Genuine vs Synthetic vs Imitation Gemstones: What's the Difference?
Gemstones, to describe them very simply, are just mineral crystals or rocks that are found below the surface of the earth’s crust. They are usually quite costly, and are therefore referred to as precious or semi-precious stones. The distinctions vary from country to country, but generally, diamond, ruby, sapphire, and emerald are called precious stones, while all other gemstones are referred to as semi-precious gemstones. The common features of all the precious gemstones are that they are rare, have high quality, translucent to the correct degree, and have a hardness of at least 8 on the Moh’s scale, which leads to its durability. When mined directly from the earth’s crust, these gemstones are referred to as natural gemstones or genuine gemstones. Their formation and growth has no human intervention at all.
Because natural gemstones are usually very costly, there are several other options that have been made available. One of them is called synthetic gemstones, and is actually laboratory grown. The same elements are used to make these laboratory grown gemstones as the natural variety. The ambient conditions of temperature and pressure are also kept similar to those which are seen during the formation of natural gemstones. Because of these reasons the physical and chemical characteristics of synthetic gemstones are almost identical to those of mined gemstones. Another difference is that laboratory grown gemstones can be produced in as much quantity as needed, without causing any harm. But mined gemstones are found in limited quantities, for which there is a lot of damage to the environment and ecology. Also, being produced in the laboratory by human intervention, the laboratory grown gemstones have almost no inclusions or other imperfections. Naturally mined gemstones have all manner of imperfections in size, shape, inclusions, translucence etc. The synthetic gemstones are also referred to as cultivated or cultured gemstones.
Another form of gemstones that are often sold and bought are the imitation gemstones. Unlike the cultured gemstones, they do not use the same ingredients. Imitation gemstones are made just by using cheaper alternatives like resin, glass, plastic and differently colored dyes. These cheaper raw materials are made in such a way that their look resembles that of the gemstone they seek to replace. But if the quality of craftsmanship is good, then a layman might not be able to distinguish an imitation gemstone from a natural or cultured gemstone. The stones used to imitate the real gemstone are often referred to as the simulant. For example, cubic zirconia is a commonly used simulant for diamond, because they look similar.
Distinguishing Genuine Gemstones
If the jeweler is candid upfront with you, then you know which ones are genuine, cultured, or imitation gemstones. The manufacturers of cultured gemstones usually inform that beforehand, but the problem is more with the imitation gemstones. The best way to distinguish is to remember that natural gemstones are just like humans – they are God’s creation, and are likely to have some or the other flaws. If you come across a gemstone which is perfect in all respects, you can make out that it is a cultured gemstone, or maybe even an imitation gemstone. If we take the example of a pearl, a commonly used technique is to pop the pearl inside their mouth and see if it has a gritty feel to it, in which case it is real. Like we said above, a fake pearl will be much smoother and more perfect.
Buy from Reputable Online Jewelers
If you are not aware of how to distinguish a fake gemstone from a natural or cultured one, then you should go to a reputable online jewelry store like Giliarto, where you are told about the history and provenance of the gemstone in advance.
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