How to Choose Gemstone
You only have to know this: there are real gems (impossible to get), there are synthetic gems (99% are these only) and then there are imitation/fake ones (made by plastic or glass and difficult to recognize).
It can be difficult to differentiate among natural, synthetic and imitation gemstones for a common man like you. Even experts can fail easily! It is pure gamble as you have to trust the seller (whomsoever) but you can never be sure what you have paid for and is it worth?
Here is the difference which will shock you – A natural pearl harvested from the ocean can be hundred times more expensive than its synthetic counterpart created in a lab! So, if you have paid Rs. 7,000 for a pearl gem; you can easily assume the real one would be around RS 7,00,000…shocking? Read more about the complex world of these gems.
The term Natural refers to a gemstone that is found in the natural world without human touch such as gemstones mined (most of them) from the earth as well as those discovered in the water such as pearls and coral. These are very-very rare to procure. A natural gemstone could have still undergone treatments and enhancements to change its appearance and make it look attractive as natural gemstones are very raw and rough. For example this is how a mined diamond will look like:
For example a Sapphire that was heated to intensify color or natural diamond that has been laser drilled. In the Unites States, the FTC has specific legal guidelines around selling of these gemstones. For example, all treatments to natural gemstones should be disclosed prior to the sale of the stone. You can ask your jeweler if a gemstone is natural or treated. However, in India we do not have such strict regulations.
These are the most common and 99.9% possibility is that you are wearing one! 99% Pearls are synthetic or cultured (farmed) pearls. An x-ray is required to determine if pearls were formed naturally or were cultured. Lab-created Rubies and Sapphires are widely found in the current jewelry market and so are lab created Emeralds. Synthetic Diamonds are still very expensive option.
Synthetic gemstones are also sometimes referred to as “Cultivated”, “Cultured” and “Man Made”. Synthetic gemstones are physically identical with same physical properties and chemical composition to their natural gemstone counterparts that you cannot make a difference. The sole difference is that these are gemstones that are grown and manufactured in laboratories under controlled environments. Being man-made, these stones are very lower priced than natural ones.
These are the real headaches! Made of plastics, glass, resin and dyes, to imitate the color, shape or look of a natural gemstone. These gemstones can only be identified by a qualified gemologist in lab. Below 3 stones are imitation gems.
These stones look very identical but they do not have the same chemical or light refracting properties. And to increase the pain you will find these glass and plastic gemstones ranging from sapphires to opals. Other than trying to mimic a color or similar characteristic, they have no actual chemical similarity to the synthetic or natural stone.
Natural gemstones are beautiful but very rare and can make a stone much more valuable. Synthetics are the ones available in the market and way cheaper than natural ones. But beware with imitation stones….totally useless!!useful links