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Humankind has been enamoured with gemstones since time immemorial.  When it comes to fine jewellery, gemstone are routinely sought after to create unique and stunning jewellery designs. However not all gemstones used in jewellery are natural. The words natural, simulated, synthetic can make it confusing to shop for gemstones.  Here is an explanation of the different types to help you pick the kind that best suits your budget and requirements.

Natural Gemstones

Natural gemstones are found in the natural world without the influence of human intervention. These gemstones are mined from the earth or found naturally occurring in the water.  When compared to their synthetic counterparts, natural gemstones have the added charm of rarity. A natural pearl picked from the ocean will be many times more expensive than its synthetic counterpart.  Similarly, a natural sapphire is of premium value compared to a lab created sapphire because of its rarity.

Simulated Gemstones

A simulated gemstone is one that is misrepresented to look like another gemstone. Simulants are also called imitations, faux, and fakes. Glass pieces and connected stones are sometimes used to imitate natural gems. Some jewelers may also misrepresent natural gemstones for example, a garnet cut to look like a ruby. While a garnet simulating a ruby may be a real garnet, it is still not a genuine ruby. The way to find the authenticity of a gemstone is by doing a full gemological inspection.

Synthetic or Created Gemstones

Synthetic gemstones are the ones that are not naturally found; these are “created” in laboratories. These are also called “artificial,” “lab-grown,” “lab-made,” “man-made,” etc. There are many processes for making synthetic gemstones and these synthetic gemstones can be inexpensive as well as very expensive. Some synthetic stones are chemically and visually identical to their natural counterparts. Synthetic emeralds are great examples as these lab created emeralds are real emeralds but not natural emeralds. Don’t assume that an old stone is a natural stone.

So whichever type of gemstone you pick, be aware of the different types and if in doubt, consult a certified gemologist.


Reference Credit: Jeff R. Graham