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What is the difference between a Natural Gem, a Synthetic Gem and an Artificial Gem?

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With the recent advent of Lab Grown Real Carbon Diamonds being sold in the marketplace, there is plenty of misinformation and misuse of terminology that is meant to confuse those trying to understand the differences between various jewelry stones and Products.

Let us begin with the Basics 

There are three kinds of Jewelry Stones: 

  • Natural, Mined Diamonds / Natural, Mined Gemstones
  • Synthetic Diamonds / Synthetic Gemstones
  • Artificial Diamonds / Artificial Gemstones

Further Explanation of each kind of Jewelry Stone

1. Jewelry stones Mined from the ground in it's unadulterated Natural form - Properly described as:

  • Mined from the ground Diamond or Gemstone
  • Real Diamond or Gemstone
  • Genuine Diamond or Gemstone

2. Jewelry stones that are Synthetically Produced in a Laboratory Environment.

These jewelry stones are made by man and are composed of the same ingredients found in nature, as the Mined from the ground gem. These man made gems are chemically and physically the same as the Mined from the Ground  gem. Having the same hardness, they handle light the same, sparkle the same, and have the same colors available as the Mined Gem. The main difference between the Mined from the ground gem and Lab Grown gem is their cost.  Mining is a costly endeavor and Precise gemstone cutting is not inexpensive. Diamonds and Gemstones of all kinds are Synthetically produced - According to a Federal Trade Commission ruling in August of 2018, These Man Made gems can be Properly described as Real, and Genuine, and must be disclosed to the customer in the following terms:

  • Synthetic Diamond, Synthetic [Rubies, Sapphire, Emerald... Fill in the blank, there are many]
  • Lab Grown Diamond, Lab Grown [Many Gemstones as mentioned before]
  • Lab Created Diamond, Lab Created Gemstones [Precious and Semi-Precious]
  • Cultured Diamond, Cultured Gemstones

3. Jewelry stones that are massed produced of materials that look like, Diamonds, Gemstones and Pearls - properly described as Artificial, Fake, Faux, Imitation, Simulation, Simulated, CZ, Cubic Zirconia, Russian Brilliants, Moissanite. 

Because CZ and Moissanite were originally discovered naturally and in very small amounts, these two diamond imitations are now reproduced synthetically. They are not Synthetic Diamond, they are synthetic Cubic Zirconia and Synthetic Moissanite, two jewelry stones produced for the sole purpose of imitating diamonds. 

Synthetic and Artificial explained in Very simple terms

Example #1

Let us look at B12 Vitamin... It can be chemically synthesized in a laboratory under controlled conditions. B12 vitamin would not be considered artificial as it is Chemically, Analytically and Functionally indistinguishable from naturally isolated B12 vitamin, but it is not natural either (obtained from Nature), it is synthetic. Although produced in a lab, it is still B12 Vitamin. 

[Remember other words meaning the same as Artificial is, Imitation, Simulated, Fake, Faux, and so forth]

Example #2

Artificial sweetener. You know, the Pink and Blue packets some of us use to sweeten our coffee and tea. It is referred to as Artificial as It has nothing to do with Real, Natural, Grown in the Ground, Sugar Cane. The white stuff we know as sugar is sucrose, a molecule composed of 12 atoms of carbon, 22 atoms of hydrogen, and 11 atoms of oxygen (C12H22O11). The Pink and Blue packet sweeteners, are not Sugar, and as such could not be marketed as Sugar. They can be marketed legally as a Sugar substitute or as an Alternative to Sugar.


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