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Should We Rename Synthetics


#1

to all - it has occured to me that part of the attractivness of a
product is its name. there is alot in a name, i am thinking the
different gems that are produced these days should have attractive
names that reflect thier appearance. when i show off a beautifull
synthesized gem and the customers well lit, totally interested
countenance asks me what it is and i have to respond with Y.A.G. it
sets off a GAG. is there some one out there in the industry that
would talk about this. A large part of getting the public to buy is
by exposure and understanding and presenting things in an
appettizing(sp?) manner.

best regards - goo


#2

Gustavo, this is the one part of your post that rings perfectly
true. But we absolutely must disclose the fact that a synthetic gem
is exactly that - synthetic. If we want to sell them, that’s fine,
only don’t attempt to represent them as something they’re not simply
by inventing a clever name and omitting the fact that they were grown
in a laboratory. It’s absolutely unethical, and it certainly confuses
the ignorant customer who is relying on us, the so-called experts,
for their jewelry needs. People seldom want common materials in their
jewelry, they want rare, one-of-a-kind pieces, with
rare-one-of-a-kind gemstones in them (when they can afford it). 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. Once misled, the customer will
completely avoid the jewelry trade again (remember the oiled emerald
debacle? The 9k jewelry sold as 10k?) There are as many examples of
this as there are synthetic gem materials.

Even stating the exact nomenclature of a synthetic gem material can
make it sound more appetizing, but it can also lead to anger and
lost consumer confidence. My favorite example is a purchase my mother
made from jewelry television a couple of years ago. Imagine her total
deflation when I told her that her Lab-Created Tsavorite-Colored
Obsidian was, in fact, a faceted piece of green soda bottle. It was
a completely legal description (and, IMO, deception). But I’d hate to
be classed in the same category as jewelry television, so I
concentrate on purchasing gemstones that will sell on their own
merits without having to resort to verbally “greasing them up” so
that customers will buy them. It doesn’t matter how smitten I
personally am with synthetics (and I do like them), it just isn’t
ethical to try and glamour them with attractive names that will
eventually ruin my customers’ confidence in me. Believe me, when they
eventually catch on to the fact that synthetics are cheap and easy to
come by, their love for them will be short-lived and they’ll go to
somebody else with whom they don’t associate synthetics when they
want something natural and rare that nobody else can have because no
two are exactly alike.

Gustavo, if you’re trying to promote mostly YAG, you do have an
advantage in that it has no natural counterpart, so it isn’t
gemologically considered a synthetic (no matter that it was
synthesized in a laboratory…it may seem semantic, but there is a
difference). Yes, YAG is an ugly-sounding name, so why not introduce
it by it’s full name - yttrium aluminum garnet? It can easily be
presented as a beautiful gemstone (if it weren’t, they would not have
lit up with interest) that does not occur in nature, so must be grown
in a laboratory for all of us to enjoy its beauty. I’ll agree that
this approach probably won’t make YAG jewelry start flying out the
door, but customers will always discover its true nature and will
ever be disappointed. On the other hand, if they know precisely what
they are buying from the outset, they’ll never have a reason to be
disappointed.

Personally, I’ve fallen deeply in love with flux method synthetics.
To me, the flux veils are one of the most beautiful inclusions I’ve
seen, but I certainly don’t expect the jewelry buying public to be so
enamored of them. As a gemologist/lapidary/bench jeweler, etc., I
totally appreciate them for what they are, but I refuse to
countenance misleading, romantic names to make them easier to sell. I
don’t want to lose the long-term business.

James S. Duncan, G.G.
James in SoFL


#3

Hi goo,

There’s nothing particularly romantic or aesthetic about “lab
grown,” but, unlike “synthetic,” I’ve found that it creates interest
and curiosity. People seem fascinated by the idea that you can grow
something in a lab that has the same chemical make-up as a natural
stone. Especially when you explain that it means they can own
something really gorgeous for a lot less money.

Lisa Orlando
Albion, CA, US


#4

DOC - thanks for the reply

simply by inventing a clever name and omitting the fact that they
were grown in a laboratory. It's absolutely unethical, and it
certainly confuses the ignorant customer who is relying on us, the
so-called experts, for their jewelry needs. 

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
topic. 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. is the name Chatham emerald
misleading? only to those who are uninformed. 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

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.

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 - goo


#5

Great post James. I don’t think you’ll find anyone in disagreement
with what you say. Given that we want to disclose that these are in
fact synthetic/manufactured and using your excellent advice on
showing that some of these materials cannot be found in the ground
but have properties that make them highly desirable on their own
would be a great starting point. I maintain that part of the
’downfall’ of synthetic/simulated/imatiation (from here on out man
made) material is Cubic Zirconia. CZ has such a bad rap (for no good
rason) that when anyone hears ‘man made’ they immediately tend
towards ‘worthless’. This may be true in some cases (ie machine cut
5mm rounds for.05 each), but not all.

I very much enjoy cutting man made material because I can cut big
stones, in fancy cuts that cannot be purchased from most dealers
(because they don’t have the cutting patterns available, or the
desire to ‘waste’ time on a single stone). Also, the amount of
available color change materials in nature in large sizes is very
rare (at an affordable price). The amount of flawless LARGE material
is very rare (15 carat padparadasha sapphire?). The availability of
rough in large, flawless sizes of desirable colors is very rare
(pinks, bi colors, etc). The availability of high RI, hard (durable)
material in big flawless sizes is rare and not usually affordable to
the average person.

There are some who would spend 3500 on a stone, but it’s not as
common as someone would would spend $80-$200 for a stone. Sure,
Jewelry Television will sell you a 4 carat somethingorother for $13
dollars that looks like someone cut it with a chainsaw and polished
it with sandpaper but that’s not we’re competing with (at least I’m
not anyway) is it?

The biggest thing about selling man made (in my opinion) is the cut.
You can’t sell a poorly cut, run of the mill, badly polished
synthetic and expect to get mroe than a couple of dollars for it. I
know I’m repeating myself here but I do think it’s important. The
cut is what will make the stone even more unique and saleable. Who
cares what the material is when you cannot buy the stones cut
commercially? Do you all think that adds value? I do.

Anyway, coming up with a good marketing type thing would be great
and I would love to collaborate with anyone who wants to do this off
or on list.

Craig
www.creativecutgems.com


#6
Given that we want to disclose that these are in fact
synthetic/manufactured and using your excellent advice on showing
that some of these materials cannot be found in the ground but have
properties that make them highly desirable on their own would be a
great starting point. 

Is this thread about justifying the use of man-made gem materials or
disclosure? The point of disclosure is to make sure that a customer
is not assuming they are buying a natural gemstone when they are
buying a simulant or synthetic.

If a woman buys jewelry at a boutique I do not think disclosure is
an issue. So, where something is bought seems to make a difference as
to whether disclosure is important. Different setting, different
expectations.

If someone comes in my store, and they want a ruby, and I quote
price in the size they want for different qualities, I am not going
to hesitate for two seconds to mention synthetic ruby if they balk
at the price for a natural one. They will immediately will say they
only want a natural stone, in which case I start asking if they want
to put a deposit down and I will bring is some gems for them to
choose from, at which time they commit or I politely suggest that
they start saving their money, and when they are ready I will be
glad to find them a beautiful stone in their price range.

There is one thing I have not heard mentioned so far, does your
customer want a low quality natural stone, or for the same price or
less, a synthetic that looks for all intense purposes like the
natural.

If I can offer something beautiful, and the customer loves it, as
long as they know what they are buying, there is no issue.

Disclosure is so no one wittingly or unwittingly misrepresents what
they are selling. Basically so no one is cheated paying unreasonable
prices for something of little or no value.

Otherwise, if you have a customer for whatever you are using to make
jewelry from, as long as the customer is willing to trade money for
your work, make stuff and sell it.

People need more stuff, and that is what I am here for, making stuff
that makes me happy, and that makes my customer happy.

If I make something beautiful, and a customer buys it knowing what
it is, it does not matter to me what anyone else thinks.

A lot of mothers and grandmothers have family jewelry, rings or
pendants with synthetic or imitation birthstones. They cannot afford
real emeralds, diamonds, aquamarines, alexandrite (who thought that
up as a birth stone???), and their jewelry has great meaning and
significance for them.

Hasta la vista y
buenos noche, Ricardo Corazon


#7

I agree with the “settle” terminlogoy. I’m not sure how many are
aware but in the not so distant future many of the gemstones that
people enjoy buying, setting, selling, or wearing will not be
available in a decent size without spending a large amount of money
(possibly thousands of dollars). Already supplies of certain
(natural, ie unheated, unradiated, unprocessed in anyway) materials
is almost non-existant for good facetable material.

Already many jewelry stores carry synthetics because consumers want
large stones at affordable prices. Moissanite has a big market now,
as does ‘custom’ named CZ like Diamonique, Absolute, etc on all the
home shopping tv channels. Are these misleading or just marketing?

I think consumes need to be educated that synthetics are often a
decent alternative, especially if you’re going to break the bank
buying a status symbol to keep up with the Joneses. Alot of work
still goes into creating the raw material for cutting, etc.

Craig
www.creativecutgems.com


#8

Hi Craig,

I would like to second your comments and I also agree with James’
post regarding synthetic gem materials.

As you know, I facet stones for a living. Over the years, as good
rough becomes more difficult to find and cut at a profit AND as
younger people move into the market, I can see a change in what
sells. Lots of younger folks (or older ones for that matter) are
more interested in buying something that is flashy or of a definite
color, or matches their current favorite ensemble, etc. and does not
break the bank. With very few exceptions, that means synthetics. And
well cut and polished material outsells the overseas stuff every
time. I regularly sell color change CZ in larger fancy cuts to
jewelers for $100 to $200 and they tell me they are getting a large
markup on them. YAG in the tanzanite look-alike color is always a
strong seller, especially in larger sizes as is the lemon yellow
YAG. Most of my jeweler customers are in the custom business and are
selling individuality and creativity. When properly executed in
unique cuts there is a good market and it is growing rapidly as the
smart jewelers are always looking for something to sell that will
generate a good profit (and diamond is going down the tubes in that
regard).

Sales people need to be trained in proper selling techniques,
emphasizing the romance over the science, for the most part. Tom
Chatham wages an endless battle with his desire to refer to his
products as “cultured” rather than synthetic. It’s certainly a
marginal term, and it is obviously important to disclose that this
material did not come out of the ground in this form and is a product
of man’s ingenuity, but I have rarely lost a sale over it. If they
want natural, I’ll gladly sell them natural, they just need a larger
bank account! I can tell you this for certain: It is one thing to
discuss the merits or lack thereof of synthetic but it is
entirely another to see a potential customer’s face light up when
they see a 12 mm color change CZ cut in a nine-mains round design. My
friends, beauty sells itself!

Wayne


#9
The biggest thing about selling man made (in my opinion) is the
cut. You can't sell a poorly cut, run of the mill, badly polished
synthetic and expect to get mroe than a couple of dollars for it." 

I’ve read a few things in this thread - very interesting. The above
quote says a lot, I think. I’ll just point out two issues. One is
that the FTC already knows all about this. One cannot use the word
"diamond" to describe anything except diamond, for instance. Chatham
is the smart one, because if a “sapphire” is man-made, then you MUST
say so. Chatham accomplishes that by making “Chatham” synonymous with
"synthetic" or lab-grown. Carroll was a very brilliant man and Tom is
no slouch either. Skillful marketing of a quality product. In other
words, you can make up a name for something, as long as it doesn’t
mislead the customer into thinking it’s anything other than man-made.
My other thought is the title of the thread, “Should we rename
synthetics.” Who is “We”? How exactly does one go about doing that?
Although there have been very earnest and sincere posts on this
thread, it seems to be the old story: How can we get people to buy
something they don’t actually want to buy? How can we fool them into
thinking it’s something it’s not? That’s the FTC - you can name it
"Peacock Sapphire", but if you don’t state in writing or at least
orally that it is a synthetic stone, then you are committing fraud.
My personal thought is that most people, in most jewelry, simply do
not want synthetics. They desire the rarity, magic and mystery of
natural stones. You may think “magic and mystery” overboard, but it’s
not. “Nature made THIS - wow!” It’s not the name, it’s the product
itself. There is plenty of market for synthetics, they’re just not
competitive with natural gems. Cost aside, would you rather have a
fine Italian leather suitcase, or Naugahide(sp)?

http://www.donivanandmaggiora.com


#10

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
synthetics).

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
post.

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
topic. 

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 ™ Created Moissanite (maybe the ™
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


#11
My personal thought is that most people, in most jewelry, simply do
not want synthetics. 

Great opinion, so not true.

I sell diamonds, natural colored stones, and man made. People like
pretty. I have the women from the area known for wealth (Highlands
Ranch or Cherry Hills if you know Denver) come to my store and they
have the 3-4 carat diamond, and they buy lab quartz or mystic topaz,
or druzy treated with titanium, silicon dioxide, gold or platinum.
These women have dropped hundreds to thousands of dollars (same
woman, multiple pieces) on sterling set with manmade stones.

My store bridges from custom platinum, gold, and diamonds, to dyed
sponge coral, mother of pearl and manmade gems.

I am a Graduate Gemologist. I am a goldsmith. I have been doing this
for 30 years. I believe that your customer who has never seen the
manmade gems at your store will be my customer for that when they
come to my store and see them, and for gold and diamonds if my
knowledge, service and quality of work is as good or better than
yours. And I probably charge more than you for custom. That is the
house that knowledge and trust built.

I don’t charge more because I can, I charge more because few
"jewelers" know as much as I do, and I get paid for knowledge and
skill.

I fix others mistakes, educate those that are mis-informed. And I
sell lab created gems. I have not had a problem or an unhappy
customer in years.

Women who receive jewelry as a gift with manmade stones, "synthetic"
opal, come in not to exchange but to buy the matching pendant or
earrings. Hello! How about the woman who receives a gift of jewelry
with a lab created stone, and comes in exclaiming, “Oh, I have never
been in your store before, this is my new jewelry store”. Has
happened.

Natural or synthetic gems can put sparkle in your life, and your
customers. Just depends on how you want to market yourself. That is
really the only issue.

The issue of disclosure is important, after that it is just about
having fun.

Richard Hart


#12
You may think "magic and mystery" overboard, but it's not. "Nature
made THIS - wow!" It's not the name, it's the product itself. There
is plenty of market for synthetics, they're just not competitive
with natural gems. Cost aside, would you rather have a fine Italian
leather suitcase, or Naugahide(sp)? 

I agree with everything and also the FTC rules, etc. I am not trying
to sell anything to anyone who doesn’t want it, like Wayne said if
they want real they’re just going to have to dig deeper in their
pockets.

My real concern is for material that cannot be purchased and custom
cut anymore in any size, color, or in good optical properties. Many
of the materials sold are very expensive, and often the consumer
does not have the familiarity to understand why (ie tourmaline,
tsavorite, etc). The only option for many is to buy cheap, poorly
cut stones that are often included and poorly polished, etc.

I want to provide the widest variety of stones, cuts and colors to
customers. If that means some of that ‘exotic’ material is man made
because nature doesn’t offer me an option then that’s what I’ll
sell.

I understand what you say about the ‘it grew in the ground’ mystery
some people have but from my experience this is going away to
dollars and sense. You can’t say ‘cost aside’ because that’s like
saying ‘if you won the lottery…’… people don’t have unlimited
funds.

If you wanted a stone that flashes a different color depending on
the light you’re in (flourescent, sun, etc) what would you material
would you use, and what would the final (rough) cost of the piece be
based on that?

Craig
www.creativecutgems.com


#13
Cost aside, would you rather have a fine Italian leather suitcase,
or Naugahide(sp)? 

I don’t believe this analogy holds. Vinyl isn’t even remotely
similar in chemical composition, or eye appeal, or touch, to leather.
Some lab grown stones are, as we have all heard many times, so
similar to naturals that experts can’t tell then apart.

There is one thing I have not heard mentioned so far, does your
customer want a low quality natural stone, or for the same price
or less, a synthetic that looks for all intense purposes like the
natural. 

This isn’t just a issue for the customer, but for the designer, too.
I don’t get excited about designing with most low quality, poorly cut
stones (I make an exception for opaque rubies, which I love). And I
don’t expect to be in a position to design with expensive stones (not
that I’m trying to be…).

Most of my jeweler customers are in the custom business and are
selling individuality and creativity... My friends, beauty sells
itself! 

However, at some point, maybe I will get to be one of these
customers!

Lisa Orlando
Albion, CA, US


#14
You may think "magic and mystery" overboard, but it's not. "Nature
made THIS - wow!" It's not the name, it's the product itself.
There is plenty of market for synthetics, they're just not
competitive with natural gems. Cost aside, would you rather have a
fine Italian leather suitcase, or Naugahide(sp)? 

If the choice between synthetics and natural gems was as simple as
the analogy above, there is not question of the decision that would
be made. In actuality the analogy would be more on the line of:

If you cannot afford the fine Itaiian leather suitcase, would you
prefer a suitcase made from an inferior piece of leather that has
been patched and mended or a pristine suitcase made with Naugahyde?
The gem market has a large number of stones that are less than
perfect.

Another consideration is the value of the stone itself. Even if a
person can afford a many thousand dollar stone, the fear of theft or
loss precludes the wearing of it except for rare occasions.
Synthetics do not caue the same fear of loss as natural stones and
can be worn quite frequently.

I recently gave my wife a pendant set with a 10+ carat Regency
Created Emerald that is loupe clean and, according to one of my local
jewelers, an excellent cut. The color is outstanding. She loves the
pendant and does not mind that it is not “natural”. The alternative
would be a stone of a similar size with massive imperfections or a
very tiny stone of equivalent quality.

People purchase jewelry for one of 3 basic reasons:

  1. They want something pretty to look at.

  2. They want something that is rare and will appreciate in value
    over the years.

  3. They want to show off their wealth.

For the first case, synthetics fit very well.

For the second case very few stones are really good investments
since they are purchased at retail and, most of the time, sold at
wholesale. I vaguely remember a discuaaion about “new” diamonds
versus “old” diamonds and why “new” had a higher value than “old”. As
for the third case, it speaks for itself.


#15

Interesting thread - endless, but interesting. I made an analogy
between leather and naugahyde, and one reply said it was off, and
another said it was on. Ah, America!! What I have been trying to
convey, and what I believe is true, is that it doesn’t matter.
People generally just do not want synthetic stones. Most people,
almost all in my experience, will buy a cheaper genuine stone than to
buy any synthetic. Why? I don’t know - I don’t think anybody really
does. It’s emotional, it’s primal, it’s because people want something
with inherent value, and something that is a part of nature. Ok, not
leather, how about wood? Do you want solid walnut, or veneer glued
on plywood? There’s a fundamental sense of quality, natural products

  • that it came that way, it’s not “engineered”. This is why I say,
    it’s largely not the name, it’s the product itself. Yes, I know that
    cutters like synthetics because they can do things they can’t do
    with natural - big stones and wasteful cuts - I’ve know a few cutters
    like that myself. But the end result is a hard sell.

http://www.donivanandmaggiora.com


#16
People purchase jewelry for one of 3 basic reasons:
1. They want something pretty to look at.
2. They want something that is rare and will appreciate in value
over the years.
3. They want to show off their wealth.
For the first case, synthetics fit very well.

I would also add:

  1. That jewelry purchases are made by one person wishing to show
    affection/appreciation to another…

Maybe many times…or most of the time, even…

A huge emotional component in that kind of purchase, and the giving
and receiving…

My Mom passed early this May… She had a string of “pearls” that
my Dad bought for her in years past… They’re not real pearls, not
cultured, either…but OK looking for a simulant…

My sister wants me to restring them for her…

Because they were my Ma’s…from my Dad…

I will do this thing, with SS or Vermeil clasp… They won’t ever be
worth a lot of money…

But…

Gary W. Bourbonais
A.J.P. (GIA)


#17
I get people in my store on a weekly basis who want to know if
their synthetic CZ, spinel, etc., is "real."

When my customer asks if a gemstone is real, I ask them if they can
see it. After they laugh, and they always do, I continue, now if you
want to know if it is natural or manmade…

Richard Hart


#18

Gary,

They were given with love, were worn with love, and will keep the
warmth of your parent’s love close to your sister’s heart.

What a very sweet story,
Thanks
Terrie


#19

People purchase jewelry for one of 3 basic reasons:

  1. They want something pretty to look at.
  2. They want something that is rare and will appreciate in value
    over the years.
  3. They want to show off their wealth.
    For the first case, synthetics fit very well.

There are more motivations than that for purchasing jewelry. They
may wish to display their taste or aesthetic (an issue quite distinct
from ostentatious display of wealth). They may purchase jewelry for
social reasons (e.g., the class ring, the masonic ring, the wedding
ring.) They may desire a piece of jewelry for an amuletic purpose or
even a metaphysical purpose.

This list is by no means complete, I am sure.

Lee


#20

alot of people have alot of good points on this subject i would like
to say if there is truly nothing to a marketing scheme and attempts
to mislead then why all the different names for NATURAL sapphire?
why dont all those who sell the natural stuff call it what it is
AL2O3 or some such. how about this why not call it accidental
emerald? because it was an accidental occurrance that combined the
chemicals and conditions. or why not refer to them as incidental
diamonds because an incident occurred during planetary development
which caused them to form. what if sombody discovers an offworld
supply of perfect diamonds on an asteroid are you all going to
discredit them as space trash ? I will tell you why! its because 90%
of those buying the natural stuff ARE uninformed, ignorant if you
will about the true scientific nature of what they are buying. I
will tell you another thing there is ALOT of money tied up in
inventory of accidental sapphire, diamonds emeralds etc. its the big
JEWELRY BUBBLE, DUH. its about the $$$. get a clue here the world is
pretty much run out of everything and if our industry doesnt start
#1) educating the public #2) lending legitimacy to and about these
products by advancing folks toward “the age of reason” all of us
jewelers are going to be up the proverbial tributary w/out the
proper means of propulsion. ( do i need to say this in biker talk?)
I am NOT suggesting misrepresentation here what i am suggesting is
this that the future may hold a time where mined gemstones will be
frowned upon because of the wanton destruction and waste that it
takes to retrive them. i dont mean to hurt anyones feelings but
technology is offering all of us a great opportunity and i want part
of it but i cant take part in it alone i need the rest of you - goo