Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Liar Liar Pants on Fire: Imitation, Synthetic, and other Man-Made Gemstones

As with anything worth a pretty penny, gems (especially the big '4' – diamonds, rubies, sapphires, and rubies) are prone to imitation and... 'dark-dealings', (ooh yes, I said it.. dark dealings.)

So when putting down a large wad of cash on that which twinkles.. make sure, as always.. that you are dealing with a reputable and trusted jeweller. And remember – if it seems too good to be true, it always is.

Synthetic Stones

These stones are laboratory grown stones that exhibits essentially the same physical, optical, and chemical properties as their natural counterparts.
Formed under laboratory conditions, these stones are created using extreme pressure and heat.

While these gems are much, much cheaper then their natural counterparts (which is often the tip off that something just doesn't smell right) they are usually more expensive when compared to other fakers.

Imitation Stones

These stones are not necessarily laboratory grown stones, but are materials used to replicate the appearance of a costly stone, without having the same chemical composition. This ranges from stones such as synthetic white sapphire and cubic zirconia in place of a diamond to ceramics and glass. The history of imitation stones dates back hundreds of years, and of course we are all familiar with the rhinestone - originally crystal found along the Rhine that evolved into glass with a metallic backing.

Assembled Stones

This method is often reserved for specific types of gem stones, specifically opals and turquoise. Assembled stones are exactly as they sound – multiple layers or combinations of manufactured and/or natural materials fused, bonded, of joined together to imitate the appearance of a natural gemstone. In the case of an opal, it can exist as a solid stone, a doublet, or a triplet.
Doublet - when two layers (a black backing often made from plastic, glass, or inexpensive black potch and a thin layer of opal) are glued or fussed together.
Triplet - when three layers (a black backing often made from plastic, glass, or inexpensive black potch, a thin middle layer of opal, topped with a clear glass, quartz, or plastic) are glued or fussed together.
Reconstructed Turquoise - Pulverized turquoise that is fussed together.

All in all.. these man-made gems are worth next to nothing. With absolutely no resale value, unless they are of historical importance.. or are set in a gold or platinum setting, (and yes.. they do exist..) and then, they are only worth their setting.

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