When did synthetic gems hit the market?
As far as we know this practice goes back to the ancient Egyptians. They were known to use glass and porcelain to imitate their sacred gemstones such as lapis, turquoise and coral.
In 1902 the Verneuil process was mastered to create synthetic rubies. These were originally created for the watch industry to use in the mechanical (wind up) watches for the “jeweled” movements. A good watch usually had a 17 jeweled movement. Eventually these rubies were created for jewelry as well.
In 1935 the diffusion process was used to create the synthetic emerald. Major companies such as Chatham as well as others then used this method.
Today these companies use the flux fusion method to create their gorgeous synthetic rubies, sapphires and emeralds. This process leaves inclusions in the stones that mimic natural inclusions. Only a highly skilled gemologist can identify the gem as being synthetic or natural.
Synthetic gems have the same chemical and physical properties as their natural counterparts. They are grown in labs as opposed to nature. All synthetic stones should be sold to consumers with full disclosure.