Rare and valuable minerals

How to determine whether a garnet stone is real or not?

Ruby is one of mankind’s favorite stones. Jewelry connoisseurs know that purchasing this stone does not represent a single investment. The natural gem sparkles like a diamond in bright light and shows various shades: from dark red to purple. To ensure that your purchase does not become a disappointment, you need to ensure the authenticity of the stone. This article will help you with this.

ruby properties

To be able to distinguish natural rubies from synthetic stones and imitations, you need to understand a little about the physical and chemical properties of the red gem. Firstly, the hardness of a ruby ​​is 9 on the Mohs scale, which is almost the same as the hardness of a diamond. This means that rubies are very durable stones that remain intact after being dropped or hit and are not susceptible to scratches or chips. Secondly, the chemical structure of the gem produces unusually smooth edges during the cutting process – the processed gem will not receive depressions and convolutions. Thirdly, natural specimens, as a rule, contain a number of impurities that slightly reduce the transparency of the stone. Flawless specimens of incredible purity can most often be found at auctions; they are rarely sold in ordinary jewelry stores. The jewelry house Maxim Demidov is an exception; in our catalog you will find jewelry with rubies of exceptional quality.

Synthetic rubies

Densely colored, crystal clear – such rubies are very expensive, often more expensive than diamonds. Synthetic specimens have the properties of the best nuggets, but cost tens of times less. The low cost of artificial stones is associated with their reserves – new gems are synthesized in laboratories literally every day. Therefore, there can be no question of any uniqueness or investment value here. Artificial rubies flooded the jewelry market at the beginning of the last century, when Verneuil’s laboratory presented the first samples of synthetic red gems. Therefore, some of these stones may be more than 100 years old, because they were distributed in the countries of the East and exchanged for real rubies by employees of the Verneuil laboratory. For this reason, tourists should be especially careful when purchasing supposedly natural gems at a low price.

Imitation rubies

  • pomegranate – this stone is very close in color and brightness to ruby, but its brilliance falls far short of corundum. If you hold a garnet up to the light, it will not sparkle as beautifully as rubies do.

External similarity between ruby ​​and garnet

  • tourmaline – this stone comes in different colors, including red varieties that can pass for a ruby. Sometimes gems can only be distinguished in a laboratory under ultraviolet light: tourmaline will turn orange, while ruby ​​will remain red.

External similarity between ruby ​​and tourmaline

  • red glass – painting glass a ruby ​​color is not difficult, but it is impossible to fake the play of light, and besides, the glass will quickly give itself away due to the fragility of the material; scratches and chips will quickly form on it.
  • glass + ruby – such a combination is also possible, its image on the screen of mixing glass with mineral residues after processing rubies. Only specialists can identify such a fake, since in appearance it is very similar to the original.

Mixing ruby ​​with glass is a fairly common practice. Sometimes stones are simply refined using a glass composition, when cracks in the mineral are filled with lead glass – in this case, the result is a specimen, although of low quality, but still natural. If you install too much glass, then it becomes unclear what predominates in the manufacturers: ruby ​​or additives. It’s good that in this case the gem is very cheap – around $30 per carat – so identifying the imitation will not be difficult.

How to distinguish a ruby ​​from synthetics, imitations and fakes

There are several ways to check the authenticity of a stone. Some of these methods are used at home, the other part – in the laboratory.

  1. The easiest way is to pour some water into a transparent glass container and immerse the stone in it. If it glows with red rays, it means the gem is real.
  2. The next technique is to hold the stone up to the light. A natural ruby, like a diamond, will sparkle with hundreds of shimmers. In this case, the side to which the lighting is directed will glow with a dark red light, while the opposite side will glow with a pale and dull light.
  3. You can check the stone using a regular magnifying glass. If you see ordered inclusions inside the mineral, then you are probably looking at a true ruby. This method is especially good for recognizing synthetics.
  4. For synthetic origin of the stone, it can be tested under ultraviolet light. Natural rubies do not change color, but synthetic rubies take on an orange tint.
  5. Many people notice that natural gems remain cool for a long time when held in their hands. Artificial stones or glass very quickly absorb the heat of the human body.
  6. Most fakes are lighter than natural stones. The high hardness of rubies also affects their weight – these stones feel quite heavy. If jewelry with a red gem seems too light to you, this is a reason to think about its authenticity.

So that you can be sure of the quality and quality of the stones you purchase, pay attention to the documents and tags attached to the jewelry – there should be a note about the composition and origin of the stone.

All jewelry from Maxim Demidov undergoes a special examination by expert gemologists in production, confirming its authenticity and origin.

The rubies in Maxim Demidov’s jewelry are created by nature itself and processed by brilliant craftsmen. With rubies decorations! You can evaluate in our catalog right now.

Semi-precious garnet is often counterfeited. In addition to cheap imitations, there is artificial or synthetic garnet on the market. This is not considered a fake unless it is specifically presented as a natural gem. What types of cultivated garnet are there and how can you determine whether the garnet stone you are looking at is natural or artificial?

Pomegranate substitutes

Garnet, or pyrope, began to be counterfeited hundreds of years ago when it became popular and fetched good money for it. The scammers who counterfeited the Czech variety of pyrope became more famous than others. They achieved heights in imitation, and the manufacturing technology, spreading throughout the world, helped flood the market with cheap goods.

Underground jewelers use glass and plastic to fake garnets. Cheap minerals are also suitable, but in this case they are rarely used, because natural pyrope is relatively cheap.

For the mass production of fake garnets, the so-called “garnet glass” was even invented. Cut glass replaces natural gems and is used in jewelry. Some fakes are high quality and sell for the price of a natural mineral.

Artificial garnet, photo: Can Pac Swire

Artificial garnet stone

Garnet stones artificially grown in chemical laboratories are not considered fakes.

Hydrothermal garnet

Such specimens are cultivated from small particles remaining after processing natural stone. The obtained grains differ from natural grains in their larger size, uniform, without inclusions, color, and high-quality cut. Artificial growth of crystals leads to such characteristic features of growth lines as arcuate and ring-shaped segments, straight lines. Synthetic stones are identified by them. And they are not magnetized or electrified, unlike natural ones.

Growing pomegranate in specialized laboratories of the Soviet Union began in the 50s of the last century. Russian synthetic gem – pink, purple, yellow. Production is still common today. Hydrothermal technology is expensive, so the cost of an artificial analogue is close to natural.

Synthetic garnet is widely used in jewelry, either as pyrope itself or as an imitation of ruby.

The most popular artificial materials, especially used in technology, are yttrium-aluminum (YAG), gallium-gadolinium (GGG), gadolinium-gallium-scandium garnets (GGSC), and lithium niobate.

It is yttrium-aluminum garnets that imitate jewelry stones. Without the addition of impurities, they are colorless and strongly resemble diamond. Adding chromium gives green, manganese gives red, and titanium gives yellow. Green YAG is difficult to distinguish from natural demantoid. However, it is not difficult to check the authenticity of synthetic grenades, including YAG.

Monocrystalline gadolinium gallium synthetic garnet is transparent, has a brownish tint, and is highly shiny. But it is not hard enough to gain fame as a jewelry material. GGG has special physical characteristics, due to which it is used in quantum paramagnetic amplifiers and high-power lasers, in magnetooptics, microelectronic technology and other areas.

Sitall garnet – what is it?

Sitall is a material obtained by volumetric crystallization of glass under hydrothermal conditions. In other words, super-strong glass. Here is the answer to the question: is sital garnet a natural stone? Used in construction, industry and jewelry.

Sitall is beautiful, durable, resistant to acids and ultra-high temperatures. It is transparent, can be of any color, and is almost not damaged mechanically. At the same time, it is cheaper than natural analogues.

If the label of a piece of jewelry is marked “sitall garnet,” this means that you are dealing with an artificially produced stone with high quality characteristics and the appearance of a natural mineral. Instead of the word “ceramic glass,” the designation “GT” is possible. This is what the natural garnet stone is called in the certificate of conformity for jewelry.

Nano garnet – what kind of stone is it?

This man-made material is similar in properties and composition to natural material. Produced in laboratory conditions. To grow pomegranate, ideal temperature and pressure are created here, and all the necessary chemical components are taken. Since accidents are excluded under carefully observed laboratory conditions, nano stones have virtually no inclusions.

The price is significantly lower. At the same time, the appearance is impeccable, without the slightest defect. And they sparkle brighter because harsh natural conditions have not harmed them.

Synthetic garnet ring, photo: Andrea Hamilton

How to determine authenticity

A sample for comparison is natural garnet. The pebble resembles a real pomegranate seed, which is where it got its name.

The classic color of the mineral is dark burgundy. But in nature there are gems of other shades: red, green, red, purple, even black. Only blue garnet was not found. The color of the natural mineral is heterogeneous; there are blurred areas, specks, and inclusions.

The structure of the stone is complex molecular. The base is silicon oxide; the additives are manganese, magnesium, aluminum, chromium, and calcium. Despite the heterogeneous composition, the properties of different types of garnet are similar. It has a very high hardness – 7.5 and an average density – 3.4-4.3.

How to distinguish from a fake by sight

Using a magnifying glass, examine the specimen in the light. Evaluate size, transparency, color.

A pebble of a natural gem is comparable to the grains of the corresponding fruit, that is, small. If it is much larger, you should be wary: large specimens are very rare, have their own name, are very expensive and do not go on sale.

The shine of natural garnet is muted, slightly matte. The synthetic fake shines perfectly over the entire surface.

The color is different, but in all cases it is not uniform. The ideal color depth is inherent in synthetic material or glass. Natural ones have different color densities.

The authenticity of the crystal will be revealed by small cracks, specks, chips, and inclusions. The synthetic material is free of any defects. Gas bubbles are found in glass specimens.

Natural garnet refracts on its edges, shimmers with different shades from the inside, and plays in the sun. A fake will not demonstrate this.

It’s important

To be sure to recognize whether the stone in front of you is natural or not, you need to be well acquainted with 100% genuine samples. They need to be seen “live”, touched, studied. Then, when “communicating” with a fake, no mistakes will occur.

Evaluate the cut of the stone. Garnets are available in emerald, princess and round cuts. It is not cut into a “pear” or a “pillow”.


Another test method is mechanical impact on the material being tested. Real garnet is very hard. It can damage a mirror, glass, or leave a mark on a less hard stone. Glass or plastic will themselves be damaged when undergoing such a test.

The garnet becomes electrified when rubbed. If you rub it with a piece of wool and bring it to a sheet of paper, it will be attracted. Synthetics are not electrified.

If you take a pomegranate in one hand and a fake one in the other, you can easily feel the difference. The stone is heavier. It heats up with difficulty and stays cool for a long time. Glass, plastic, and synthetics immediately heat up from the warmth of your hand.

Sometimes the test specimen is thrown into boiling water. Natural stone is not afraid of this test, but a fake will dissolve or lose its shape.

How else to distinguish natural garnet from artificial stone? There is a Hodgkinson method for identifying the authenticity of precious and semi-precious stones. You need to bring the specimen being tested literally closer to the pupil and look through it into the light. There will be many reflections inside. By rotating the mineral, you can see tiny rainbow images in each of them. So the pomegranate is real.

How does a garnet stone differ from a ruby?

There are fakes of pyrope, but it is sometimes passed off as more expensive stones, most often as a ruby.

So, ruby ​​and garnet stone, how to determine which is which?

Outwardly they are really similar, but the garnet is a darker and denser red color, more likely even burgundy.

In earlier times, red gems – rubies, garnets, spinel – were not particularly distinguished. And now they are often confused. However, they differ significantly in composition and properties.

  • Garnet is from the silicate class, ruby ​​is from oxides.
  • The red color is formed in them differently: magnesium gives it to the garnet, chromium gives it to the ruby.
  • Rubies are harder than garnets.
  • Ruby glows like a diamond, while garnet has a dimmed, soft, shimmering glow.

To more accurately distinguish between gems, use a magnifying glass, magnet, dichroscope, or UV lamp.

Thanks to a dichroscope, you can see whether a crystal changes color when a beam of light is directed at it. If it changes, it’s a ruby.

In the light of a UV lamp, a ruby ​​glows orange; its counterpart does not change shade.

Under a magnifying glass, needle-shaped inclusions are visible inside natural rubies. It will scratch crystal and topaz, garnet will only scratch crystal.

And ruby ​​is not magnetized.

So, let’s summarize. There are plenty of fake pyrope jewelry on the market. To avoid buying glass or synthetics at a high price, carefully study how to identify natural stone and fake. If the above methods do not help, contact a gemologist.

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