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How to tell if your stone is natural or synthetic ?

If you're looking around the Internet for information about selling your gemstone, you have definitely come across stories of people who bought a gemstone, only to realize when trying to sell it that it's not exactly what they thought ! Most of beginning collectors and average jewelry fanatics are unable to tell the differences between a real gemstone, a treated gemstone, and a lab-created gemstone. 


When people use the term "natural", they are referring to a stone that is made in the natural world without any influence on its make-up by a human. This includes gemstones that are produced in the Earth and then mined.



Although a gemstone could be natural, it could also be treated or enhanced. This could mean that the gemstone was heated, which is a treatment, to increase the intensity of its color. This is especially common with sapphires. Another common treatment amongst gemstones is the practice of oil treating emeralds to bring the natural beauty of the stone.

Heat treating a natural gemstone is a very common and widely accepted practice in the industry. Today more than 90% or all natural sapphires are treated to enhance their clarity and color. 


Synthetic gemstones, sometimes called cultivated, man-made, lab-made, get their name because they are produced in laboratories. These labs use advanced techniques to recreate in a controlled setting the time, pressure, and temperature on carbon and different elements to produce different types of gemstones. What is the most interesting about synthetic stones is that scientifically, they are chemically identical in properties to the gemstones that are found in the Earth.


Because these gemstones are created in a lab in a controlled environment, they are often perfectly clear and do not contain any inclusions that are found in natural gemstones.

Although synthetic gemstones are often more visually perfect than natural gemstones, natural gemstones of high quality will always be more valuable than synthetic gemstones because of the nature of their rarity. For example, lab-created emeralds are very popular because of their deep color and lack of inclusions. Most natural emeralds are highly included, which makes their resistance to breakage low. This is one reason why synthetic emeralds are becoming popular in the jewelry market.


Because natural gemstones can range so greatly in price depending on their color and clarity, it is first important to determine if your gemstone is natural or synthetic. Although it is difficult to tell the difference without a microscope between a lab-created gemstone, a natural gemstone, and a treated or enhanced gemstone, there is one thing you could look for. Synthetic gemstones are more likely to be rich and vivid in color, and are virtually inclusion or blemish-free when you look at them. Almost always, natural gemstones will have some type of inclusion or color differentiation.

If you are looking to sell your gemstone, it is advised to include a certification of authenticity from an accredited gemologist. If you purchased your gemstone jewelry from a jeweler, they are required to disclose whether a natural gemstone has been treated or not. Although it is required by the jeweler, we will always recommend asking your jeweler if your gemstone is natural, or if it has had any treatments or enhancements. This way, if you ever choose to sell your gemstone, you will be knowledgeable and prepared.

If you think it's time to sell your jewelry or gems, trust us and ask for a free, no-obligation expertise.

Our gemologist experts are at your disposal for a free valuation!

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