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Synthetic Stones


#1

Hi all,

I was just wondering about synthetic stones…

Now, I know that natural stones are more expensive, and in some
cases I can understand this (especially for things like red spinel
being called “synthetic ruby”)…

HOWEVER, I would like to know why synthetics are cheaper across the
board.

Can anyone tell me? Also, does anyone use synthetics here?

I am most interested in the stone adding life and interest to the
piece, in fact, I a most likely to be interested in unusual stones
(synthetic or not).

Is there a good reason not to use synthetic stones; other than
popular (buyers’) response and/or feeling some connection to the
earth (being natural)?

Thanks
Cam


#2

Let’s see…

There’s imitations, artificials, man-made stuff, and synthetics, and
there’s chutzpah, or ignorance, like calling red spinel synthetic
ruby.

Imitation means ‘looks like’. Red glass (paste) looks like ruby, red
spinel looks like ruby, but neither is a ruby. Artificial may mean
imitation or synthetic.

Synthetic ruby is a ruby. It has the crystal structure, the chemical
composition, and all the physical and optical properties of a
natural ruby out of the ground or out of the alluvial deposit. It
just happens to be man-made.

Usually, the man-mad gem is more perfect than the natural (in fact,
that’s one of the clues to identify synthetics. Makers of emeralds
have learned to add flaws so their stones look ‘natural’).

The only reason to use naturals is the cache of the stones being
’real’ and the added price they demand. The synthetics are every bit
as beautiful and much more affordable.

In the final analysis, it’s what you and your customer want.

Andy

Andrew and Jill Morrison
2197 N. Allen Ave
Altadena, CA 91001
626-798-6588


#3
   Is there a good reason not to use synthetic stones; other than
popular (buyers') response and/or feeling some connection to the
earth (being natural)? 

Really depends on what your market is, and who your customers are. I
am a custom jeweler, and my wife and I have a retail store where we
sell diamonds, gold, platinum, and sterling silver, and, synthetics.
We cater to what our customer wants and can afford. I just sold a
very fine ruby, half ct. for $1100, and we have very nice synthetic
6mm princess cut stones, red, not pink, not purple that cost us $5
per ct. We set them is gold, we set them in silver…

Natural sells, synthetic sells, pretty sells, cute sells. People are
relieved that they can buy silver instead of white gold, or platinum
and we support their choice, without attitude. Then they send in
their friend ,who was pre-sold because of our honest, integrity, and
good service , who gets diamond wedding jewelry for $3000.

There is no moral or ethical issue in selling created stones, as
long as they are disclosed as such.

There is one “high class” jeweler in town that sells Chatum created
stones. These stones cost hundreds per ct wholesale, and look the
same as what I pay $5 per ct. Both created.

I have customers that are serious, and customers that like to have
fun. I value the natural for what they represent, and I value the
created for what they represent. I make beautiful jewelry either
way.

The present economy is really bad, we are down 1/3 this month from
same time last year.War and election seems to be giving us a double
whammy. Our customers are complaining about not being able to spend.
And we have lots of nicely made, low cost sterling. Like thousands
of pieces. So something is happening, and none of us know when it
will get better.

Richard in Denver


#4

Cam,

It is the rarity factor that makes the prices. If you want to use
synthetics in your jewellery, then do so. Just state clearly to your
consumers that they are not buying the real thing.

Syntetics are made of the same material than their natural
counterparts, with all the same chemical/optical properties.

Alain


#5

Cam,

First let me say that not all Synthetic stones are less expensive
than their natural counterpart ( An example would be Amethyst vs.
Synthetic Amethyst ).

Second thing to keep in mind that there are Synthetic Gemstones and
Imitation Gemstones. A synthetic Gemstone is made up of all the same
physical and Chemical properties as the Genuine Gemstone it is
imitating. An Imitation Gemstones just looks like the stone it is
trying to imitate but doesn’t have the same properties. Keep in
mind that an Imitation Gemstone can also be a Synthetic Gemstone. An
example would be a Synthetic Spinel imitating a Ruby or Sapphire in
color.

Third thing to keep in mind is that the cost or value depends on the
process that was used to create the Synthetic. Some process are
rather quick and others take a long time to create the stone.

As for whether or not you should use these is up to you and the
people that you are serving. My preference is to use Genuine
Gemstones but as a custom jeweler I have had people ask me to create
jewelry with interesting materials such as beach pebbles, old
pottery chards and glass as well as Genuine and Synthetics.

Find some good books in your Library on Gemstones and contact G.I.A.
at http://www.gia.edu to further your interest in both Genuine and
Synthetic Gemstones.

Good Luck
Greg DeMark
email: greg@demarkjewelry.com
Website: www.demarkjewelry.com


#6
  HOWEVER, I would like to know why synthetics are cheaper across
the board. 

For the most part, it’s the rarity concept: Perfect natural stones
are very hard to come by, but synthetics are frequently super-clean,
large, perfectly colored, etc. It’s the “real thing” vs a copy, or
old money vs nouveau riche. :wink:

Tas
www.earthlywealth.com


#7

The reason that synthetics are SO MUCH cheaper, is that they are
MANUFACTURED, and can be produced in HUGE quantities, in many ( but
not all) cases. SOME kinds of synthetics (Chatham emeralds, for
example,) are GROWN. It is a very slow process, and output is
limited. Natural gems must be created by ‘mother nature,’ (she is a
very slow worker,) and then some person or persons must extract the
gem from the earth or rock matrix in which ‘mom’ has cleverly hidden
it. THAT makes them rare and much more expensive.

David Barzilay
Lord of the Rings
607 S Hill St Ste 850
Los Angeles, CA 90014-1718
213-488-9157


#8
    HOWEVER, I would like to know why synthetics are cheaper
across the board. 

It’s mostly a question of supply-and-demand. Natural stones’ prices
fluctuate according to how much is being mined, how much is readily
available as rough or finished goods, and how much material is
likely to be found. The supply of natural stones will always be
limited to how much material is available. Synthetics, however, can
be synthesized all day, every day, and can be considered unlimited
in supply. Anything in unlimited supply (especially if demand is
low) will be cheap.

    Is there a good reason not to use synthetic stones; other than
popular (buyers') response and/or feeling some connection to the
earth (being natural)? 

Perhaps your own response. Other than that, no. But I’m sure someone
can come up with something else. Also, keep in mind that most of the
ingredients for synthetic stones also came from the Earth. They have
all the same physical, chemical and optical properties of their
natural counterparts, or close enough. There will always be a market
for them. If you can fill that niche, go for it. But there will
always be those who will never come around to synthetics.
Synthetics, along with simulants and imitations have a long history
in the gem trade (synthetics since the late 1880s) and much of it
has been unethical. Just make sure you disclose them to your
clientele, and there won’t be a problem.

James in SoFl


#9
   First let me say that not all Synthetic stones are less
expensive than their natural counterpart ( An example would be
Amethyst vs. Synthetic Amethyst ). 

My understanding is that the market got flooded with synthetic
amethyst, parcels were mixed natural and synthetic stones.It was too
expensive to test every piece, and that lowered the price, as in
devalued, natural amethyst.

Richard in Denver


#10

Cameron - I think synthetic stones are appropriate to use. It gives
you the option to have a great green emerald, for example, at a
price regular folks can afford. The synthetic stones have the human
advantage that nobody had to die to mine them and we didn’t mess up
the earth getting them. I am especially fond of lab created
padparascha color lab created sapphire.

But - you must be very careful to tell your customers that the
stones are lab created. If at all possible, mark on the jewelry
that the stone is lab created so there is no question of fraud. The
sales ticket or hang tag also indicates the nature of the stone. The
jewelry that I make is not the kind that is purchased for it’s
intrinsic value of gold and stones, but rather - designer or art
jewelry or smart jewelry.

What’s frustrating is finding a source for these stones other than
Chatham. They are out there, look for example at school rings.
They are nearly all synthetic stones, and affordable. They just
aren’t regularly found at gem shows, because the dealers that sell
natural stones generally won’t like to compete with the much lower
cost, and much better quality of synthetic stones. Or it could be
that the synthetics are made in standard sizes to sell in huge
volumes and we are too small a market for them.

In Tucson, sometimes you can find synthetic stones in the GLDA show.

If we didn’t use new methods, none of us would have pearls to sell
either. Cultured pearls are a lab created gem, in much the same way
cultured gems are made. While the pearls can be proved to be
cultured by the nucleus, generally the only way you can readily
identify a synthetic stone is that it is too good to be natural. It
has perfect color and no inclusions.

I’m sure reasonable folks will disagree with my perspective.

Judy Hoch, G.G.
@Judy_Hoch


#11

Thanks for all the replies!

It is good to know what most people seem to think. I had been under
the impression that synthetics were somehow inferior, and yet the
books I was reading were saying that they were the same material
essentially (like you all have).

I now know that I can happily use synthetic stones (if that fits the
design concept) without feeling I am trying to supply a customer
something of a lower value, but declaring it for what it is of
course!!

Cheers
Cam
under
down-


#12
    I now know that I can happily use synthetic stones (if that
fits the design concept) without feeling I am trying to supply a
customer something of a lower value, but declaring it for what it
is of course!! 

Yes, use them happily. But do remember that they ARE of a lower
value, at least monetarily. Aesthetically, metaphysically, etc.,
their value will be determined by you and your customers. Sounds
like you’re going to have a lot of fun with them.

James in SoFl