Natural vs Synthetic
is a synthetic gemstone? A synthetic gem
is created in a laboratory under controlled
conditions. The gem is grown from a natural
gemstone "seed". By controlling the environment
in which the gem is grown, impurities and
inclusions can be avoided which occur in
natural gemstones. The created stones have
perfect color and clarity which is so highly
desired. Most natural gemstones have imperfections
due to uncontrolled growing conditions in
nature. Synthetic stones will have the same
chemical, physical, and optical properties
of their natural counterparts without the
A good analogy for synthetic gemstone creation
is growing roses. Roses grown in a hot house
where their growing environment is controlled
will be closer to perfection than roses
that are grown in your backyard. They're
both roses, but the backyard rose will most
likely be flawed or imperfect due to disease,
insects, and other environmental impacts.
Not so with the hot house rose because of
the controlled conditions.
Don't confuse simulant gemstones with synthetic
gemstones. Simulants can be made up of any
substance, like glass. They are made to
simulate a particular gemstone, but they
do not have the same chemical, physical,
and optical properties of the natural gemstone
like the synthetic gemstone. Some examples
of simulants are cubic zirconia, moissanite,
and yttrium aluminum garnet which are diamond
The most popular gemstones that synthetics
have been created for are emeralds, sapphires,
rubies and alexandrites. I'm sure you have
seen jewelry with synthetic stones, also
known as "created" gemstones in your local
retail jewelry store. They are easier to
obtain and less costly than natural gemstones.
Synthetics have made it more affordable
for people to own nice jewelry and many
prefer the flawless created stones compared
to the natural stones. You can usually spot
a "created" stone because it's just too
perfect in color and clarity. A natural
stone, especially in rubies, sapphires,
and emeralds, which is perfect in color
and clarity, is scarce and the cost is beyond
most people's means.
Should you buy a synthetic gemstone or jewelry
with created stones over the natural gemstone
choices? I would recommend going with your
own personal preference. If you want a piece
of jewelry with a flawless, perfect gem,
then go with the synthetic gemstone. Also,
if cost is a deciding factor. As a collector/investor
my preference would be for the natural gemstone.
It's value and appreciation factor will
be much greater, flawed or not.
It's interesting that there are some gemstones
man has not been able to synthesize in a
laboratory. One example is the garnet family
of gems. They have not been able to unlock
garnet's secrets to create it in a lab.
How do I know if the gemstone is natural,
synthetic (created), or a simulant? If you
can't tell by your own examination...ask!
A reputable dealer or jeweler will be honest
about the origins of the stone. If they
don't know or won't say, then don't buy!
Another interesting fact about gemstones
that is not common knowledge to the public
is that the majority of gems on the market
have been treated to create or enhance their
color and clarity. There are many different
treatments used today. Heat treatment is
the most common and widely used. I have
written another article specifically regarding
gemstone treatments. You can go to Gemstone
Treatments to read more on the subject.
As a gemstone collector/investor, as stated
before, my preference is for natural gemstones,
but as an adornment in jewelry a synthetic
gemstone makes for a gorgeous ring, earrings
or pendant at an affordable price.
and read more about gemstones by purchasing
Debra's E-book titled "A New Collector's
Gemstone Guide" at http://www.profitfromhomebiz.com