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Lab Grown Gems Ecologicly Good


#1

hi all - what do you think of this reasoning lab grown gems are
ecologicly speaking a very good choice ! if we are worried about the
rain forest in the amazon why support its destruction by purchasing
the motivation. intelectually we all know that there is no
difference chemically between the real and the real. so why not
promote the “GREEN” aspect. not to mention the controversy over
diamonds, if there is a customer looking for conflict free diamonds
this is it. promote it as a way for parents to teach thier kids
about socialy contientious thinking !

after all with diamonds espesially most ofthem are common any how to
get anything really speciall you have to start at least 10cts and
who has the money for that. most of what is sold to the public ends
up with the pawn broker or divorce sale. i am thinking that
promoting lab grown product as green is a good idea and i would like
to know if any one out there is doing, done, or thinks this could
work - best regards GOO


#2

I am all for supporting this. I know that the value of gems is
created by the “rarity” factor, but I don’t see why lab-created gems
still have so much stigma attached to them, since they are clearly
more economical and are not physically different from natural stones
(many of which are treated anyway). I guess the problem would be
flooding the market with created stones leading to a devaluing of
natural ones, but that’s more of a matter of ethics and disclosure,
right?

I find that the average consumer tends to not know the difference
between “created” and “synthetic,” which I think is also a problem
in promoting created gems. But I think the “Green” angle is a good
one.

My 2 cents.

Amber Gertzbein -Grapestain Productions
(listening to a Zombie Musical)


#3

Goo,

You might want to check out the next issue of Colored Stone
magazine: I just finished an article for them on the market for
colored stones that are fairly traded and ecologically and socially
responsible. I think it’s scheduled for the November/December issue,
so it should be on the streets shortly. Although it doesn’t
specifically address lab- grown stones, some of the Fair Trade
companies I talked to have taken just the approach you describe.
Others are offering stones that they can certify as having been mined
in an environmentally and socially responsible way. The market seems
to be growing, although it’s still just a drop in the bucket. Still,
there are also some arguments to be made for being proactive on this
issue.

To learn more about Colored Stone, visit the magazine’s Web site at
www.colored-stone.com.

Suzanne

Suzanne Wade
Writer/Editor
@Suzanne_Wade1
(508) 339-7366
Fax: (928) 563-8255
www.rswade.net


#4
Others are offering stones that they can certify as having been
mined in an environmentally and socially responsible way. 

The problem with this and the “Green Gold” and the Kimberly Process
and other eco-friendly socially conscious buzz words is that we have
to rely on someone’s word that the goods are produced in a
particular way. This in a trade (jewelry) that has had probably more
scams, con artists and thieves than any other. So how am I supposed
to say to my clients with a straight face that these goods were
produced in an ecologically benign manor and the proceeds did not go
to directly finance bad people. At this point anyone who makes or
believes these kind of claims is either totally naive or crooked. At
least with lab grown stones we can identify them as to their origin.
Don’t get me wrong I would love to be able to purchase material that
was derived in a fair trade eco-friendly manner but I just am too
much of a cynic to believe any of the claims.

James Binnion
@James_Binnion
James Binnion Metal Arts


360-756-6550


#5
" I find that the average consumer tends to not know the
difference between "created" and "synthetic," which I think is also
a problem in promoting created gems."

Is there a difference between created and synthetic? If so it’s news
to me. =-O Please elucidate.

Jerry in Kodiak


#6
I guess the problem would be flooding the market with created
stones leading to a devaluing of natural ones, 

There are already millions of created stones in the marketplace and
it hasn’t devalued the natural ones at all. More of them won’t do it
either. The reality is they are basically separate markets.

Daniel R. Spirer, G.G.
Daniel R. Spirer Jewelers, LLC
1780 Massachusetts Ave.
Cambridge, MA 02140
617-2344392
www.spirerjewelers.com


#7
I find that the average consumer tends to not know the difference
between "created" and "synthetic," which I think is also a problem
in promoting created gems. 

Apparently you don’t either (no offense intended :-). “Created” and
"synthetic" are synonyms when it comes to Perhaps you
meant to say “simulant”? A simulant is chemically different from the
gem it is pretending to be; a synthetic is chemically identical to
the natural gem but was created by something or someone other than
nature.

Beth


#8

Adding to Dan’s commentary on the reality of natural stones and
synthetics having separate markets, it should be noted that
synthetics, especially those which aspire to the diamond throne,
historically have been “flash in the pan” novelties which have
little lore, intrinsic value or romance. Indeed, they are a "sucker"
market…they bask in a brief flurry of drunken promotion until
the fad dies. Their demise is hastened when the dupes take their
overblown merchandise in for valuation by a reseller…"No
kidding; you can’t give me ANYTHING for it…but, they said that it
would scratch glass and that it glittered more than a
diamond…wow, I’ve been had ! "

Ron Mills. Mills Gem Co. Los Osos, Ca.


#9

James,

You’re right, of course. I know of only one gem company that has gone
as far as joining a Fair Trade organization that offers some type of
independent verification of their business practices – and they’re a
vertically integrated company that owns the mines and cut the stones
themselves, which is a rarity in and of itself. Even then, that
verification isn’t ideal, since it’s more a matter of checking
references and verifying policies than actual on-the-ground surveys.
So there’s still a large amount of trust involved, although perhaps
it’s an improvement to do business with a company that at least
makes a clear commitment to issues of environmental and social
responsibility. And I would still have to support whole-heartedly
anyone who prefers lab-grown stones as more ecologically
responsible.

I would love to see the gem industry develop some type of
independent certification, such as can be found for coffee, cocoa,
and a number of other products. It seems to work in those industries,
and I think it could work here if enough of the industry really got
behind it. Those certifications don’t mean all coffee is grown in
environmentally and socially sensitive ways, of course, but it does
give an option to those of us who care about that sort of thing, and
a higher level of confidence that we’re getting what we’re paying
for (though no guarantees, really). There are people talking about
it, though I’ll confess that I’ve been following the industry too
long to think it’s terribly likely to happen: it would cost money,
for starters, and would likely be gummed to death by "sponsors"
mouthing platitudes while making sure there were no teeth in the
certification that could hurt them. Boy, I’d like to be proven wrong
on that though! And I know there are people in this industry
passionate about these issues and willing to work at it, so maybe I
will be.

I also think change might be more likely if more people started
asking questions of dealers, and putting their money in products
where there was at least some effort made to demonstrate a concern
for the environment and the lives of the people who mine the stones.
One of the most common responses I’ve heard is that no one cares.
Customers don’t care, so retailers don’t care, so why bother? So
maybe if it became evident that yes, people do care, maybe it would
start a ball rolling. Even if some played the system to their
advantage, perhaps there would be enough people who really cared
about it to make things better. Not perfect, but better. You don’t
have to solve all the problems to make the world a better place.
Sometimes it’s enough to make things better in one place, or in one
life. And while I don’t know if the gem industry will ever change, I
am sure that letting ourselves off the hook with “it’s never going to
change, and you can’t trust anyone who claims to be trying” is the
best way to ensure it doesn’t.

Suzanne


#10
So how am I supposed to say to my clients with a straight face that
these goods were produced in an ecologically benign manor and the
proceeds did not go to directly finance bad people.

James, I’m not sure about the Kimberley Process, which as far as I
understand depends on the assertions of the voluntary participants,
but “green gold” marketed by Oro Verde corporation
(www.greengold-oroverde.org) as conforming to their stated criteria
is third party certified by the non-profit Instituto de
Investigaciones Ambientales del Pacifico (IIAP), established under
the auspices of the Colombian government. I recently attended a
presentation by Catalina Duque, one of the founders of Oro Verde,
which shehelped organize with assistance from the Ashoka institute
(ashoka.org). She was very open and eager to answer any questions
about the project, extending an invitation to visit the company’s
operations and the mining areas in Choco; the impression that I came
away with was that the organization seemed to be “on the up and up” -
I’m sure they would be glad to any questions you might have.

Cheers,
Guido


#11

Apparently you don’t either (no offense intended :-). “Created” and
"synthetic" are synonyms when it comes to Perhaps you
meant to say “simulant”?

Man-made alexandrite-like corrundum, is a synthetic, is created, and
is a simulant.

Richard Hart


#12

There are also benefits to the faceter when cutting lab grown
materials. Mostly you can get much larger sizes, with much better
clarity and quality than you could in natural items. Also, there are
certain colors that are very hard to get in a good size naturally
occurring such as pink, padparadascha colored (orangish pink), color
change material like alexandrite (chrysoberyl), etc.

I love cutting synthetics, and even simulants sometimes because of
the optical qualities.

Craig
www.creativecutgems.com


#13

If cut the same way I would agree with your comments. However, I can
cut a CZ in a manner that has never been seen before which will add
value to an otherwise inexpensive material. I guess what I’m saying
is if you can add’novelty’ to a material then it gains value,
whether the novelty is because it’s ‘natural’, or because it has
unique properties.

Just my.02.

Craig
www.creativecutgems.com


#14

After reading the Metalsmith article almost two years ago I was not
shocked by the New York Times article on the environmental cost of
gold mining.

But these mining practices are producing a very small percentage of
the gold that is available on the market. Gold is one of the top 3
most recycled metals on earth. Is anyone looking at the huge Bauxite
mines (ore used to create aluminum) that dwarf the gold and diamond
mines in Africa? Of course not Aluminum is not a luxury??

The same was true of the “blood diamonds” that where all the rage of
human right activists a few years ago. Only.02% of all the worlds
diamonds where even remotely involved in the civil war terrorism of
2 African countries. Yet the boycott of diamonds (by mostly white
people) that took place hurt the newly democratic government of South
Africa. A discrete form of racism?

Now, I am seeing a thread of thinking on Orchid that man-made
gemstones (from mostly developed, rich, 1st world, countries) are
some how environmentally better than natural gemstones (from mostly
poor countries)?

Does no one realize that these labs that produce the gem material use
massive amounts of energy and produce waste products + pollution? And
that these 3rd world countries depend on the income from the gem
trade to support infrastructure like hospitals and roads?

Every possible option for material or technique has a downside.
Please don’t single out one and be self-righteous because you don’t
use it, because whatever you are using is probably just as bad.

Nanz Aalund


#15

Hi Guido,

You cannot analyze Green gold or any other kind of gold to prove its
origin so all you have are the assurances of the seller or the
"independent party" that it is indeed what it claims to be. Anywhere
along the line someone can add some bullion to the “Green Gold” or
just sell conventionally mined gold as Green Gold and make a little
more money. Without some kind of analytical test you will always be
relying on the word of the parties involved that they are telling
you the truth and where there is so much money involved the truth is
often the first casualty. I am certain that the people involved in
the Oro Verde corporation are are trying to do good things but there
is no way to verify their product is really truly what they claim it
is or that any manufacturer selling a product that claims to be made
from Green Gold really is made from Green Gold. This is the point I
was trying to make.

Jim
James Binnion
@James_Binnion
James Binnion Metal Arts


360-756-6550


#16

Richard,

I am not quite sure that Synthetic Color Change Sapphire would be
considered an imitation.

Although there are several Genuine Gemstones know that change color,
I am only aware of Sapphire that changes the colors seen in Synthetic
Sapphire making it a Synthetic not an Imitation.

Genuine Alexandrite at its best changes from Green to red whereas
Synthetic Sapphire is a Purplish blue to a reddish blue in color.

Greg DeMark
email: greg@demarkjewelry.com
Website: www.demarkjewelry.com
Custom Jewelry - Handmade Jewelry - Antique Jewelry


#17

There is a man-made Alexandrite that is not corundum, but a true
simulant. Also, most alexandrite laser rods are ‘true’ alexandrite
(man made) in tha they mimic the natural properties, not immitate
like corundum does.

Craig
www.creativecutgems.com


#18

Apparently you don’t either (no offense intended :-). "Created"
and “synthetic” are synonyms when it comes to Perhaps
you meant to say “simulant”?

Man-made alexandrite-like corrundum, is a synthetic, is created,
and is a simulant. 

Then it’s a synthetic of corundum and a simulant of alexandrite.
Your point is both taken and specious, Richard :-).

Beth


#19
Although there are several Genuine Gemstones know that change
color, I am only aware of Sapphire that changes the colors seen in
Synthetic Sapphire making it a Synthetic not an Imitation.

I did not use the word imitation, I used the word simulant. But a
synthetic color change corundum sold as a synthetic alexandrite,
would be an imitation. To me, a imitation or a simulant has some
characteristic in common with the original, but not exactly or
completely.

Please don’t get confused with what is done and FTC guidelines. If
you can supply someone with something they want at a price they can
afford that looks like something they want that they can’t afford,
they don’t necessarily care what it is called. I can tell them it is
a simulant, not a synthetic, ect. and I don’t think they could
repeat back to me what I said, but I did disclose.

I know a stone dealer that when you order synthetic alexandrite, you
get color change corundum, which does look somewhat like some natural
alexandrite I have seen, as natural material can vary quite a bit.
Light colored natural alexandrites look like the synthetic color
change corundum from the stone dealer I use. If I order synthetic
alexandrite, and receive color change corundum, I have been sold
something simulating alexandrite. Whether it is a good simulantor not
is up to the observer.

The customers who wanted synthetic alexandrite were happy with what
I showed them and bought them. I research a lot of different stone
dealers to get the best representation of natural stone colors in
synthetic or imitation material. Having been obsessed with gemstones
for 30 years, I have seen many of the finest gem quality stones,
aquamarine, tanzanite, color change tanzanite (oh if I could have
afforded one!!!), pariba tourmaline when it first came on the market
at $250 a carat, bi-color tourmaline. Over the last 30 years, I have
seen material that has come, and gone, probably never tobe seen
again.

If anyone wants a rarity, a friend of mine has transparent faceted
light yellow oligoclase for sale. So if you want some homework, read
up on feldspar and find out the difference between plagioclase,
orthoclase, and oligoclase.

Richard
Hart in Denver
Where a happy customer is like money in the bank
but not for long as our heating bills are gonna go way up.


#20
There is a man-made Alexandrite that is not corundum, but a true
simulant. Also, most alexandrite laser rods are 'true' alexandrite
(man made) in tha they mimic the natural properties, not immitate
like corundum does.

Synthetic is same chemical composition as natural, simulated and
imitation may appear to be the same, but is not the same chemical
composition.

Simulant is not in my dictionary, simulated is. Synthetic
alexandrite is alexandrite, simulated alexandrite is not alexandrite
but appears to be.

For a manmade gem material to to be a synthetic, it must be the same
exact chemical formula, otherwise it is simulating the natural. Red
glass can simulate ruby, synthetic red corundum is synthetic ruby.
Synthetic color change corundum that goes from any range of greenish
blue in flourecent light to reddish purple color in incandescent
light would be considered an alexandrite -like simulant.

There are color change natural corundum, how ever, I have never seen
alexandrite like color change in a natural, so as a matter of course
in my mind, when color change corundum was synthesized, in the
1800’s, and it looked like alexandrite, guess what it was sold as,
three guesses. If any of you have retail stores you would know like I
do how many people come in with a huge “alexandrite” that their
grandfather bought in Russia, and they are convinced it is a real
alexandrite. I pose to them that the size and quality of a natural
stone like that would make that stone worth a million dollars, and
they are still positive it is real, and I tell them I do not have the
right equipment test it. I make the choice to not be involved in
trying to tune them into reality. I did that once, and they held it
against me.

The word mimic is a poor word to use in gemmology, as mimic is
related to mime. Mimes are people who imitate. A color change
corundum does not mimic the natural properties of alexandrite, it
has the same natural property to selectively absorb different colors
in different light sources.

Richard Hart, G.G. in residence, 1977
and I still remember some of it!