Some people make distinctions between different kinds of synthetic or lab-grown gems. In fact, you may even find different definitions of synthetic material. (Editor’s Note: Look no further than Part 1 of our guide to synthetic gemstones). Two terms commonly encountered are simulated and created gemstones. To clarify matters, here are some general definitions of these words.
Many terms are used interchangeably with synthetic. Artificial, lab-grown, lab-made, “man-made,” etc. All these terms identify gemstones that are created in laboratories, not in nature. There are many processes for synthesizing gems. Some are inexpensive, some are very expensive, but they’re all conducted artificially, in a lab. They may mimic or reproduce natural processes and use the same ingredients found in the natural stones. However, these processes are not occurring in nature.
Some synthetic stones are chemically and optically identical to their natural counterparts. For example, a synthetic emerald may be a real emerald but not a natural emerald. Depending on the process used, synthetic gemstones may even have the same inclusions and flaws found in natural gems. Or, they may have telltale signs they’re synthetic. Distinguishing between synthetic and natural gemstones can be very difficult.…