Tips for stone care

How do synthetic stones differ from natural ones?

Natural gemstones (English gemstones) are of natural origin. This group also includes stones of organic origin: pearls, corals, amber. It is customary to call the more common specimens in nature semi-precious stones, but the main role in the definition is played not by the name of the mineral, but by its quality. For example, turquoise or green garnets will cost more than a diamond in some cases. The criteria by which a stone is classified as precious: beauty, rarity in nature and durability (strength). Synthesized (artificial) jewelry stones – grown wholly or partly by humans in a laboratory. One of the most popular in this category cubic zirconia stone. They replicate the crystal lattice, chemical composition, and optical properties of natural minerals, often surpassing them in quality: purity, hardness and color. The first attempts to grow synthetics were in Ancient Egypt, but ruby ​​is officially considered the first stone created artificially. This happened in 1910. In the USSR, mass production of synthetics began in the 1960s. Remember grandma’s jewelry with raspberry stones? These are not natural rubies at all, but synthesized corundums. Although many found out about this only in a pawn shop, trying to get a decent amount for “home treasures”.

How artificial stones are made

There are different methods for growing synthesized stones: 1. Verneuil method for ruby ​​and sapphire, spinel – melting a special powder in a hot flame. 2. Czochralski method for spinel, garnets and alexandrite – growing from a seed (natural stone) by melting and slowly drawing out the crystal. 3. Flux method for rubies, sapphires, emerald, spinel – an expensive and long process of crystallization as a result of evaporation of the melt (flux + natural seed), temperature changes or slow cooling. Flux is a solvent in the form of lead, boron or salts. 4. Hydrothermal method for emeralds and aquamarine, sapphire and quartz – implies imitation of the natural processes of stone growth under conditions of high temperature and pressure. 5. CVD — growing diamonds in a vacuum chamber, during which carbon atoms are deposited on a special diamond seed due to a chemical reaction. 6 NRNT – a method of creating diamonds under conditions of high temperature and pressure. These are not all methods known to science, and the process of many of them remains secret. But all growing methods come down to one goal – to recreate and significantly speed up the process of crystal growth based on natural raw materials under artificial conditions. Hydrothermal stones – synthetic minerals grown by a special method, when crushed natural material and other components are placed in a special solution, then in a vessel with thick walls, where the structure of the stone is recreated using temperature and pressure. A crystal forms after the solution cools from the vessel. For example, beryl crystals are used to create hydrothermal emeralds. Imitation – any stone, both artificial and natural, that is used to replace a jewelry insert. Glass, plastic and other materials are also used as imitation. Sometimes doublets are also used: a glued copy from precious and artificial mineral. That is, the main goal of imitation is to repeat the appearance of the stone, while their structures and properties may be different. One of the popular simulation options is nanosynthetics. These are stones created from a glass-ceramic substance based on two elements: aluminum and silicium. Minerals are obtained through the crystallization process of glass. Most often, transparent colored specimens can be seen as nanostones: emeralds, tourmalines, sapphires, rubies, sultanites, topazes. You should not perceive unnatural stones as an “enemy” and call them fake. A fake is everything that the seller did not disclose on the jewelry tag and in the documents. In other cases, you get exactly the same stone, but created artificially.

Why natural gemstones are better than artificial ones

Here everyone must determine for themselves. The main difference is that the former are born in natural conditions. The process can take hundreds of years until a unique crystal is formed with its own characteristics: inclusions, color, structure and often imperfections, cracks, bubbles, which make each specimen one of a kind. This is where the belief in natural stones as talismans was born. In most cases, artificial stones are ideal: they have a uniform bright color or impeccable transparency, no chips or cracks, or foreign inclusions in the mineral. Grown by humans in the laboratory, they are cheaper than natural ones, which still have to be mined.

How to distinguish artificial stone from natural

How to find out natural stone or artificial? Not at home. And it’s high time for all writers of life hacks on the Internet to come to terms with this fact. Firstly, you should not play a gemologist – a specialist in stones who has received a specialized education. If everything were so simple in identifying fakes and natural stones, everyone could become an expert.

Buy products from trusted stores whose website provides maximum accurate information, and be sure to read the decoration tag before purchasing in a store or delivery office. If you decide to purchase jewelry with stones online, check with the manager if the information in the product card is not enough for you

Secondly, there is no need to spoil stones using traditional methods using vinegars, acids, salts or iodine. Even if the stone is artificial, it has its advantages and price, which should not be neglected. If you want to know its origin for sure, contact the Gemological Center, where, using a microscope, refractometer and other devices, specialists will be able to diagnose what kind of stone you have. Author: Garashchenko Anna Winemaking artificial stones began in the second half of the 19th century. And the first experiments in creating synthetic gems began to be carried out by alchemists back in ancient Egypt. They dreamed of creating analogues of natural stones and obtaining “untold riches.” All secrets were kept in the strictest confidence. But in those days, practically nothing was known about synthesis and attempts were unsuccessful. First synthetic stone became a ruby. It was created by the French chemist M. A. Verneuil in 1892. After ruby, sapphire, alexandrite and garnet were synthesized. In the post-war period, such stones began to become increasingly popular. Quite often in the 60s of the XNUMXth century in Russia, gold jewelry with artificial stones was passed off as natural. The most common were, of course, rubies. Russian women really liked the play of light and the rich color of this stone. Even now you can find jewelry with artificially grown stones that have been passed down from generation to generation. Today, almost all minerals known in nature are synthesized in laboratories. As a gemologist, I note that their quality is very high and practically does not differ from their natural analogues. Natural untreated stones Most buyers perceive synthetic or artificially grown jewelry stones as an inexpensive counterfeit of natural precious stones. This statement is far from the truth. Let’s find out why. Firstly, synthetic stones are superior to their natural counterparts. In many respects they are almost ideal. Modern technologies make it possible to obtain stones without foreign inclusions, cracks, turbidity and other defects that reduce their value. Secondly, only an experienced gemologist and only with special equipment can distinguish such a stone from a natural one.

What is the difference between natural and synthetic stone?

Today, when the production of synthetic stones has reached such a high level, even the most experienced buyer does not always know what product he is purchasing. But there is no need to worry about this. The advantages of synthetic stones are obvious: they are cheaper, easier to process and in the production process itself. Thanks to them, manufacturers can quickly fill the market and create unique, large products, which is not always possible to achieve with natural stones. Don’t be afraid of man-made gemstones. The value of natural stones today is only in “unity with nature,” and artificial stone will always be “in shape” and no less beautiful And if earlier artificial stones bore little resemblance to precious stones, today they differ to a greater extent from natural ones only in price. On synthetic jewelry stones They make a perfectly correct cut, which is not always possible with natural stones. Sometimes the master tries to preserve the weight of a natural stone as much as possible and makes compromises with quality when cutting. Therefore, the artificial stone will have a maximum refractive index, which means it will “play” at the slightest ray of light. Equipment for growing synthetic diamonds Artificial stones are more comfortable to wear. They do not react to oily environments, while natural ones fade from contact with the hand or body and require treatment with special solutions to restore shine. Synthesized ruby, spinel, emerald or sapphire cannot be distinguished from natural analogues – technologies make it possible to achieve the desired “expensive” color, purity and size. To please particularly demanding customers, manufacturers even create synthetic stones with specified parameters that are as close as possible to natural ones. That is, a synthetic jewelry stone is grown not with ideal characteristics, but with “natural” imperfections: small inclusions, cracks and defects.

Synthetic stones are produced in two ways:

  • in large quantities in factories under high pressure and temperature. This is the cheapest method, the resulting stones cost accordingly;
  • in laboratories in small batches. This is how the most valuable certified stones are created.

3 simple ways to distinguish an artificial jewelry stone from a natural one?

  1. If the stone and its price are too good to be true, you can assume that this is a synthetic specimen.
  2. Take the stone to an independent, experienced gemologist. Gemological tests will give an answer with a high, although not 100%, probability. We have already said that synthetic stones are very similar to natural ones.
  3. A responsible manufacturer, especially for well-known jewelry brands, always indicates the nature of the stone and its characteristics in the product passport or stone certificate.

Zlato.UA has a huge selection of products with artificial and natural stones. We hope our advice will help you make the best decision and you will find “your” stone. Or maybe, despite all the beauty of synthesized jewelry inserts, give preference to diamonds and pearls created by nature.

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