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The Difference Between Natural And Synthetic Gemstones - Which Reigns Supreme?


In this article, we will delve into the difference between natural and synthetic gemstones, exploring their formation processes, appearances, values, and more.

Gemstones have long been prized for their beauty and allure. From vibrant rubies to sparkling diamonds, these precious stones hold a special place in our hearts. However, not all gemstones are created equal.

There are two distinct categories of gemstones: natural and synthetic. While both possess their own unique characteristics, it is crucial to understand the differences between them.

Gemstones are mineral crystals that are cut and polished to enhance their natural beauty. They have captivated humans for centuries, adorning jewelry, artifacts, and even crowns.

The allure of gemstones lies in their vivid colors, exceptional brilliance, and rarity. But what sets natural gemstones apart from their synthetic counterparts? Let's begin by understanding each category in detail.

COPYRIGHT_BER: Published on https://www.bernardine.com/the-difference-between-natural-and-synthetic-gemstones/ by Barbara Mitchell on 2023-05-25T03:43:02.012Z

Understanding Gemstones

Before we delve into the differences, let's establish a common understanding of gemstones. Gemstones are mineral crystals that are valued for their aesthetic and often monetary worth.

They are typically formed deep within the Earth's crust under intense pressure and heat. Over millions of years, various geological processes give birth to these exquisite treasures.

Natural Gemstones

A wooden table displaying three natural gemstones
A wooden table displaying three natural gemstones

The Meaning Of The Term "Natural Gemstones"

Gemstones found in nature were formed by the earth over the course of millions of years, independent of any influence from humans.

Geological processes that include the interaction of particular minerals and the circumstances of the surrounding environment are required for their formation.

These gemstones are discovered in their natural state, and then they are cut and polished so that their true beauty may be seen.

The Methods By Which Natural Gemstones Are Formed

The process by which natural gemstones are formed is one that is both complicated and time-consuming. The formation of a gemstone's mineral components takes place deep under the crust of the earth, where it all begins.

Over a lengthy period of time, the formation of these crystals is contributed to by factors like heat, pressure, and a variety of geological activity.

These precious stones are eventually brought to the surface of the earth by processes including volcanic eruptions, the movement of tectonic plates, and erosion. Once there, they can be identified and mined.

Examples Of Natural Gemstones

  • Diamond
  • Ruby
  • Sapphire
  • Emerald
  • Amethyst
  • Aquamarine
  • Opal
  • Topaz
  • Peridot
  • Tanzanite

Synthetic Gemstones

Two green stones, one raw and one cut
Two green stones, one raw and one cut

Definition Of Synthetic Gemstones

Synthetic gemstones, also known as lab-grown or man-made gemstones, are created in laboratories under controlled conditions. They possess the same chemical and physical properties as natural gemstones but are grown in a significantly shorter timeframe.

Production Process Of Synthetic Gemstones

The natural process of gem generation is imitated in a laboratory setting in order to produce synthetic jewels, which are identical to their natural counterparts.

Researchers attempt to recreate the environmental factors—including temperature, pressure, and mineral makeup—that are essential to the formation of gemstones.

Synthetic gemstones are carefully fostered to acquire the ideal crystalline structure. This is accomplished by carefully introducing the necessary ingredients and utilizing sophisticated processes.

The end result of this technique is jewels that, to the untrained eye, cannot be distinguished from their natural counterparts.

Examples Of Synthetic Gemstones

  • Lab-Grown Diamond
  • Synthetic Ruby
  • Synthetic Sapphire
  • Synthetic Emerald
  • Synthetic Amethyst
  • Synthetic Aquamarine
  • Synthetic Opal
  • Synthetic Topaz
  • Synthetic Peridot
  • Synthetic Tanzanite

Key Differences Between Natural And Synthetic Gemstones

Now that we have a clear understanding of natural and synthetic gemstones, let's explore the key differences between the two categories.

Synthetic vs Natural Gemstone Unboxing: Ruby, Emerald & More!

Composition And Origin

Natural gemstones are formed through geological processes deep within the Earth's crust. They are composed of minerals that occur naturally and vary in their chemical compositions.

On the other hand, synthetic gemstones have identical chemical compositions to their natural counterparts. However, their origin lies in laboratory settings rather than natural geological formations.

Rarity And Value

Natural gemstones are rare and often possess a higher value due to their limited availability in nature. Factors such as scarcity, demand, and market dynamics influence the value of natural gemstones.

Conversely, synthetic gemstones are more readily available and generally have a lower price point.

Appearance And Clarity

The image depicts eight colored gemstones placed on a white-gray background
The image depicts eight colored gemstones placed on a white-gray background

Natural gemstones display unique characteristics and imperfections, known as inclusions, that are a result of their natural formation process. These inclusions give each stone a distinct appearance, making them truly one-of-a-kind.

In contrast, synthetic gemstones are created in controlled environments, resulting in higher clarity and fewer inclusions.

Ethical And Environmental Considerations

Natural gemstone mining can have social and environmental impacts. The extraction process can lead to habitat destruction, pollution, and human rights issues.

Synthetic gemstones offer an ethical alternative, as they bypass the need for mining and reduce the negative environmental footprint associated with extraction.

Durability And Hardness

Damaged Gemstones [Mohs Hardness]

Gemstones that are mined naturally and those that are created in a laboratory share many characteristics, including a degree of brittleness and resilience to wear and tear.

Both classes are appropriate for use in jewelry and are able to withstand the wear and tear that comes with continuous use.

It is not the natural or artificial origin of a gemstone that decides how long it will endure; rather, it is the mineral makeup of the gemstone as well as how it is cut and treated that makes all the difference.

When attempting to identify a gemstone's overall quality as well as the length of time that it will retain that quality, it is vital to evaluate the gemstone's hardness as well as its resiliency.

In this part of the article, we will examine the myriad of ways in which natural gemstones differ from their man-made counterparts in terms of both their level of abrasion resistance and their level of hardness.


  • Hardness refers to a gemstone's ability to resist scratching or abrasion. It is measured on the Mohs scale, which ranges from 1 (softest) to 10 (hardest).
  • Natural gemstones, such as diamonds and sapphires, are known for their exceptional hardness. Diamonds, being the hardest mineral, score a perfect 10 on the Mohs scale.
  • Synthetic gemstones, on the other hand, can also possess high hardness levels. For example, lab-grown rubies and sapphires exhibit a similar level of hardness to their natural counterparts.
  • Both natural and synthetic gemstones undergo rigorous cutting and polishing processes to enhance their brilliance and shape. However, their inherent hardness remains intact throughout these processes.


  • Resilience refers to a gemstone's ability to withstand external forces, including impacts and pressure, without breaking or chipping.
  • Natural gemstones, owing to their natural formation process, can exhibit varying degrees of resilience. Some gemstones, like emeralds, may have more internal flaws or inclusions, making them relatively less resilient compared to other gemstones.
  • Synthetic gemstones, being grown in controlled environments, can be engineered to have enhanced resilience. By carefully controlling the growth conditions, synthetic gemstones can be made to have fewer flaws and greater structural integrity.
  • It is important to note that while synthetic gemstones can be engineered for higher resilience, their resilience can still vary depending on the specific type of gemstone and its manufacturing process.

Factors To Consider When Choosing Gemstones

There are a number of considerations to take into account before settling on either natural or synthetic gemstones. Take into account your individual preferences, as well as your financial constraints and the gemstone's intended use.

Those looking for a one-of-a-kind piece of nature's artistry may find sentimental significance in natural gemstones and find them appealing because of their rarity.

On the other side, synthetic gemstones provide a choice that is both economical and ethically aware, without sacrificing the stunning beauty of natural gemstones.

People Also Ask

Some popular natural gemstones include diamonds, rubies, sapphires, emeralds, and amethysts.

Are Synthetic Gemstones Of Lesser Quality?

No, synthetic gemstones possess the same chemical and physical properties as natural gemstones and can be of high quality.

How Can I Tell If A Gemstone Is Natural Or Synthetic?

Gemological laboratories and experts can conduct tests to determine the origin of a gemstone using specialized equipment and expertise.

Can Synthetic Gemstones Be Used For Engagement Rings?

Yes, synthetic gemstones can be used for engagement rings.


In conclusion, the difference between natural and synthetic gemstones lies in their origin, rarity, appearance, and value. Natural gemstones are products of nature's extraordinary processes, while synthetic gemstones are carefully grown in laboratories.

Each category has its own merits, and the choice between the two ultimately depends on individual preferences and considerations.

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About The Authors

Barbara Mitchell

Barbara Mitchell - Barbara is recognized by the industry leaders for her passion and objective to make beautiful jewellery accessible, affordable and forever wearable. She designs custom made jewelery made of gold and diamonds for more than 20 years. Her website, bernardine.com has been mentioned in many books such as "The 12 Gemstones of Revelation", "Teens Have Style!", "10-Minute Crystal Healing" and websites such as wikipedia.org, etsy.com, buzzfeed.com, yahoo.net.

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