Differences between natural and synthetic Gemstones

Did you know that any gemstone can be classified as real whether it is natural or created in a lab as long as it contain an identical mineral make up of the actual gem? That’s right, synthetic gemstones are classifies and sold as real even though they might not be naturally occurring.  To be labelled as natural by the sellers and jewellers, it must have been produced by a natural process and found in nature.

Knowing the differences between the two will not only leave you informed about the type of gemstones you are buying but also ensure you get your money’s worth.

Natural gemstones

This refers to gemstones that are produced or found in the natural worlds and without any influence from human activity.  For instance, they are gemstones found naturally occurring in water like pearls and corals and those mined from the earth like natural emerald. 

They are rare and have that allure that makes them different form synthetic gemstones.  Natural occurring gems like pearls are hundreds of thousands more expensive when compared to their synthetic counterparts.

Treated/enhanced gemstones

A gemstone could be completely natural but go through an enhancement or treatment. This means that the gemstone went through major heat treatment to increase the color intensity or other processes. The heat treatment is common with the sapphires.

 Oil treatment is also a common enhancement.  Oil treating natural emeralds brings out the shine and natural beauty of the stone. Another way is laser drill to remove inclusion which is common among diamonds. Heat treatment is the most commonly accepted practice. Sometimes it is very beneficial, for instance it turns tanzanite blue from brown.

Synthetic/ lab generated/grown or created gemstones

Synthetic stones are also called man mad, lab created, lab made or cultivated.  People use advanced lab techniques to recreated the gems I a controlled temperature on carbon, time setting, pressure and different added elements.

One interesting thing about synthetic gems is that they are chemically and scientifically identical to the natural occurring ones. the growth within the controlled environment reduced the inclusions and allows for a more vivid color to grow. Typically, they are way cheaper than their naturally occurring counterparts.

How can you tell the difference between a natural occurring and synthetic gemstone?

Natural gemstones range in price depending on color and clarity.  This is why you should know if the gem is synthetic first.  It is difficult to tell the difference between the natural occurring and synthetic gemstones without a microscope. The two main things to look for are the inclusion and the color hue of the stone. Some commonly found synthetic gemstones include

Sapphire and rubies- they are widely available in the jewelry market.  Synthetic ones have vivid colors and fewer inclusions when compared to naturally occurring ones.

Pearls- cultured pearls are made by introducing foreign substances into the oyster so they can produce the pearl you can detect if the pearl is real through the an x-ray.

Emeralds – lab emeralds have a deeper color and fewer inclusions when compared to the natural ones.

Diamonds- synthetic diamonds are still quite expensive which does not make them that different to the natural occurring ones investment wise.