You state , in reference to a statement in Liddicoat’s 10th edition
of his “Handbook of Gem Identification” ; “It is apparent that
Richard Liddicoat does not insist that a synthetic gem have a
natural counterpart”. I don’t know about that but in the 12th
edition, fourteen years later he was quite clear about the matter.
Page 85, Chapter X, “Manmade Gem Materials”, The first sentence
says"A synthetic gem material has the same chemical composition,
crystal structure, and consequently the same physical and optical
properties as the natural gem it represents". He then states in the
third paragraph, same page, quote, “Synthetic gem materials, such as
flame-fusion corundum, spinel and, later, rutile and strontium
titanate have long been availble. (Since strontium titanate is not
found in nature, it is not a true synthetic gem material.”) end
quote. Can’t be much clearer than that!
As for Webster’s “Gems, Their Sources Descriptions and
identification” you say , referring to a statement made in the
third edition of that tome, “Even though I never met Mr. Webster I
think he agrees that a “synthetic” gem does not need a natural
counterpart”. Fourteen years later, in the 5th edition, p. 389,
Chapter 18 “Synthetic Gemstones” the first line of the chapter
reads,( quote,) “Present thinking and commercial rules restrict the
adjective ‘synthetic’ to materials which, while being manufactured
by man, have a natural counterpart, however unornamental this might
be.”( end quote). Also crystal, (pun intended), clear.
To throw another authority into the fray, Hurlbut and Kammerling’s
book “Gemology” Second edition, (1991) states on page 6, "When a
man-made material essentially duplicates the optical, physical, and
chemical properties of its natural counterpart, it is termed a
synthetic.Later in the same paragraph it states “Other man-made
materials merely mimic various gems; that is they resemble them but
do not have the same properties. Such materials are termed
’imitations’ or ‘simulants’” etc…
Therefore, in the gemological sense a man made gem material which
has no natural counterpart is a simulant. I rest my case.
By the way, I also am an old cruising sailor, having “swallowed the
anchor” some twenty years ago. Should you ever sail into Kodiak,
give me a call. I’m in the book. Jerry in Kodiak.