Jewelry Encyclopedia: what are synthetic stones

Around the ornaments with synthesized, that is, artificially grown stones and jewelry with inserts, imitations there are many myths. It's time to part with these delusions!

Subtleties of classification

Jewelry stones, created not by nature, but by man, can be divided into synthetic (synthesized) and imitations. The first ones have a natural, really existing analogue and completely coincide with it in color, composition, hardness and other physicochemical properties. For example, rubies, emeralds, diamonds, sapphires are natural and synthetic. Laboratory-grown stones gain a commercially attractive weight in a matter of months, whereas in nature this process lasts for centuries.

Jewelry Encyclopedia: what are synthetic stones

The term "synthetic" in relation to precious stones "from a test tube" is considered unsuccessful in the jewelry environment, since it is associated with imitation and even counterfeiting by consumers.Jewels with such stones, of course, have a more affordable price than with nuggets mined in mines and mines, but they can not be called glass. By law, the manufacturer is obliged to indicate on the product label that the stone is artificially grown. It is possible to distinguish synthesized stones from natural ones with the help of expertise in the gemological center, but not by eye.

Imitations are made of glass, minerals, metals, ceramics, plastic. They do not have a natural analogue, since they are "invented" under laboratory conditions. So, neither Swarovski crystals nor cubic zirconia have any similarity in nature, although they resemble rock crystal and even diamonds. Imitating jewelry inserts are used in the manufacture of jewelry and accessories (watches), less often in jewelry.

Synthesized stones: a bit of history

The first synthetic stone, a 10-carat ruby, was obtained in 1891 by the French mineralogist Auguste Verneille. By the Verneuil method, it became possible to grow crystals suitable for jewelery use, and in 1910, synthetic sapphire was similarly obtained.An artificial emerald identical to the natural one was first grown in 1935.

Jewelry Encyclopedia: what are synthetic stones

But with the best friends of the girls - diamonds - not so simple. In 1954, the laboratory of the American company General Electric "matured" the first artificial diamond, whose growth cycle could be repeated on an industrial scale. But it was a mineral of technical importance, and not of jewelry. Nowadays, millions of carats of diamonds and diamond chips are produced annually in the world for the needs of manufacturers of various devices, devices and tools.

Gem-quality artificial diamonds were obtained by Herbert Strong and Robert Wentorf (both from General Electric) in 1970, but their counterparts have not yet succeeded in capturing the jewelry market. The process of growing a king of stones is long, complicated and costly compared to other gems of laboratory origin. A diamond, cut from a synthetic crystal, can cost from 50% to 90% of the price of a similar weight and processing of a natural nugget, and even exceed it at cost. According to scientists, the future is in this direction, but for the time being, there is no need to fear that real diamonds in jewelry will be ousted by those grown.

Inserts-imitations: a bit of history

The most popular imitations of precious and semi-precious stones in jewelry are cubic zirconia and Swarovski crystals (rhinestones). Remember, fianit is not an artificial diamond! There is no carbon in the core element, but zirconium oxide is present. Fianit was obtained in the mid-1960s by scientists from the P. I. Lebedev Physical Institute of the USSR Academy of Sciences (FIAN), after whom it was named.

Jewelry Encyclopedia: what are synthetic stones

In the 18th century, the glass maker and the jeweler with German roots, Georg Strass, who lived in the French Alsace, invented to imitate diamonds with the help of faceted lead glass. The name of the master became the name of his invention: the spectacular inserts were called “rhinestones”. A century later, the ideas of Strass were developed by Daniel Swarovski, hereditary cutter of Bohemian crystal. He improved the composition of the rhinestone, the quality of grinding and the durability of the spraying, so that those with the beauty of cut, transparency, play of light and brilliance did not yield to diamonds. In 1895, Daniel founded Swarovski in Austria in order to sell his products to the whole world and first of all to the fashion designers of Paris. The case of a talented cutter, inventor of the first electric polishing machine (1892), thanks to the work of descendants, is now flourishing.Swarovski crystals (rhinestones) have 12 facets, made from high quality crystal (glass with 32% lead oxide content) with the addition of synthetic powder and natural stone of jewelry value.

What are synthetic stones and imitations for?

First of all, the "deputies" of precious stones are good because they make jewelry more affordable. To buy a ring with an artificially grown emerald without spending excessively for your own budget or to save money for several months for the beauty created by nature is everyone’s personal choice. And those who do not need to save money for the purchase of jewelry masterpieces, outside the red tracks and gala dinners prefer to wear inexpensive copies of jewelry. An example is given by Beyonce, whose 18-carat diamond engagement ring is estimated at $ 5 million: every day the singer has a copy of this ring, which costs 1,000 times less - $ 5,000.

Also, the “alternative of luxury” fits into the global eco-trend - concern for the preservation of the environment, because the deposits of some precious stones today are close to depletion.


And finallyit is much easier to obtain ideal characteristics for grown stone in terms of weight in carats, color, refraction of light, absence of any defects - inclusions, microcracks and others. There are laboratory centers for the production of synthetic stones in Russia, China, India, USA, Sweden and other countries of the world.