How to distinguish a natural stone from its imitations and its synthetic "test-tube brothers."

What are the characteristics that a precious stone must have to define itself as quality? In reality, man has attempted to imitate natural stones since ancient times.

Synthetic material can be abridged in these three types:

  • colored monocle;
  • Compound materials;
  • Artificial stones;

Both the use of colored glass and composite materials are not recent discoveries. The first productions date back to Roman times.


Artificial gemstones have physical characteristics different from the imitated natural materials and therefore allow easy recognition. The "braces, triplets represent the composite material."

The last challenge, synthetic products

Imitated stones are the newest product of man and are not a sensible replication. With the synthesis process in the laboratory, it is possible to produce rubies, sapphires, emeralds, loose gemstone, and anything else having the same physical and chemical characteristics as natural ones.

Sometimes these processes are very expensive and limit their production as happens for the synthetic diamond for which it is preferred to use similar synthetic gemstones but not existing in nature such as YAG, GGG, cubic zirconia, and synthetic moissanite.

Some compare these products to vitamins, and there are natural ones (which of course cost more) and non-natural ones produced in the laboratory.

Artificial vitamins and synthetic stone have a similar chemical arrangement as their corresponding natural item. Therefore they cannot be defined as simple "imitations."

Synthetic products are complicated to recognize, but they differ from the natural ones!

There is a difference between the mother nature product that has spent millions of years producing a crystal, and that originated in a few weeks by man.

The first products were more easily recognizable, but nowadays, we must make them think of their perfection or the production of stones too beautiful to be exact!

Inclusions and fractures are not always negative:

Some natural resources are normally incorporated and cracked. Inclusion of a tiny crystal, e.g., in ruby, can point to both its source and its birth.  The total absence of enclosure should create us believe above all if we are assessing materials that in the environment are usually included, such as emeralds and rubies.

Attention to detail:

The shape, the type of cut, and the care in the polishing of the artificial gems are other elements that can suggest us to be in front of a synthetic.

Large stones, for example, emerald, are hardly available in brilliant round cuts. The same is true for other stones that are commonly cut with oval or mixed cuts. Often the cutter modifies the classic cut to recover more material from the raw stone and enhance its color, and this causes an asymmetry in the cut.

The price:

Generally, the synthetic stones are sold at very attractive prices, and the stones certainly present themselves very well, but pay attention to the deal! Therefore we have to buy loose gemstones.

No test is worth the word "natural" on a gemological certificate:

The tests that a gemologist must do to distinguish a natural stone from a synthetic one are many because often one is not enough to distinguish them. It is for this reason that a precious gemstones supplier prefers the stone with a microscopic inclusion over the pure one since that small inclusion is considered the clue and irrefutable proof of the naturalness of the stone.

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