First, I will apologize for hogging so much bandwidth with this
post, but I want to avoid as much misunderstanding as possible while
idealistically adding support to a concept that I believe is best
for the industry upon which most of us rely: gemstones (including
Second, apart from some references to US laws, rules and legal
stuff, everything here is my opinion and should be read (and laughed
at, if you're so inclined) as such. Feel free to knock me off my
soapbox if you can keep it in context. Thanks for your indulgence.
Now, on to the post...
DOC - thanks for the reply
goo - you're always welcome, thanks for reading my somewhat ranting
first of all allow me to say if i this is a very sensitive subject
and some how the question of ethics always gets dragged into this
For me, it is only a sensitive subject when laboratory manufactured
gems are presented in a manner that does not make it crystal clear
that they are, in fact, lab-created, -grown or (insert your preferred
-term here). The gem and jewelry buying public is no more informed
about synthetic gems than they are about medical or legal procedures.
Neither are medical patients or plaintiffs, so doctors and lawyers
have an ethical responsibility to inform their patients and clients
of everything in their purview that affects them. My point is that,
as professionals (we do get paid, right?), we have the same ethical
responsibility, and renaming a synthetic gem material in any way
that makes its' synthetic nature hidden is unethical. Whether or not
someone or some party intends to hide the material's synthetic nature
by changing its name, that is what occurs as a result. That's why so
many countries require it.
i opened my own shop and took the chance i might starve because my
former employers were unethical in many ways. #2 it is possible to
come up with a name for something that is both attractive and
accurate which is why i decided to bring up the subject in a
public forum. There is the big road block of fear, and i think it
should be dispelled.
I respect and salute your decision to open your own shop for the
reasons you state. As you can probably tell from my posts, I am an
idealist, but I'm also a realist. My ideals prevent a certain amount
of income, but realism always brings me to a comfortable living. #2
There may be a way to come up with a descriptive name for lab-created
materials, but it is illegal here in the US, and internationally, to
do so without including a descriptive term indicating its' lab
origin. Charles & Colvard (TM) Created Moissanite (maybe the (TM)
goes here, I dunno) is a perect example, and so is the one in my next
paragraph. Charles & Colvard fought a losing battle in the US court
system, only to be required to use the word "Created" in their
material's title. It was and is about consumer protection.
is the name Chatham emerald misleading?
Yes, it absolutely is. The correct name is Chatham Created emerald.
This is another case of a requirement by law. Chatham has always
been required by court ruling to state that their created gems are
created. Selling them without that word is totally misleading.
Synthetics, at least here in the US, are required to be disclosed
with certain terms, such as created, or lab-created. Check your
weekly Sunday paper ad at J.C. Penney. They always have this stuff on
sale, and it is always accompanied by those terms. This is for
consumer protection. Consumers must be buying it with the required
nomenclature, or Penney wouldn't be advertising it every Sunday for
years and years.
the wet blanket of Fear is the biggest thing we must overcome here.
if a person wears synthetics its like saying to the world HEY! I am
good enough as myself i dont need a superficial status enlargement
I diasagree with the first sentence, but not for the reason you
might think...I'll get to that in a moment. The second sentence, I
totally agree with. Please keep in mind that I fully enjoy synthetic,
lab-created, lab-grown, etc., I've already stated my love
of flux, solution and melt synthetics. Flame fusion synthetics are
virtually as perfect as can be, and can be cut to standards that
natural stones are usually not, for fear of wasting material. How
many sets of lousy proportions have we all seen in mined gemstones
because the lapidary wanted to save weight? Flame fusion synthetics
can be cut to absolutely perfect proportions and are virtually
inclusion-free. This makes them uncommonly beautiful, but that is
precisely why it's hard to sell them to people - they just don't
"look right," even to the average, untrained consumer who happens to
have seen a lot of natural
Now, back to the first sentence. I don't agree that the biggest
obstacle is fear. Rather, the biggest obstacle is the gem trade.
There is no way anyone can expect the mining companies and
individuals who have invested billions of dollars worldwide to drop
their investments and get behind the promotion of lab-grown
It doesn't really matter how much more perfect synthetics
are than natural stones, it just isn't going to happen. At least, not
with colored stones. Some inroads have been made with synthetic
diamonds, but that's partly because diamonds are still the biggest
money maker in the industry. And synthetic diamonds are costing at
least half (and usually more than half) the price of natural
diamonds. Think about this: synthetic diamonds were first created in
a lab in the 1950s. Synthetic colored were beginning to be developed
around a couple hundred years before that, and they still are looked
down upon. Why? Not because of clever marketing campaigns. Strontium
Titanate was trademarked and sold as a diamond substitute named
Fabulite for a short time before it fell by the wayside. Why did it
fail? Because people wanted diamonds - "real" ones.
I get people in my store on a weekly basis who want to know if their
synthetic CZ, spinel, etc., is "real." My response is always to
pretend to smack it against my head, feign dizziness from the impact
and proclaim "Yes, this is a real synthetic blue spinel (or whatever
it may be)." Then, I see them deflate because they still don't
consider it "real." I don't think that it is always because they
fear ridicule for wearing something that was created in a laboratory.
I think that the human race has worn mined gemstones for time out of
mind, and will always prefer what nature has to offer over what
mankind has created simply because it must be in limited supply. So,
I guess that along with the wet blanket of fear and the gem trade
being two of the big obstacles to widespread synthetic gemstone
acceptance, the human race's desire to posess rare treasures
(Freudians could likely hang a few labels on that) would easily make
the top three of that list. Some people will appreciate the intrinsic
beauty of synthetics, but that must absolutely be on its own merit,
not some marketing scheme that relies on the consumers' ignorance.
And not disclosing the fact that a gem material is synthetic is doing
just that. So I vote "no" to renaming a synthetic without obvious
indication of its' nature in the name or description.
The ones who cannot afford it may, indeed, settle for synthetic and
synthesized but they must understand what they're buying
if we're to keep their confidence.
Its the concept of settle for that i have a problem with why does
it have to be that if someone buys a synthetic gemstone that they
have settled for for somthing less.
Because they have, and in a way that is important to them. Think
about it. Synthetics are less expensive, less rare and therefore less
valuable. That is an inescapable fact. I don't mean to say that they
aren't as good, or even better in some aspects, but they will always
be less in the ways that "count" to customers who want rare
They are limited to the supply that resides in our planet,
which will not last forever. Synthetics are limitless in supply,
therefore common. Things that are common are not as exciting as
things that can no longer be gotten. The challenge of obtaining the
rare is worth the effort, whereas the readily available is less so.
Many people's jewelry have meaning and value, and they won't settle
for less than they possibly can.
Any how your assumption that i was trying to mislead was incorrect
but i am not offended because you have never met me if you had i
know you would not have assumed i was going in that direction. it
makes me happy to know you personally like the hydro flux gems
please respond again
I'm glad you're not offended because, even though it may sometimes
seem so, it's difficult to impart tone and inflection on a computer
keyboard, and I never purposely try to offend anyone. I don't mean
to imply that you are intentionally misleading anyone either, it's
just that, creating names for synthetic gemstones that don't
instantly inform the uneducated public of its' nature is legally
(here in the US, and internationally) considered unethical.
Practitioners of many professions are required to take oaths to
protect their clients because their fields of practice are
complicated. Gemstones, their treatments, synthetics, simulants and
substitutes are similarly complicated and become more so every day. I
believe it is our responsibility to our trade to comply with the
ethical standards set down by our industry and lawmaking bodies
because it is good for our respective trades to do so.
Please sell your YAG proudly, but find ways to build desire for them
that include the fact that it was made in a laboratory. If you don't
do so your customers will be misled, however unintentionally, and
that will lose business for everybody.
A final thought (hey, no applause, please). Gustavo, I'm positive
that you would never hide the nature of a synthetic from your
customers. I think the same of everyone who contributes to this forum
because they wouldn't be doing so unless they cared about the issue.
But I feel strongly that if a significant segment of the gem trade
popularized a catchy name for synthetic enough people in
the world will exploit it to the point that it would negatively
impact everyone who has anything to do with the jewelry trade. But,
as I said, it's just my opinion
Thanks for listening,
James S. Duncan, G.G.
James in SoFL