Of Naturals, Synthetics & Stimulant Colored Stones

As discussed in the previous post (Of Colored Stones, Precious & Semi Precious Stones), one would have a better understanding on the global terms used in jewelry or gemstones.

Often, we come across the word ‘fake gemstones’. This is a generic term used by layman, for example, a fake diamond might refer to any other gemstones which are not diamond but resembles a diamond, and perhaps sold by some unscrupulous dealers as ‘real diamond’. Or a fake jade bangle might be referred as a jade bangle which has been impregnated with color resins.

Here, in this post we shall discuss what is a Natural, Synthetic and Stimulant colored stones (or gemstones).

Natural Colored Stones

A Natural Colored Stone is formed by Mother Nature without human help.  Most of these are minerals produced by Earth’s rock forming processes and may take millions of years, or perhaps billions of years for its formation.  Corundum (rubies and sapphires), Beryl of which the most important colored stones of Emerald and Aquamarine belongs to this class, or jadeite jade are natural colored stones.

Others may be of a once previous animate being, that is, a living organism which has being fossilized, or being buried due to the earth’s geological movement, an example of which is the ammonite jewelry.

There is also another class of natural colored stones formed by plants, for example amber, which are formed by the hardening of plant resins.

Pearls or cultured pearls and Precious corals (especially red coral, which are rare and can command a high price) are harvest from the sea is also another important category of organic colored stones.

Synthetics Colored Stones

A synthetic colored stone is a gemstone that is grown in a laboratory, or constructed through technological processes. Synthetic colored stones have all similar chemical, optical and physical properties as those of the counterpart of natural colored stones.  The only difference is that synthetic colored stones are man-made while natural colored stones are produced by Mother Nature.

Synthetic diamonds are produced by a few processes, notably HPHT (High Pressure High Temperature) or the CVD (Chemical Vapor Deposition). 

Synthetic rubies and sapphires are quite commonly produced under lab-controlled processes.  These gemstones are called lab-grown or lab-created gemstones.  Other popular synthetics are synthetic emerald, synthetic quartz and synthetic spinel.

Stimulant Colored Stones

A stimulant is an imitation that is almost a look-alike to the natural gemstones.  Glass and plastic are the most popular material for making imitations.  Hence, a calcite dyed green bangle is often imitated as a jade bangle or a green quartz as a jade cabochon.

Knowing the differences in describing a colored stones as natural, synthetic or stimulants will help you in your understanding of basic gemology.

Photo credit: gia.edu, rough-polished.com, durhamrose.com, Wikipedia.com, cosmosmagazine.com, yasminroohi.com

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