Updated: Jun 21
As the title says, the current gemstones, jade and crystal market is a messy one. Though consumers are looking for natural treasures, most may end up with anything but truly natural. Today, we shall look into the other "types" of treasure typically found in today's market.
Enhanced treasures are treasures which has been treated to improve the appearance and wearability of the treasures. Some procedures have been used for centuries, while others are recent. Treatments are typically chose based on the type of treasure and the desired effect. Although enhancements are common, treasure-buying public remains relatively unaware of these practices. Enhanced treasures isn't necessarily a synthetic stone, and synthetics aren't necessarily enhanced gemstones.
Synthetic treasures are jade, gemstones and crystals which are physically identical to their natural counterpart mined from Earth. This refers to having the same physical properties, such as refractive index and specific gravity, and chemical composition as naturally occurring treasures.
The only difference the two is that synthetic treasures are produced in laboratories under controlled environments. By using chemicals, minerals, temperature, and pressure present in the natural environment of the specific treasure, synthetic treasures are allowed to "grow".
As synthetic treasures are raised in a controlled environment with few interruption from nature, there is minimal chance for "impurities" to impact the growth. Thus, they have lesser inclusions and their colours are usually more vivid than their natural counterpart. However, being man-made, synthetic treasures generally command a lower price than their naturally occurring counterparts.
Currently, commonly found synthetic gemstones include:
Sapphires & Rubies
Synthetic treasures are also sometimes referred to as "Cultivated", "Cultured", and "Man-Made". In differentiating and identifying natural and synthetic treasures, a gemologist typically needs a microscope to examined the structural characteristics.
Simulants & Imitations
Simulants and imitations are non-related materials made to imitate the colour, shape or look of a natural treasure. Such materials are not chemical similar to the natural counterpart they are simulating or imitating, but can easily fool the naked eyes of unsuspecting consumers. Non-related materials include plastics, glass, resin and dyes. Good news is such pieces are easily identified via tests done by a qualified gemologist.
For example, cubic zirconia is a common diamond simulant. Though they are colourless like white diamonds, they do no have the same chemical composition or light refracting properties of diamonds.
And, glass and plastic are often used for imitations by cutting and dying to resemble natural treasures ranging from jade, sapphire to opals.
If you are interested in common enhancements done to natural treasures, keep track on us for our next post!