What’s the Difference: 5 Gemstone Varietals and How to Differentiate Between Them

For centuries, people have been awed by the stunning qualities of gemstones and precious metal jewellery; human instinct is naturally drawn towards the sparkle and shine of uniquely designed necklaces, rings, earrings and other distinct items, designed with a remarkable array of gorgeous gemstones found from across the world.

Today, jewellery is crafted and displayed in a variety of ways. Some of this jewellery is traditionally manufactured with handcrafted designs and natural stones while others are fashioned with man-made alternatives, some of which are appealingly superior in brilliance and appearance than authentic natural stones

Some of the common terms used to describe gemstones (many of which are synonymous with one another) include: natural, genuine, certified, enhanced, lab-created, synthetic, artificial, man-made, simulated, faux, and fake. This blog is going to outline some of the specific attributes of a few of the varieties of these gemstones, and how to tell them apart through their descriptions.

Natural Gemstones

A naturally occurring gemstone is formed through natural events with no human interaction or interference. After hundreds, thousands or millions of years these stones are then mined, cut and polished to enhance their natural beauty. Naturally occurring and naturally cut stones have always been one of the most sought after products in the world; however, the display of these gemstones has slightly evolved in the last few decades. Instead of opting for perfectly cut jewellery, many people are opting for more natural, rough stone jewellery, that may be oddly shaped or have small imperfections.

Genuine Gemstone

Genuine gemstones are naturally occurring gemstones that are treated to enhance the appearance or durability of the stone. Sometimes these gemstones can be referred to as enhanced or treated but this should not steer you away from the quality of the stone; often this treatment is performed to maintain the integrity of the stone. Some of the procedures performed to genuine stones may include: mending cracks or fixing discoloration. For example, many natural sapphires are treated with an extreme heat source to improve the gemstones’ clarity and enhance the brilliance of the stone.

Certified Gemstone

Many gemstones, including Ammolite, are graded and then certified by a gemologist. This certification is accomplished through a predefined standard scale that is used to grade the stones’ quality and authenticity. Certified gemstones often come with more value attached to them, as their authenticity is guaranteed before it is even purchased.

Lab-Created Gemstones

Lab-created gemstones have really taken off over the past decade. These gemstones are “created” with the high standards and the quality of naturally occurring gems but in a lab. More often than not, these stones have the exact same chemical composition as the natural stone, so, therefore, they can be called or named the same as the authentic natural stones.

Simulated Gemstones

Simulated gemstones, which can also be referred to as “fake” or “imitation” stones are intended to look like authentic gemstones; however, their chemical composition is not the same. Some simulated gemstones are made of materials such as plastic or glass and are intended to deceive their audience with what looks authentic to the naked eye.