no longer commonly sourced from Egyptian deposits, they are still mined in several countries, including:

  • Ethiopia
  • Afghanistan
  • Colombia
  • Zambia
  • Brazil


Green Garnets

Garnet is a well-known gemstone, particularly as the January birthstone in its red form. However, while red garnets are commonly found in fine jewelry stores, other types of garnets within the same gemstone family often go unnoticed in daily life.

READ MORE: Best Red Gemstones

Did you know that the garnet mineral family comes in a wide range of hues? Additionally, many species and mixtures of garnet exist and they all belong under the same color category. Great examples of this include green garnets.

Green garnet gemstones can be created from a variety of garnet species. The most well-known stones made of green garnet are:

  • Mali Garnet
  • Topazolite
  • Grossular Garnet
  • Hydrogrossular Garnet
  • Tsavorite Garnet
  • Uvarovite
  • Demantoid Garnet

Green garnets, being relatively rare, are not widely known to the public. These gems are found in only a handful of locations worldwide, including Kenya, Madagascar and Tanzania.

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The grading of emerald color is a complex process, contributing to the wide range of prices for these gemstones. Generally, faceted emeralds are translucent to transparent, with the most valuable stones being those that are completely transparent.

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For fine quality emeralds, the desirable color consists of a medium tone with 10-15% bluish green secondary hues, reflecting the traditional appearance of prized Colombian emeralds. However, emeralds can also exhibit hues ranging from apple green and dark green to bright blue-green. Although less valuable, emeralds with yellowish-green secondary hues can still be attractive to many.

Colombian Emerald, No Oil


Blue Green Zambian Emerald


Emeralds are one of the few gemstones that can maintain their quality despite having inclusions. While high-clarity natural emeralds are rare and costly, the types of inclusions found in emeralds are often considered part of their aesthetic appeal.

These inclusions, often resembling a web of vines growing within the emerald crystal, have earned them the nickname “jardin,” the French word for “garden.” The emerald cut is the most favorable shape for showcasing the beautiful green hue of this stunning May birthstone, as the flat table and wide surface area allow for optimal color distribution and saturation.

There are very few untreated, natural emeralds. You may anticipate that most naturally occurring emerald gemstones in the jewelry industry have undergone treatments to enhance their color or clarity. Some gemstone treatments are deemed acceptable and don’t significantly affect cost or worth. It is accepted and permanent for emeralds to have been heated or exposed to radiation.

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However, not every emerald therapy is suitable. Oiling is one of the most popular emerald treatments. Although it is not permanent, oiling can significantly enhance the color of emeralds. There are several levels of lubrication. The oiling on an emerald must be restored by a jeweler when it fades, thus it is preferable to select stones without much oiling.

The most uncommon and expensive emeralds are those that are bluish green in color and untreated.

Imitations and Synthetics

Synthetic emeralds distinguish themselves from treated natural emeralds in that they are produced in a laboratory rather than being extracted from the ground. Through the simulation of the necessary conditions for emerald formation, scientists are able to replicate the process and create emeralds artificially.

Lab Created Emerald
Natural Treated Emerald

Through the incorporation of trace amounts of chromium and vanadium, scientists can generate synthetic emeralds that possess identical characteristics to natural mined emeralds. Furthermore, lab-grown emeralds typically exhibit superior clarity and transparency compared to natural counterparts, featuring minute needle-like impurities within their crystals rather than the traditional vine inclusions. These imperfections are undetectable to the naked eye.

Various green-hued gemstones and materials are often utilized as emerald simulants. The most frequently encountered substitutes include green-colored cubic zirconia (CZ) and glass. Other alternatives comprise Tsavorite garnet, Demantoid garnet, epidote, malachite, and green sapphire.

Green Cubic Zirconia Simulated Emerald for $15 on Amazon


Green Garnets

A multitude of green garnet species exists, each yielding a unique green shade. The specific variety of green garnet determines the resulting hue. For instance, the green coloration of demantoid garnets stems from chromium. Similarly, tsavorite garnets acquire their emerald green hue from minute quantities of both chromium and vanadium, which mirror the natural coloration of genuine emeralds.

Demantoid Garnet

Yellow-green hues are produced by both Mali garnet and topazolite garnets. Among Mali garnets, the yellowish-green specimens command the highest value. Hydrogrossular garnets, on the other hand, generate opaque, light-green gemstones that can mimic the appearance of jade.

Green garnet stones are often preferred over emeralds due to their comparatively lower cost. Demantoid and tsavorite garnets are gemstones that exhibit colors similar to emeralds. Tsavorite garnets, with their ideal saturation of emerald green hues, can imitate the 10-15% bluish-green coloration characteristic of Colombian emeralds, and are exclusively found in East Africa.

Grossular garnets showcase a spectrum of colors, encompassing a highly valued light mint green shade known as Merelani mint garnet. However, the most elusive green garnet is uvarovite, which is hardly ever available as a faceted gemstone. Typically, it appears in the form of druzy crystals within mineral specimens. These green crystals flaunt a striking deep coloration and can also exhibit a bright green hue.

Green garnets are known for their impressive sparkle, thanks to their high refractive index. This attribute gives them an edge over emeralds in terms of brilliance. The fire effect is most visible in light and bright green hues, whereas darker green gemstones tend to diminish the sparkle. However, if you prefer darker green hues, it’s worth considering the tradeoff, as they can still yield exquisite green gems.

Merelani Mint Garnet
Druzy Uvarovite & Rare Cubic Crystal

The clarity of garnets varies significantly among species and varieties. Red garnets typically exhibit high clarity, while orange garnets tend to feature numerous inclusions. Generally, green garnets fall somewhere in between. Demantoid garnets, in particular, are renowned for their fascinating horsetail inclusions, which add character to the green stone rather than detracting from its beauty.

Garnets are hardly ever subjected to gemstone treatments, unlike emeralds. In fact, unlike several other gemstones, their crystal structure produces a crusty residue when heated.

Green Colored Glass Imitation for Green Garnet or Emeralds

Imitations and Synthetics

While lab-created green garnets can be found on sites like Etsy, it’s rare to see them in high-end jewelry stores, as they are considered semi-precious stones. Synthetic green garnets are considerably less expensive and possess the same properties as their natural counterparts.

Green garnets are highly sought after for their beauty and are often used as a substitute for emeralds. Other gemstones and materials can also be fashioned to imitate the appearance of green garnets, although it’s uncommon for other green gemstones to do so. Instead, green glass or brightly hued cubic zirconia are more commonly used as substitutes.

Price – Emerald vs. Green Garnets

Valuing and pricing emeralds is a complex process, which is why there are specialists, dedicated to this task. When purchasing a high-priced natural emerald, it’s crucial to obtain a gemstone certificate from a reputable laboratory, such as GIA certification, to ensure its quality and reveal any treatments it may have undergone.

The most valuable emeralds are transparent and possess the bluish green hues of Colombian emeralds without any treatments. A treated emerald of this caliber would typically sell for $9,000 to $13,000 per carat with excellent clarity. Meanwhile, an untreated 3-carat Colombian emerald could fetch a staggering $82,000.

5.26 carat, Green, COLOMBIAN Muzo Emerald, Cushion Shape, Minor, CD & MUZO


Emeralds that exhibit more translucency and less transparency are generally less expensive, with a price range of around $500 for a one-carat stone. However, these emeralds are often treated to enhance their color and still considered genuine.

Compared to high-quality emeralds, all green garnets are considered rare, but they are not priced as high. The cost of green garnets increases as the carat weight goes up, with those exhibiting a saturated green color and balanced tone being the most desirable.

For instance, demantoid garnets weighing one carat typically cost around $1200, with high-quality, well-cut stones fetching even more. Tsavorite garnets of high quality, on the other hand, may cost around $800 for a one-carat stone, with those exhibiting bluish-green hues priced even higher.


A 1-carat Merelani mint green garnet can be purchased for about $200, making it a bargain for such a rare shade of green garnet. Other yellow-green grossular garnets can be purchased for around $600 for a 1-carat green gemstone.

The extremely rare uvarovite is priced at a very affordable $2 per carat, but it is only available in apple green druzy crystal specimens.

Value – Emerald vs. Green Garnet

Emeralds are a popular gemstone choice for engagement rings as an alternative to diamonds, but they are less durable. Nevertheless, with appropriate care and protection, emeralds can endure for many years.


While it is not recommended to wear any precious or semi-precious gemstones in prolonged sunlight, emeralds are not particularly susceptible to damage from heat or sunlight. Additionally, emeralds have better scratch resistance than green garnets, with a rating of 7.5-8 on the Mohs hardness scale. Although they are not as hard as diamonds, sapphires, or rubies, emeralds will hold up better against dust.

mohs hardness scale

The wearability of an emerald is largely dependent on its clarity and any fpr it has undergone. For instance, emeralds that have been heavily oiled may begin to look less appealing as the oil wears off with regular use. To ensure that your emerald ring lasts for a long time, it is crucial to properly maintain it.

The influence of inclusions on the sturdiness of a gemstone can differ. In general, inclusions do not significantly impact the durability of a gemstone unless they are blemishes on the surface. This principle applies to diamonds as well. Nevertheless, emeralds deviate from this norm due to their copious inclusions. If an emerald lacks high clarity or is not lab-created, the existence of inclusions can render it vulnerable to chipping or cleaving when struck accidentally. As a precautionary measure, safeguarding the edges of emerald engagement rings with a prong or bezel setting is recommended to avert damage.

In contrast, the durability of different types of garnets can differ. Nonetheless, garnets are generally considered to have good wearability, and with appropriate upkeep, an engagement ring with garnets can last for a considerable period. This makes them an appealing choice for individuals seeking a durable and attractive engagement ring. Before purchasing a garnet engagement ring, it is recommended to investigate the specific variety to understand its durability and any specific care guidelines.


Overall, when choosing a gemstone engagement ring, it is important to consider both the stone’s beauty and its durability. While some gemstones may be more prone to damage than others, proper care and maintenance can help extend the life of the ring. Additionally, selecting a durable setting such as a prong or bezel can help protect the stone from damage.

Conclusion – Emerald vs. Green Garnet

Emeralds and green garnets both offer unique and beautiful green hues, making them excellent choices for those seeking green gemstones.

While green garnets are rarer than emeralds, emerald quality can vary significantly and comes with a wider price range. Both gems are suitable for everyday wear, but emerald engagement rings should be given extra care with protective settings.

On the other hand, green garnets may not have the same scratch resistance as emeralds, so they should be regularly cleaned if worn often. By understanding the differences between these two gemstones, you can confidently choose the one that suits your needs and preferences.

Ultimately, the choice between emeralds and green garnets comes down to personal preference and budget. Both gemstones are stunning and unique, and offer a range of beautiful green hues to choose from. With proper care and maintenance, either stone can make a beautiful and lasting addition to any jewelry collection.

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