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Synthetic Stones

Synthetic stones are created in a laboratory by technicians to resemble their natural counterpart and symbolize human ingenuity to represent a beautiful tribute to the wonder of nature and technological advancement.

Synthetic stones go by many names: lab-made, artificial, faux, simulants and nano. Synthetic stones are any stone that has not been formed in nature over thousands of years, but instead created in a laboratory over a short period of time to resemble their natural counterpart.

Why Synthetic?

Synthetic stones do not carry the same sense of history and romance as natural stones, but they have several advantages. Synthetic stones are more affordable than natural stones. They are fully traceable and because they are created in a laboratory, they do not contain the internal flaws that are present in natural stones. They also exhibit less color variations, although slight variations can be found in lighter-colored stones such as pink and purple, which considerably reduces material waste. It is important to consider synthetic stones on their own merits. They are not a replacement for natural stones but are instead a human tribute to their unique beauty. Because it is possible to supply synthetic stones in quantities suitable for large-scale jewelry making, Pandora is able to create stunning and affordable jewelry designs which would otherwise never reach the average consumer.

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Synthetic stones have consistent colours unlike natural stones.

Materials & Methods

Synthetic stones share almost all the chemical, optical and physical characteristics of their natural counterparts and can be made to order with a consistent color and crystal shape. They are also likely to be much less rare than natural stones of the same size, clarity and color. Pandora’s synthetic stone assortment contains varieties of synthetic ruby and synthetic sapphire, as well as different color varieties of synthetic quartz. We add the term ‘synthetic’ to our stone descriptions in order to disclose that they are lab-created rather than natural. Synthetic crystals have been produced since the late 1800s and are the result of three main methods:

FLAME FUSION (MELT PROCESS)

In 1902, the French chemist Auguste Verneuil developed the Verneuil process (flame fusion method) in order to grow synthetic rubies. The process involves dropping powdered chemicals through a high-temperature flame, where they melt and fall onto a rotating pedestal to produce a synthetic crystal. This method is still in use today and is the most common way to grow synthetic ruby or synthetic sapphire and synthetic spinel.

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FLUX GROWTH (SOLUTION PROCESS)

The flux growth process is also used to create synthetic rubies and synthetic sapphires as well as synthetic emeralds. Flux is a solid metal which when melted will dissolve other materials in the same way that water dissolves sugar. As the dissolved chemical solution cools, the synthetic crystal forms.

HYDROTHERMAL GROWTH (SOLUTION PROCESS)

The only known process for creating synthetic quartz, such as synthetic amethyst, hydrothermal growth is a laborious and costly process that requires heat and pressure, replicating the conditions deep in the Earth under which natural gemstones are formed. Nutrients are added to a water solution and dissolved. As the solution cools, the synthetic crystals start to form.

ATTENTION

Ultrasonic cleaners should be used with caution with synthetic stones as the ultrasonic waves can have adverse effects on stones that have been heat-treated to add color, and may damage the setting or the stone itself.

LEGAL REQUIREMENTS

From a legal point of view and to avoid customer confusion, it is very important that all stones belonging to the synthetic category are not referred to simply as ‘gemstones’ but always as synthetic stones.

Since synthetic stones have natural counterparts – such as synthetic ruby, synthetic spinel, synthetic hematite and synthetic sapphire – the word “synthetic” (or similar wordings such as “laboratory grown” or “created”) must never be left out. Doing so could leave the customer with the impression that they are buying a natural gemstone.

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