Tips for stone care

How to determine whether a stone is natural or not?

Natural hard rocks are used in a variety of areas of life. But the most extensive of them is jewelry and handicrafts. Today, more and more art lovers prefer jewelry made from natural stones. Beads made from Turquoise, Amethyst, pearls and other gems are widely used in needlework. But is it possible to be 100% sure of their naturalness? To check this, you need to know how natural minerals differ from artificial ones.

How to distinguish a real stone from a fake?

There are unique methods that allow you to determine the reality (the naturalness of a gem). They are based on knowledge of the unique properties of stones, and today we will try to understand how to distinguish a real stone from an artificial one by examining several popular minerals. There is no clear answer to the question of how much a real stone costs. Because stones are different. The most expensive of them are those that are officially considered precious. However, this is not what this topic is about. Now it is important to figure out how to understand that the stone is real. Being aware of this, you will be able to accurately determine the value of the mineral.

How to check whether a stone is real or not

Often people involved in the jewelry industry have to deal with different imitations of stones. These simulated minerals are very similar to natural stones. It is very difficult to distinguish them visually from each other.

The most commonly imitated stones, and ways to distinguish natural from artificial

Turquoise – the most leading stone in imitation. Genuine turquoise is a very rare breed. This explains the fact of leadership among fakes. There is only one way to check whether a stone is real – place it in clean water for a while, the mineral will absorb moisture and change color if it is natural. Pomegranate – a stone that has its name for a reason. It is no larger in size than a real pomegranate seed. And this is its first distinguishing feature from a fake. Another way to distinguish a pomegranate from an imitation:

  • Place the mineral on the metal scale;
  • Move a magnet over it;
  • The weight of the stone will be less if it is real, as it tends to become magnetic.

Aquamarine – very famous in the field of handicrafts. From it, in particular from aquamarine beads, they create the most beautiful jewelry (beads, etc.) To find out whether aquamarine is natural, you need to look at the stone from different angles. When natural, the stone will change its shade depending on the angle you look at it from.

Pearls are determined to be natural very simply. Experts recommend putting the bead in your mouth. If the stone is natural, it will leave a salty taste in your mouth. If sellers express vehement dissatisfaction in response to your request to check the mineral, this will be evidence of the presence of a fake in front of you.

Dyed jasper or synthetic spinel – none of these fakes can compare with the deep and pure color of natural lapis lazuli. You can recognize this miracle of nature only by one shade. It is soft and at the same time rich. However, if you have doubts, you can resort to another way to check:

You need to place the stone in (clean) water. If afterwards the water takes on a tint, then it is a fake.

Be careful when purchasing natural stones, and it is better to purchase them from trusted places. Large selection of beads made from natural minerals here .

General methods for testing natural stones

– Defects. Perfection is not nature’s trump card. Therefore, if the stone is smooth and without flaws and looks beautiful, then most likely it is a fake;

– Natural stones do not heat up for a long time and are quite cold to the touch. If you bring a gem to your cheek and it quickly becomes warm, it means it’s an imitation;

– Excessive brightness and uniformity of shade are a clear sign of a fake stone;

– The presence of bubbles in the structure of the stone indicates its laboratory origin.

Do you have decorations made from natural stones at home? Check, perhaps you are not the owner of natural minerals, but their imitation.

Determining whether a stone is genuine or not, whether it has been ennobled or not, is sometimes quite difficult even for a specialist. Therefore, gemstones often require a gemological examination – this is a study using professional equipment. It can be carried out for any stones.

Types of Gemstones

There are several classifications. One of them includes precious stones of the first category (gems) and colored stones of the second category.
Gems are divided into three classes:

  • First. These are diamond, emerald, sapphire, ruby ​​and other stones;
  • Second. These are, for example, topaz, amethyst, aquamarine;
  • Third. This includes turquoise, transparent rock crystal, and amber.

Coloreds are divided into two classes:

  • First. Lapis lazuli, jade, rhodonite, etc.;
  • Second. Jasper, selenite, agalmatolite, etc.

There is a simpler classification: precious stones, semi-precious and ornamental. The first two types of minerals are characterized by a transparent structure. It is these stones that are called gems. But ornamental stones are usually opaque and have a slight tint.

Why is gemological examination needed?

There are many fakes of all types of stones on the market. For example, in the jewelry industry the following techniques are common:

  • positioning products as overpriced antiques;
  • artificially grown diamonds are positioned as natural;
  • carry out heat treatment of stones.

Gemological examination of stones is required not only to determine whether they are fake. Treated stones are often passed off as untreated. Both product options are precious and have a high price. But untreated stones have a richer color, are more valuable and are rare. Their prices are higher.
In general, even untreated stone undergoes cutting and polishing. Refinement is a type of processing that improves the consumer properties of a stone (for example, making it more attractive in appearance). Popular options for such processing: dyeing, coating, bleaching, heat treatment, impregnation, pressure.
But when ennobled, it is still precious. And there are full-fledged fakes that only imitate real stones. The peculiarity of imitations is that they are similar in appearance to precious rocks, but consist of a different material. For example, cubic zirconia is often used for imitation – an artificial stone that is made in the laboratory. Another type of fake is compound stones. These can be both natural and synthetic, as well as other materials (for example, glass).
By the way, synthetics themselves may be quite in demand. For example, artificial rubies and sapphires were previously used even in Faberge products. But it is important that the manufacturer immediately voices the fact of the presence of artificial nature in its products, and does not try to increase the price by offering synthetic stone as natural.
The same applies to refined stones. There is nothing wrong with gentrification itself. Let’s say that ruby ​​is almost always additionally processed. This is normal for this stone. It’s another matter when the stone is processed using different methods, but is offered as not refined. Therefore, to more accurately determine the cost of minerals, a detailed analysis is necessary.

How is gemological examination carried out?

Professional assessment of the authenticity of stones is usually performed in a laboratory. The analysis is carried out by gemological experts. For this purpose, special jewelry equipment and spectrometers are used – devices that can determine the chemical composition of materials.
Spectroscopic methods are best suited for gemological analysis. With their help, it is possible to determine whether the product has been processed and whether it is natural. In other situations, research allows you to find out what methods of influence were used. When evaluating stones, it is possible to analyze a variety of parameters: their mass, color gradation, cut quality, etc.
The procedure is performed according to the following algorithm:

  1. Inspection of the product, stone or insert. Diagnosis of its condition and appearance. Weight determination;
  2. Analysis using detectors and testers;
  3. Research using sophisticated instruments for testing precious stones – spectrometers;
  4. Then a classification of quality parameters is made. It is determined how well the object meets the required characteristics (whether the stone is genuine, whether processing was used).

The cost of analysis depends on the volume of the task, the type of stone and other parameters. The more characteristics that need to be checked during the examination, the more complex and time-consuming it will be.

Stone testing equipment

An accurate determination of quality is only possible using professional devices. One such example is the L365 Express Raman Analyzer, a state-of-the-art device for performing luminescence spectroscopy.

The advantages of the model:

  • The spectrometer is portable and can be used not only in the laboratory;
  • High speed. The analysis is carried out immediately, which significantly saves time on examination;
  • Possibility of application not only in gemology, but also in other areas: geology, mineralogy, chemical industry.

An important advantage of the L365 model is that even though it is professional equipment, even an inexperienced laboratory technician can use it. The interface is very easy to learn.
Also, instant identification of gemstones can be done using the R532 portable Raman analyzer. It is capable of identifying raw minerals, opaque minerals, as well as high refractive index minerals and various gemstones in jewelry. The R532 is an indispensable tool for instant diagnosis of rare gemstones when analysis using standard gemological methods is not suitable or time consuming.
The next equipment used for such tasks is the M532 microscope. With it it is possible:

  • qualitatively examine mineral, gas-liquid and solid inclusions;
  • identify aggregates in precious and semi-precious stones;
  • determine the genesis and deposit through liquid phase analysis;
  • carry out diagnostics of stone refining.

RamMix M532 combines the capabilities of the InSpectr R532 Scientific Edition Raman analyzer and the Olympus CX-41 microscope, adapted for both transmission and reflection measurements. When using a second laser – 785 nm, it is possible to create a system that will cover the solution of most problems in gemology. This system can be used to work with emeralds, corundum group minerals, identify and confirm diamonds grown by the HPHT method, identify H2 defects in diamonds, etc.
Our devices have no competitors on the Russian market, and they are much cheaper than foreign analogues. Even in comparison with other domestic manufacturers, prices differ for the better for the customer. The reason is that the Spektr-M company is the only manufacturer based in Russia, so the cost of the device is the lowest on the market.

One example of using the L365 spectrometer

When processing emerald, its cracks are filled with special compounds. Thanks to the use of fibers that supply radiation to the crystal and remove it from the crystal to the spectrometer, it is possible to carry out analysis not only with an individual cut stone, but also with a miniature crystal in a finished jewelry piece of any complexity and shape, regardless of the type of frame.
All equipment comes with a warranty card. The device is as simple to use as possible, and thanks to its small size it is easy to carry. For details, please contact our managers by calling 8 (496) 255 80 20.

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