There is no synthetic cotton or silk. There are artificial
fabrics, not synthetic fabrics.
That would depend on how you’re using the word synthetic. Indeed,
there is no synthetic cotton or silk. At least not yet. But there ARE
synthetic fibers. Used to describe the somewhat broader term of
fibers, from which cloth can be made, synthetic versus natural fibers
is a perfectly fine use of the term. Likewise, natural or synthetic
fabric is fine, so long as the exact type of fiber is left open. In
this case, synthetic is referring to the man made origin of the
fiber, and the main definition of interest is the fibrous nature of
the synthetic, allowing it to be made into synthetic fabrics serving
similar functions to natural fabrics, without going so far as to
delve into the chemistry of the fiber itself. In gemology too, there
is a limit to how far we ask the duplication to take place. Synthetic
gems, while chemically and crystalographically the same as the
naturals, may still have differences in inclusions, color banding, or
other structural features that do not interfere with the basic
gemological identification of the material. With the fabric, perhaps
the essential identification is in the performance of the fabric,
which can, if made the right way, end up performing the closely to
the same way as some natural fabric would do.
The problem in this particular thread of discussion is that it’s
crossing from one nomenclature family to others. A fauilt sometimes.
of the nature of language. Synthetic as refers to gems, has a precise
meaning when referring to gems, as defined not by the standard
universal dictionary, but more importantly, by the gemological
community, the users and definers of the terms of gemology. To bring
fabrics into it is a red herring, since that whole field may have
it’s own set of standard definitions and uses of the term that may
not exactly match the uses of the term in gemology.
This is, by the way, a common enough situation. You know the old saw
about each profession inventing it’s own language in order to keep
outsiders from understanding that profession, (or the saying went
something like that. Don’t recall the exact words). Like medicine,
insisting on using latin and greek words for anatomy and diseases.
Confusing language that sounds like greek to everyone but the
doctors… :“sir, you have gastritis.”…“Oh gosh. Is it serious? I
thought it was just a stomach ache…” “yeah, that’s it…” General
industry melts a mix of silver and copper and zinc onto things in
order to join them, and calls the process brazing. Then they use a
mix of tin and lead the same way to join things and call it
soldering. We jewelers, on the other hand, call both methods
soldering, except one is hard and the other soft, and for many of
us, brazing is a method of cooking dinner…
Be careful with nomenclature. It’s often very specific, not only to
the meanings of terms, but also in what settings and contexts it
holds those meanings.