At the recent Denver Gem and Mineral Show I went around asking many
different long time Gem and Mineral industry folks the following
Do "synthetic" gems need to have a natural counter-part?
In order to avoid influencing their answer I had the question typed
on a piece of paper and handed it to them. In this manner they were
all asked equally and influenced by the question and only the
Below are the answers, the names and the credentials of the people
who I asked. All of the people I asked are folks that are active and
make their livings from the gem, mineral or jewelry business. Their
answers are printed and underlined (with their permission of
course). I thank them all for their participation and enthusiasm in
Tom Cushman of Allerton Cushman & Co. Sun Valley, ID well known
gem dealer initially said NO then changed his answer to YES after
talking with Mark Kaufman who was standing near by.
Mark Kaufman - Kaufman Enterprises in San Diego, CA well known gem
cutter and dealer
YES and NO with caveat
Tim Roark of Tim Roark Imports Atlanta, GA well known gem dealer
Herb Obodda Short Hills, NJ well known mineral and rare gem
NO initially then said YES and added "a blanket definition is not
Don Olson of Donald K. Olson & Associates Bonsall, CA well known
mineral and gem dealer
Gloria Olson of Donald K. Olson and Associates Bonsall, CA gem
and mineral dealer
Ann Frazier writes articles for gem and mineral publications
Si Frazier writes articles for gem and mineral publications said
"Let me check the Oxford English Dictionary"
Merle White Editor of the Lapidary Journal
Yes "according to the GIA"
Sara Stern FGA of Saraco Company
Dudley Blauwet of Mountain Minerals International Louisville, CO
mineral and gem dealer cited Zincite and said "how do you like that"
(zincite is an accidentally man-made gem)
Wayne Leicht of Kristalle Laguna Beach, CA well known mineral
NO (but added) "if word gem is not used"
John White of Kustos Stewartstown, PA past curator for the
Charles Key well known mineral dealer and collector
Bill Pinch well known mineral dealer and collector
John Rhoads D&J Rare Gems Salida, CO gem cutter and dealer-
winner of numerous Cutting Edge Awards
Bob Spomer Buena Vista Gem Works Buena Vista, CO gem cutter
Morgan Sonsthagen of Sonthsagen Design Denver, CO jeweler YES and
added "can see both sides of the argument - could be yes and no"
Don Hoover FGA and Geophysicist
Grady Harris of Creative Gems Seagoville, TX man-made rough gem
Leslie Bertoldi GG & GJ Denver, CO
Jay Morley jeweler Boulder, CO
Warren Pressler GG, NAJA, ASA Arvada, CO
Larry Dalinka of Dalinka Design jeweler
Susan Dalinka of Dalinka Design jeweler
Lance Kanaby Mine Design cutter and importer
Jonathon Passel Natural Selection gem and mineral dealer
Carlos Vasconcelos well known gem and mineral dealer Governador
Peter Erdo owner of GRAVES Pompano Beach, FL sells synthetic &
natural rough gems
The results are 19 NOs and 8 YESes . From this poll it is obvious
there is some confusion on what a "synthetic" is. The question often
lead to long deep conversations and thought. In the end most people
I polled thought it was all semantics. The more scientific oriented
folks seemed to favor that all man-made gems by definition are
I uphold and stick to my original statement that: "A synthetic gem
does NOT have to have a man-made counter-part". This leads to the
next statement I also believe is true: All man-made gems are
synthetic. It seems that many people whom are very active in this
business agree with me, but not all.
Sincerely, Steve Green - Rough and Ready Gems www.briolettes.com