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Imitations, Naturals and Synthetics

I recently was given a ring from my Grandma and was told that it was an antique diamond and aquamarine ring. When I brought it in to have it appraised, I was surprised to find out that it was actually an antique glass and synthetic spinel ring. I was told that the stones used were imitations. Can you explain the difference between a natural, synthetic and imitation stone?


A natural gemstone is a stone that is delivered to us from nature, with no interference from humans. They are formed through a combination of natural forces such as heat, pressure, chemical reactions, gravity and time. These are the most sought after stones that demand the highest prices.


A synthetic stone or a lab-created stone is a gemstone that has been grown in a laboratory and created by man. The processes that create natural gemstones are simulated in a controlled environment and regulated by man. Synthetic gemstones have exactly the same chemical makeup as their natural counterparts, but are created by man not Mother Nature.


An imitation or simulant is a stone that is used to simulate a natural gemstone. It can either be lab created or natural. An imitation has nothing in colon with the stone it is simulating except for its appearance. Some of the most common imitations are glass, plastic and lab created flame fusion synthetic spinel.


A well-qualified, trained graduate gemologist will be able to conduct the proper tests to distinguish between these three types of stones when brought in for an appraisal or gem identification. If you have a gemstone or a ring that you are questioning the authenticity of call and schedule your gem ID appointment today!