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Simulated stones verse real gems


#1

Do any of you believe that simulated gemstones have the same chemical composition as real gems


#2

Hi Donna you may be interested to read this it is reasonbly helpful. https://www.gemsociety.org/article/just-ask-jeff-what-is-the-difference-between-man-made-created-and-synthetic-materials/


#3

“Simulated” means similar to.


#4

Man-made stones can be “similar to” a natural stone, or actual identical in chemical composition, called “synthetic”.


#5

Donna,
I am surprised that no one has stated this yet…Simulated stones are made up of the same materials and chemicals as the real stones, look like the real stones and are getting good at almost fooling the experts. The one thing that has not been mentioned here, yet, is that the stones made by Mother Nature are just so much more…special. No matter what you like synthetic, heated, treated, oiled or all natural…enjoy the Gems.
All the very best,
Otter


#6

In gemology, a “simulant” is any material that is intended to look like or substitute for a natural gemstone. So, natural white sapphire, a true gem in it’s own right, could be used as a simulant for natural diamond. Likewise, CZ, a manufactured gemstone, could also be used as a simulant for natural diamond. The label “simulant” does not imply natural or manufactured in gemological usage.

In gemology, “synthetic” referes to a manufactured gem material with the same chemical and mineralogical properties as a natural gemstone. Synthetic sapphire is simply manufactured sapphire. Synthetic sapphire has all of the chemical composition and mineralogical properties as natural sapphire, though a very different origin.

So, using this standard gemological vocabulary, a synthetic white sapphire could be used as a simulant for natural white sapphire in a piece of jewelry.

NB: I always avoid the word “fake” when it comes to gemology. “Fake” does not help identify the stone, it is a judgement on someone’s intent and not the gem material itself. A red glass simulant for ruby is not a fake ruby, it’s red glass; calling it “fake ruby” just adds confusion. A dishonest seller may try to trick you into believing it’s natural ruby, but if you can identify it as red glass, the trickery ends.


#7

Outstanding response. Thanks


#8

Hi Peter,

A good summation for an interesting topic. I particularly like your characterization of the word “fake” as describing intent. Somewhere in my recent reading there was a quote to the effect of “stones don’t cheat people, people cheat people.”

I’m not so sure, however, that a synthetic stone qualifies as a simulant for its natural counterpart. A synthetic topaz or a synthetic diamond is still a topaz or a diamond. I’ll admit that I was stuck on this definition, and so did a little research. I believe the simulated or imitative aspect refers only to the species of stone and not its origin. Typically, what I’ve read is simulants have different properties and chemical compositions than what they imitate.

This is at least how GIA describes the difference: An Introduction to Simulants or Imitation Gem Materials. Walter Schumann in Gemstones of the World describes imitations as “…[imitating] the look, color, and effect of the original substance, but they possess neither their chemical nor their physical characteristics.”

Other less academic sources agree: Gem Rock Auctions, The Online Jeweller.

I hope this adds to the discussion.

-Alec


#9

Yes, I think you’re right: I was trying to emphasis the objective sense of “simulant” as being any stand-in for a natural stone & pushed it too far. Synthetics standing in for their natural counterparts would simply be described as synthetics since the distinction is one of origin and not chemical composition or physical properties.

So, to answer the OP directly – no, by definition, a simulated gemstone cannot have the same chemical composition as a natural gem. However, a synthetic gemstone will have the same chemical composition as it’s natural counterpart though it is a manufactured gem.