Do you want to become an educated buyer, and enter into the world of rare colored gemstones? Do you want to be confident as you browse the stores of various jewelry merchants, looking for loose gemstones? The question that would definitely come to your mind as you browse different jewelers for loose gemstones is, how to identify whether the gemstone is real. This question is tricky to answer, but we can offer you some tips regarding how to tell if a loose gemstone is real or fake. Let us start with the ABCs of gemstones and look at what is a natural gemstone, a genuine gemstone, and a simulated gemstone.
ABCs of Gemstones - Natural Gemstone
A natural gemstone is a form of organic matter (such as coral, pearl, etc.) or a mineral (such as quartz) that is used in making jewelry, such as fine jewelry, designer jewelry, handmade jewelry, custom jewelry, casting jewelry, etc. Natural gemstone is characterized by the fact that it does not go through any form of treatment and is naturally created. Once the natural gemstone is mined, it is only cut, polished, and faceted, or perhaps, cut en cabochon before it is set in jewelry.
The problem with most of the freshly mined gemstones is, that they are rarely appropriate for being used in fine jewelry, even though they have been through the polishing and faceting process. This is why, they are ‘enhanced’ or ‘treated’ in a variety of ways so as to remove their inherent flaws and improve their overall appeal. These gemstones are 100% real and are labeled as ‘genuine’ gemstones so as to indicate their status of being treated in one way or the other.
A simulated gemstone is a gemstone that is presented to the buyer as another gem, and sold under some other name. An example of a simulated gemstone would be garnet being sold as ruby. While the gemstone might be authentic in its own way, it would still be considered an imitation because it is being marked and sold as another stone.
Synthetic Gemstones and Man-Made Gemstones
Synthetic gemstones are similar to natural gemstones, in terms of physical, chemical, and optical properties, with only one difference – they are made by humans. Some examples of synthetic gemstones are synthetic diamonds, synthetic rubies, and synthetic blue sapphires. You can call these synthetic gemstones fake, but there is nothing inherently wrong with them as long as you are aware of the fact that they are synthetic and their price is lower as compared to their natural counterparts.
Man-made gemstones are the same as synthetic gemstones, with one, subtle difference, and that is, they don’t have any natural counterparts. Some examples of man-made gemstones are YAG and GGG.
What are the First Signs of a Fake Loose Gemstone?
- Imitations look almost perfect Since the mocked versions of natural gemstones are man-made, they are different from their natural counterparts which have irregularities and natural flaws. These could be anything – air bubbles, strikes, dents, spots, or roughness. The imitations that are man-made are flawless – you won't find any dents or inclusion within them, whereas the natural loose gemstones are not flawless even post-polishing.
- The price is unbelievable If your wholesale gemstone jewelry manufacturer and supplier is offering a price that is too good to be true, then you need to cancel your plans of buying gemstones from that particular gemstone jewelry manufacturer. Genuine gemstones are rare and an expensive natural resource, which is why they are costly.
- If it's fake, it will be heavy as well This is not just a myth – it is a warning sign. Gemstones that are synthesized in the lab are heavier than real gemstones. Why? Well, it's because their density is greater in comparison to natural gemstones.
How To Know If a Loose Gemstone Is Real or Fake
Below are some ways to identify fake gemstones, without the help of an expert. Test these methods out as you go out to buy loose gemstones.
Try Heat Test
Hold the loose gemstone you have in your hand for some time. It has been observed that when imitated or synthesized gemstones are held in your fist, they get warmed up in a short duration of time. On the other hand, real gemstones do not heat up as easily – they are relatively cooler and maintain a lesser temperature. This is why when natural gemstones are compared with synthetic gemstones in a given time and condition, the synthetic gemstones heat up before their natural counterparts.
Notice The Color
Synthetic gemstones tend to possess an intense color when compared to their natural counterparts. So, in order to avoid confusion, picture the natural gemstone in your mind, or click the picture of a relative and friend wearing that gemstone. Use this picture for comparison as you go out to shop for loose gemstones.
Listen To The Sound the Gemstone Makes
In order for you to use this method, you need a natural loose gemstone beforehand. Once you have this natural stone as well as the one the shopkeeper intends to sell to you, take both and knock both these stones with each other. If the shopkeeper’s stone is original, it will make a distinct muffled sound after being knocked.
UV Light Test
You can even test your gemstones through UV light. For this, you need a device that produces UV light, and beam the UV light at your stone, to see whether the stone’s color changes or not. Here are some of the common observations when a gemstone is stuck with UV light:
- Sapphire Turns Purple Under UV Light
- The Color Of Topaz Changes To Lilac-Yellow or Brown
- Dimond Gets A Blue Hue
- Alexandrite Gets A Dark Red Color
One thing you need to note with this test is, that not all stones can be tested through this method – some stones do not show any change in color as they are struck with UV light.
The Vapor Test
If you are buying gemstones with good thermal conductivity, such as diamonds, this simple test can be used to determine their originality. All you have to do is exhale on the given stone and see for condensed vapors on its surface. If the stone you possess is a natural gemstone, you won’t find any condensation or vaporization on the surface of the stone. If the gemstone is a replica, then you will observe condensed vapors. This is a great way to check the authenticity of diamonds.
The Transparency Check
By observing the transparency of a gemstone, you can know about its origin. The nature of transparency also helps you distinguish between fake and natural gemstones. Diamonds are the most transparent among all the gemstones, and stones such as loose quartz, loose sapphires, loose emeralds, and loose rubies are also transparent. Stones such as loose moonstone or loose labradorite are translucent, while stones such as loose Turquoise, loose Lapis Lazuli, and loose malachite are opaque.
Notice The Stone’s Sparkle and Luster
Different gemstones radiate different types of sparkle and have different luster as well. While not all dazzling stones are real, on a general note, original gemstones are often less lustrous and less bright than their fake counterparts. Also, if you are suspicious that the loose gemstone you are viewing is made of glass, then understand that glass typically disperses and refracts light into several colors on the rainbow spectrum. So, if you notice the loose gemstone in your hand sparkling in a different color besides its shade, then it is probably fake. But this test is not applicable for moissanite – it is because moissanite sparkles in rainbow hues.
Look For Air Bubbles
The mark of a fake glass gemstone is the presence of small air bubbles in the interior of the jewel. So, pick up your loose gemstone and look through a jeweler’s loupe for the same by holding it under bright white light. In case you notice a single or cluster of air bubbles, it means that the loose gemstone you have is probably fake.
While buying loose gemstones of higher value, always look for a lab certificate. In general, it’s a safe practice to ask your jeweler or gemstone jewelry supplier for a lab certificate on any diamond, sapphire, ruby, or emerald purchase that is above $1000. In case you are buying a stone of lesser value, we don’t advise you to get a certificate.
Besides the above four main precious stones, you can also ask for a lab certificate for other loose gemstones such as high-quality spinels, certain tourmalines, or garnets that have a significant value. Your jeweler or gemstone vendor may or may not charge a small fee to facilitate this and give you such certificates, but we assure you, it will be worth it. Not only does it offer you peace of mind, but it also helps you in case you want to sell the loose gemstone you bought in the future.
When it comes to the certificate, ensure the following things:
- Ensure that the certificate comes from an internationally reputable gem lab such as GRS, GIA, Gübelin, AIGS, and SSEF. Beware, you should never get your loose gemstone certified from some small, local lab.
- In the certificate, the name of the stone must be stated along with the fact that whether is natural or has undergone any treatment.
- In case you are planning to sell the loose gemstone to gem collectors or gem aficionados at a premium, you should ask the lab to state the origin of the gemstone as well. The lab might charge extra for determining the origin of the gemstone. But, it helps you a lot when you sell the gemstone in the market.
How to Customize Loose Gemstone into Jewelry?
Once you make a purchase of the loose gemstone you want, you need to look for ways you can turn your gorgeous gemstone into custom gemstone jewelry. You need to think about whether you want your gemstone jewelry to be made using handmade means (through which your jewelry will be called handmade jewelry) or you want to get the gemstone jewelry through the lost wax casting process (through which the jewelry you get will be called casting jewelry). You also need to understand the basic terminologies and lingo that gemstone jewelry manufacturers and suppliers use.
Once you are done with the above process, you need to properly communicate with the jeweler or wholesale gemstone jewelry manufacturer regarding the design of the jewelry you want, what type of setting you want the jewelry to be in, what kind of extra coating (like rhodium coating) do you want on your jewelry, and other related things which determine the look and feel of your jewelry. The best way to communicate about the design is to give a proper photo of the design. Through this photo, the jeweler will create a CAD model, and use this CAD model to make your jewelry.
Once you are done with the above things, all you have to do is sit and give the jeweler some time to make the jewelry. A piece of custom jewelry can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks.
This was it for our guide on ways to tell if loose gemstones are real and how to customize a loose gemstone into jewelry. If you are overlooking these facts and don’t feel the need to research, then please get a gemstone certificate from a good lab for the loose gemstone you are buying. Most important of all, never ever hesitate to clear the slightest of your doubts with the jeweler. Gemstones are a great gift to us from Mother Nature, and they have many healing properties as well.
If you are a jewelry retailer looking to buy wholesale gemstone jewelry, or if you are a retailer with some loose gemstones and you want a wholesale gemstone jewelry manufacturer to make customized jewelry for you using those loose gemstones, then browse Rananjay Exports. We are India’s top wholesale gemstone jewelry manufacturer and supplier since 2013, and apart from selling gemstone jewelry in 250+ different gemstones, we also deal in sterling silver jewelry. You can even purchase silver jewelry in grams as well as gemstone jewelry in grams from Rananjay Exports. We hope that this guide helped you a lot.