View Full Version : Synthetic Gemstones: As Good As Natural Ones?

01-23-2004, 07:14 AM
I'm asking because I wouldlike to buy an alexandrite..which is a very unusual gemstone (they change color when exposed to sunlight vs.artificial light). However, a natural alexandrite costs >$1000/carat! Are the synthetic versions just as good?
People criticize synthetic gems because:
-they lack the flaws/cracks/inclusions of natural stones..they are TOO perfect
-they are comparatively inexpensive:lab-grown rubies are less than 1/10 the price of their natural counterparts
I can't tell the difference..anybody know more about alexandrites? Do the syntheticones look as good as naturalones?

01-23-2004, 09:16 AM
This is more of a matter of opinion, I think.

I can spot a lab-created sapphire a mile away, and I don't like them. I can't think of a compelling reason why I like natural ones, except they're a darker blue than the created ones are.

If you want a LC stone, go for it.

01-23-2004, 09:43 AM
At least some synthetic alexandrites do change color. Many people want natural stones for their rarity, because they seem more real, because they have characteristics not dulpicated in the lab, etc. I you are just looking for a stone that appears a certain way, then go for synthetic. You may see them not only cheaper, larger, and with fewer flaws, but also in more interesting shapes. Many jewlers are more conservative in their choice of cut for natural stones, than they are in synthetic stones. If you break a lab stone, you can just grow another. This page (http://www.swissgemshop.ch/en-us/dept_30.html) shows stones in a variety of shapes. Note: I am not reccommending buying or not buying form this company, it just turned up on google. As long as you don't pass the synthetic off as a natural stone, there is nothing wrong with getting or selling synthetics.

01-23-2004, 11:41 AM
I have always found the preference for natural or "real" over artificial or "fake" stones odd. I have always felt that if I can feel the stones, they are real. Or at least preferable to those I cannot feel.

Jon the Geek
01-23-2004, 12:52 PM
I don't know anything about the mining/control of alexandrite, but for synthetic diamonds I think the argument is simple. Nobody dies for the creation of synthetic diamons, whereas people (at least a few, probably more) die in diamond mines and the fights for control of said mines. Add to this the fact that the diamond cartel now laser etches their diamonds since there's no other way to tell a natural diamond from a synthetic one, and I think the choice is fairly simple.

I don't understand why some people would prefer a 1 carat natural diamond to a 10 carat synthetic one. Seems crazy to me.

01-24-2004, 01:50 PM
I find it bizarre to contend that a gemstone created in a lab isn't "real". Yes, it is real, a man-made diamond is a real diamond. Man-made gemstones are cheaper, usually more perfect, and they aren't produced by monopolies and/or murdering thugs.

01-24-2004, 02:27 PM
It's in the best interests of DeBeers and other gemstone cartels to try to convince the public that synthetic gems are of lower quality and desirability. It's not like it's the only lie they ever told...

01-24-2004, 05:50 PM
Sooo...something that has fewer flaws and is less expensive is somehow supposed to be a bad thing? :dubious: If there are fewer flaws and inclusions, wouldn't that increase the reflection in the facets and make the stone shinier (and, presumably, prettier)? If it looks better and costs less, and is otherwise identical in every other physical and chemical property, shouldn't everybody want lab-created stones? I don't get it.

01-24-2004, 06:59 PM
Personally, I can see an extra appeal to buying synthetic diamonds...a real one was just dug out of the ground. A synthetic one was forged by the hand of man. It's a celebration of human ingenuity!

("If I die, I will have to go before Crom, and he will ask me 'What is the riddle of the Cubic Zirconium?'")