This blog is a useful tool to give you valuable advice regarding gemstones, jewels, jewelry trends, and jewelry industry. Posts, pictures, videos, interviews and reviews in this blog will be supported by my expertise as a gemologist. With this post I will explain some frequently used gemological terms, so that your next jewelry shopping will be more effective and enjoyable.
Most gemstones are minerals. About 100 of the 3800 mineral species known have gem qualities. The essential attributes of gemstones are beauty, rarity, and durability. Beauty derives from color, brilliance, or light-reflecting qualities. Rarity is a quality that enhances gemstones’ desirability and value. Durability is the sufficient hardness to resist abrasion and breakage.
A synthetic gemstone is an artificially produced material, which has essentially the same chemical composition, physical and optical characteristics as its natural counterpart.
However, there are several artificially produced gem materials that have no counterpart in nature. These are more correctly described as artificial products, for example cubic zirconia.
Organic gems such as pearl, coral, and amber are the by-product of a biological growth process. It is not possible to synthesize these gems, therefore the definition of the term ‘synthetic’ is only applicable to inorganic gemstones.
A simulant can be any material that has the external appearance of the gem it imitates. For example blue tourmaline is used to simulate the more expensive blue sapphire. Similarly, a man-made gemstone such as cubic zirconia is used to simulate diamond. The chemical composition, physical and optical characteristics of the simulant and the natural stone being imitated are usually quite different.
The term brilliant is often confused with diamond, but they are not synonyms. Diamond is a gemstone, while brilliant is a style of gem cutting, which refers to how a gemstone is faceted. The surface of a faceted gem is covered with several geometrically arranged, flat surfaces called facets.