It seems like every week, a "new" gemstone is found online, with little or no information at all about it. And jewelry designers will use these stones and pass along the information they are given by the wholesaler, and pretty soon, the misinformation seemingly becomes accepted as fact.
Yet, with just a little effort, anyone can find out about these stones. But it doesn't seem like consumers or even jewelry designers bother to spend a few minutes researching these stones.
There are SO many fakes and frauds, or what I like to call "creative marketing" of gemstones, that I could write many blog entries....and I have!! But I thought it would be easier to just start a quick list of "gemstones" that aren't really gems at all. I hope this is informative, or at least gets people to do their own research on gemstones before buying!
This list is a work in progress and I'll update it as I get more info.
ARGENON STONE, ARGENON FLUORITE
There are a lot of body jewelry shops selling Opalite, which is GLASS, as a something called "argenon", "argenon stone", "argenon fluorite", "argenon opalite", "argenon moonstone" and so forth (basically anything using "argenon"!) claiming it's a semi-precious gem or a natural gemstone. NO, this is simply renaming Opalite glass. This is a man-made glass and is NOT A GEMSTONE.
July 1, 2016 - I had 3 samples of "silverite" examined by a certified gemologist. If you read my blog or even shop on Etsy, you will see "Silverite" jewelry for sale---yet each seller seems to have their own description of what it is; i.e., "white sapphire", "pearlized Corundum", "Diamond Coated Quartz" etc. (Read HERE.) This gemologist examined the 3 separate pieces of this "Silverite" using various tests, including microscopic examination and other tests. She found no indication that any of these were minerals, but were all GLASS with a coating, some sort of pearlescent paint or coating. She is a professional jeweler, a certified gemologist with one of the world's largest and most well-known and well-respected gemstone suppliers----and she never even heard of "silverite" and consulted with others in her field--and they never heard of "silverite" either. (I showed her listings on Etsy and she was shocked.) She examined three separate pieces from 3 different sellers, and determined that ALL WERE COATED GLASS. These are NOT "corundum" or "sapphire" or "quartz" or any sort of gemstone or mineral AT ALL. PERIOD. Silverite is a FRAUD. Beware.
- Cherry Quartz
- Blueberry Quartz
- Pineapple Quartz
- Strawberry Quartz
GOLDSTONE, BLUE GOLDSTONE, MIDNIGHT GOLDSTONE, SUN SITARA, STELLARIA, GALAXY STONE, BLUE SANDSTONE
These are spectacularly beautiful GLASS stones, in deep blue or coppery gold, and sometimes green and purple. They are absolutely man-made, not gemstones, and are made in a controlled environment with copper and cobalt oxides, and form beautiful and sparkling crystals which are captured within this very hard glass. This glass can be faceted and carved into various shapes. Gorgeous stones, but beware of any seller who claims this is a gemstone! It is only a type of Venetian glass. I've written a lot about this in my blog.
I just saw someone selling this as "Blue Sandstone", saying it's a natural gemstone with all sorts of metaphysical properties, "composed of quartz or feldspar because these are the most common minerals in the Earth's crust. The sand inside creates the blue color. For this reason, this substance is named "Blue sandstone." WHAT? That's just completely random nonsense, like words just strung together! (Blue sand??) This person obviously copied/pasted Wikipedia's description of the real sandstone...except for the blue part, which they made up. There is NO sand inside this stone, it's not made of quartz or feldspar (??), and it's just simply the man-made Venetian glass called Blue Goldstone. WOW.
SANDSTONE, BLUE SANDSTONE, SANDSTONE QUARTZ
|So-called "Sandstone" which is actually glass Goldstone|
|Real Sandstone--No Glass or Sparkles|
This is still just a glass called Goldstone or Blue Goldstone (see the post above). Of course there is a stone called "sandstone" but that's NOTHING like this Venetian glass that's filled with sparkles. Every seller from China or India as well as in the US seems to have a new "creative" name for this material. One year it's "Galaxy Stone", the next it's "Sun Sitara", and now it seems to be Sandstone. Whatever you call it, or claim it to be, it's still NOT quartz or any type of "sandstone" or any sort of stone or mineral at all. EVER. There is no "sand" inside it. It's man-made Italian glass.
There is a seller from India who, although describing this as "Lab Sandstone" (which is only half-right---it is made in a lab!), goes on to describe it like this: "Sandstone has a beautiful glittering sunlight effect as a result of its tiny metallic inclusions (millions of particles playfully interact with light). This feature is known as "Schiller" or "Aventurescence"." Again, they're half-right! It is beautiful and glittering with tiny metallic particles, but it is NOT Schiller or Aventurescence. Those are terms used to describe shimmering or glittering effects in GEMS--not man-made glass.
"MAGNETIC HEMATITE" OR HEMALYKEThis is an artificial magnetic material called hematine, not a gemstone, and is commonly seen in jewelry. It's referred to as "Hemalyke" or "Hemalike" as well as "Magnetic Hematite".
|Carved Victorian Hematite Brooch|
There is a genuine mineral called Hematite that ranges in color from red to brown ("bloodstone"), and metallic dark grey, steel grey, and black.
|Hematite in quartz---NOT Lepidocrocite|
Here is a picture of genuine lepidocrocite:
|Actual Lepidocrocite crystals|
This colorful, banded stone was marketed a few years back as a "mined gemstone" found in Mexico. Still today, some people are claiming it's mined, or it's "a mystery--is it real or not?" which is a way to generate interest in this colorful stone. But testing has conclusively revealed that this is just an assembled manmade stone that is basically layers of pigments, resin, clay, polymers, etc. that is assembled into pressed slabs and then polished and marketed as Rainbow Calsilica. There is NO QUESTION---two world-renowned labs have tested this, and it is absolutely not mined, not found in nature. You can read one of the reports yourself: http://www.ssef.ch/uploads/media/2003_Kiefert_Rainbow_Calsilica.pdf
|Apollo Cultured Created Diamonds|
Although there are a few facilities around the world that actually create diamonds in a lab (synthetic diamonds, or "cultured diamonds"), these diamonds are pretty expensive (almost the cost of a natural diamond) and must have a laser engraving in the stone's girdle to indicate that it is, in fact, a created man-made diamond. These are beautiful and flawless, and definitely NOT blood diamonds, but they are pricey.
- NOTE: A lot of people don't understand the difference between "synthetic" and "simulated" gemstones, and think they're the same thing. No! In the jewelry world, "synthetic" means man-made, or grown in a lab, but it has the same chemical, physical and optical properties as its natural counterpart. So a "synthetic" ruby is a ruby, only lab-created. A "simulated" stone means that only looks like another stone. It doesn't have any of the physical or chemical properties. A crystal is a diamond simulant--it only looks like a diamond. So is a Cubic Zirconia (CZ). A red CZ can be a ruby simulant. So a synthetic gem and a simulated gem are two very different things!
Some sellers are offering CZ (Cubic Zirconia) jewelry, and are calling these "created diamonds". This is fraudulent and against the FTC rules. A CZ is actually a simulated diamond, NOT a created diamond. CZs are lab-created stones, that are the best diamond simulants---they look nearly identical to a flawless, colorless diamond. But they are NOT created diamonds. That term is only to be used on lab-grown diamonds---that possess the same chemical (Carbon) and physical properties of a natural diamond, as well as optical properties.
I'm not sure if sellers who try to sell CZs as "created diamonds" are just misinformed (trying to give the benefit of a doubt!), or are trying to deceive the public into thinking their "created diamond ring" is somehow better and more valuable than a high-quality CZ. (There are different grades of CZs.)
|Moissanite on Left, Cultured Diamond on Right|
By the way, like the inexpensive CZ, Moissanite is also a diamond simulant. It is ALWAYS lab-created. These stones are marketed as that they are "found in meteorites" but that's misleading. If you gathered ALL of the actual moissanite ever found on Earth, you wouldn't have enough to make a tiny pair of earrings. So Moissanite is grown in a lab, making this a synthetic stone. It is double-refractive and often has a more "green" shift than diamonds. Because of a great marketing effort, prices for this man-made stone are kept high.
FAKE EMERALDS, SAPPHIRES, RUBIES
There has been a FLOOD of phony precious gemstones from India, in particular. You can find these all over Ebay (and Etsy). These are large stones set in jewelry, such as necklaces, supposedly in Sterling Silver (but often it's just silver plated mystery metals), and can be found for unbelievably cheap prices. For example, here is an "emerald" necklace on ebay right now, for $6.66:
|Dyed Sillimanite - not Emerald|
These types of stones have been tested and it is revealed that it is actually dyed sillimanite. Sillimanite is a mineral, fibrous, that "takes" color easily. It is a member of the same family as Kyanite.
I've written about this in my blog HERE.
Gemstones have been coveted throughout history, and there have been gem fakes and frauds for thousands of years. Sometimes one gem was mistaken for another (such as the huge "Ruby" in the Crown Jewels of England, which turned out to be a huge Red Spinel gem).
But with today's technology, there are more and more fakes flooding the marketplace, and these fakes are getting harder and harder to discern. Not too long ago, major jewelry companies and department stores were facing fraud lawsuits regarding rubies that were more leaded glass than gem! And gemstones are treated with various methods, such as heat, irradiation, oiling, fissure filling, and other methods to enhance or even change the colors of the gemstones, or make them appear clearer with fewer flaws. A lot of these enhancements are accepted as "normal" within the jewelry industry. But it's important for jewelers to disclose any enhancements to the buyer.