Emerald Photography


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3 min

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Gem-related Field
Three Important Facts Regarding Emeralds Photographing
Photographing emeralds is always a headache for photographers.
There are usually issues with the colors, brilliance, and cuts in the post-production.
I have prepared the essential information for achieving the most natural looks for your emeralds.

1) Make sure your aperture is between f8 and f10. If it is too high, you could be able to see too much through the stones, and some of the backgrounds behind it may be reflected. I usually set an F8 setting. Above f10, you will allow an excessive amount of light to reflect within your emerald, revealing subtleties that you may not even be able to perceive with the naked eye. Consider the f8 setting to be ideal.

2) Keep an auto-white balance. Even when photographing emeralds indoors, the color will be either bluish-green or yellowish-green. The color itself will be post-edited with a more natural tone. I tried every option on my DSLR but could not achieve any natural look. Shady, halogen and hazy white-balance won't change anything. At best, you will see some unusual effects on your LED screen, but it will be a hassle to edit your .raw files when you upload them to your computer.

3) Do not remove inclusions, chips, or dark spots. You should always avoid misleading your customers. Due to the previous oiling treatment, you may notice a yellowish undertone in your emeralds. Instead of deleting it, you should consider treating your emeralds once again!
Natural Light
It would be best if you avoided artificial lighting for your emerald photographs. Artificial light will reflect some details in macro shots within your emeralds that are not visible once set in a piece of jewelry.
By Benjamin Poudevigne, Marketing Manager @GemMatrix
December 16th, 2022
Emeralds & Inclusions
Clean emeralds are highly uncommon. Most of us will be shooting emeralds with inclusions (or Jardins), which is inevitable. Remember that when photographing gemstones, you will be shooting them from a very close distance (macro). It often works best for clean stones (spinels or garnets), as a close-up shot will accentuate the stone's beauty. Well, I've got some bad news. Emeralds are just the opposite :D

When you hold an emerald in your hands, you tend to focus on its overall appearance rather than its imperfections. However, their flaws become clearly visible when emeralds are shot up close. Consequently, it is usually a nightmare for us photographers.

The idea is to ensure that you can offer the viewer a positive overall impression if the stone is too included by setting it in a temporary jewelry ring or with a background that complements it rather than making it even darker.
Zambian Emeralds
Which Phone Should You Use To Shoot Emeralds?
Another option would be to capture emeralds with your phones, even for their promotions. Nonetheless, you must have noticed that online emerald videos captured indoors with any smartphone always appear strangely "dead" or bluish-green.

With iPhones, every emerald seems too dark inside, and the automatic color enhancement frequently reveals a strong pleochroism within the stone. The latest Samsung phones give a blueish tint to any emeralds, making them look like Colombian ones.

I tried every possible method for capturing emeralds, and the best phone I could find was the most recent Vivo phones, which takes fantastic photos and videos without distorting the hues of emeralds. They are not the best phone on the market (especially when photographing darker stones like dark sapphires or rubies), but it gets the job done! Try it out, and let me know what you think!
Russian, Brazilian and Colombian Emeralds (from left to right) with the last Vivo Phone
Three Other Things To Consider in Gemstone Photography
1) Remember that natural backgrounds are usually preferable to printed ones. And if you use printed materials, you will notice the printing paper's small, multicoloured dots. Natural backgrounds feature this flawless roughness you will never get in any artificial material (fake wood, fake marble...)

2) Aim through the table of your stone. If the cut is not perfect, you will notice windows within your stone if the camera is not perfectly aligned with the table. People want to see exactly how the stone shines when viewed directly through it from the top.

3) Do not modify the stone's saturation. Do not change the colour of a stunning red ruby with orange undertones in LightRoom. This is entirely pointless and will mislead your customer. Keep the colours unchanged. With the correct settings, a good DSLR will always catch the right hue of your stone.
Do not hesitate to send us a message if you have any questions about our stones! Our contact information is available at the bottom of this page.

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Benjamin Poudevigne
Social Media Manager at GemMatrix
With over ten years of marketing experience, I finally decided to settle down in Bangkok to work in an area that I have always been interested in: the gemstones industry. I'm still learning how the market works on a daily basis, and I enjoy sharing my experience with those who are interested in learning more about gems in general.