Thursday, May 22, 2008

Natural, Synthetic and Imitation

A Natural gemstone was dug out of the earth, panned out of a river or vacuumed from the ocean's floor. They were created by cataclysmic explosions, the perfect combination of heat, time, and chemicals. Orange Sapphires! Green and yellow Garnets! Rhutilated Quartz! Watermelon Tourmaline! Cats Eye Chrysoberyl! They are the coolest! And since we had no control over their creation we have some neato stuff that some people like and others view as flawed - colour banding, misty veils, and inclusions. Its like Grandma's baking, she didn't need a cookie recipe anymore, she just chucks a bunch of Good stuff in a bowl and stirs. Sometimes they turn out sweeter, other times nuttier or crunchier but always great.
A Synthetic Gemstone is man made in a lab. It has exactly the same formula as a Natural stone but it was formed by humans who follow the recipe of heat, time and chemicals and come up with the perfect rough stone each time. Imagine someone wrote down Grandma's recipe when she wasn't looking and sold it to Nabisco. Still nice cookies, but they all taste exactly the same, look exactly the same, the thrill is gone.
An Imitation Stone is a fake something. Like a fake Sapphire or fake diamond. It was created to imitate something - maybe both are blue - but that's where the similarities end. Now a picture of Grandma's cookies has been shipped overseas to a country that has never eaten cookies. So the only thing that matters is replicating the look, so the butter is now axle grease, the flour was replaced with drywall dust, worst of all the chocolate chips are painted on... you get the idea.
Now here is the confusing part, sometimes a stone can be synthetic AND imitation. Before Cubic Zirconias, man made sapphire was being used to imitate diamonds.
On the same principle, a stone can be natural AND imitation - The Prince's Ruby in the British Crown Jewels is actually a natural red Spinel!
Hedda's Natural Emerald and 18k yellow gold ring.