From appliances to food, modern man’s life is full of things made by himself. It is not necessarily something bad, and yet the words “natural,” “natural,” or “eco-friendly” can be decisive in a purchase.

How much of this is justified in jewelry? Let’s try to figure it out!

The Imitation Game

Let’s start with a clear distinction between the terms “imitation” and “synthetic stone. Synthetic stones are those that in their appearance, chemical composition and physical properties correspond to their natural counterparts. Their main difference is their laboratory origin. The process of their creation repeats the growth of the minerals in the natural environment, hence the expression “artificially grown.

Imitation replicates only the appearance of the stone, but not its composition and properties. Often the plastic or glass is used for this purpose. Such inserts are used especially in costume jewelry, but they can also be found in silver. To learn how to tell the difference between imitation and real stones, read our other articles.

In Vitro Stones. The history of how gemstones were invented

During the Renaissance, alchemists were interested in recreating expensive materials from cheaper ones. So they began to focus on practical metallurgy, mining, and medicine. Many are familiar with the legendary Philosopher’s Stone, a certain reagent that was used to turn metals into gold and to create the elixir of life.

Although alchemy never became a serious science, it did give an impetus to the development of modern chemistry and physics.

As early as the end of the 19th century, scientific advances made it possible to create synthetic minerals. Not only were they no different from natural gems, but they surpassed them in some respects.

Synthetic rubies appeared in Paris in 1885. They captivated the customers with their variety and price. But that was only at the beginning. The popularity of synthetic rubies spurred the manufacturers to double their prices in just one year. But this did not stop the fans of this gemstone, and soon the synthetic rubies disappeared from the shelves of stores.

A revolution in this field was started by the French chemist Auguste Verneuil. In 1892 he developed a way of growing monocrystals to create synthetic gems. It was called the “Verneuil method.

The scientist told the whole world about his success in 1902, and five years later his laboratory was transformed into an industrial production that produced a ton of rubies in 30 furnaces.

Industry used the Verneuil Method to synthesize rubies and later sapphires, spinels, alexandrite-like rubies, and other stones.

Why are synthetic stones better than natural stones?

Stones created by nature are works of art that are admired. But like works of art, they do not last forever. The deposits of natural stones are rapidly depleting. It may take up to two hours to create a stone in a laboratory, but in nature it will take much longer.

Inspired by nature, mankind has not only created something similar to it, but a full-fledged prototype that is superior to its natural counterpart in some qualities. The gemstones are grown in ideal lab conditions, which is why the end result is a high-quality material. The purity, saturation of color, and optical properties are all adjustable and give free rein to the jewelry designers’ imagination.

Synthetic stones are also more durable. They do not react to grease and are more resistant to fading.

The indisputable advantage is the price of the jewelry piece. Jewelry with rubies, emeralds and sapphires can now be afforded by far more people than at the end of the 19th century. Beauty and accessibility are the main characteristics of jewelry making.

So where does that leave natural stones? They are still used in jewelry, but less frequently. They are a luxury that many cannot afford in a jewelry closet. But the beauty of synthetic stones is quite as good as the natural ones. The parallel with the work of art applies here again: natural stones and luxurious jewelry with them are more an object of admiration than for use.

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