What is the difference between Natural and Synthetic Gems?
Many people know about the existence of natural and synthetic stones, but what is the difference between them other than the price, could you tell?
Natural gemstones are those formed by nature without human involvement, over the years. They are two types of Natural gemstones, one are the inorganic origin similar to minerals like ruby, sapphire, aquamarine, diamond, etc whereas organic origin are the animal or plant origin such as pearl, amber and coral.
Some of these beautiful gemstones are rare and scarce; therefore it needed to be produced artificially in laboratories, thus came the synthetic gems, which are like “clones” of natural gemstones. These synthetic gemstones are produced from natural gems, which are pulverized and the material thus obtained is melted and recrystallized, under conditions which vary depending on the process used. Because they are obtained from natural material, they have similar physical properties (color, brightness, density, refractive index, hardness, etc.) as the natural gems. Similar in appearance, they can even deceive the experienced gemologist eyes sometimes though use of Gemological microscope makes it possible to identify their synthesis.
Here I would like to clarify that synthetic gemstone is not artificial gem. In Gemology there is a big difference between these two types. Synthetic stone is produced in the laboratory, but it has a natural counterpart on the other hand artificial gem does not; It is totally invented by man, not having a natural match.
An example of artificial gem is the cubic zirconia, which does not exist or at least was never found in nature, but is an invention of man. The less demanding consumer may not value this difference, but it is rather important as it copies the look and color of the real stone but does not have the same physical and chemical characteristics.
Buying jewelry can be fun, exciting and expensive. Whether you’re thinking on buying a gift of jewelry for someone special or as a luxury for yourself, take some time to learn the terms used in the industry so you can get the best value and quality, regardless of whether you’re buying in a traditional store, by catalog or on the internet.
- The first attempts to synthesize gems were caused possibly by the scarcity of lapis lazuli in Egypt around the year 4000. B.C., when the Egyptians tried to turn steatite in lapis lazuli using heating treatment.
- Synthetic quartz is being used to improve time precision in watches.
- Synthetic diamonds of small size are used in industrial abrasives.
- Synthetic sapphire is used for dental correction apparatus, manufacturing tiny spheres of 0.5 mm diameter for ball point pens and is also used in record player needles.
- Synthetic gemstones take 6 to 12 months to get ready. And only after that period they are ready to be lapidated.