Federation of Southern African Gem and Mineralogical Societies.
Federasie van Suider-Afrikaanse Siersteen en Mineralogies Verenigings.
There is nothing against the law in producing imitation gemstones, as long as no one is harmed or defrauded by it. Those who do not want the security risk of, or cannot afford, genuine gemstones can use these for their adornment. But when imitations are passed off as more valuable true gemstones at inflated prices, then that is fraud. Imitations must always be clearly labeled as such.
Ancient Egyptians were the first who feigned gemstones with glass and glaze, because genuine were just too expensive or perhaps rare.
For costume jewellery, cheap glass was used. For more valuable enamel, and resins as well as other plastics also serve as gemstone imitations. Most imitations have only a colour similar to that of the gemstone, other properties, such as hardness or fire, could not be satisfactorily imitated.
Gemstones are not only beautiful, beneficial and hold good vibrations but they are often quiet valuable. All over the world, cultures have been fascinated by their unique beauty, structure, texture and colour.
However there are frequently asked questions! What stone is this? What are its healing properties? Can you tell me if it is real?
“Flawless” gemstones may be an imitation. Often due to the demand or lack of availability, imitated gemstones flood the market. The holistic approach is that gemstones carry a vibration that heals us. The healing vibration is created by its natural mineral content, created millions of years ago and cannot be duplicated by man. It stands to reason that a man made stone will not hold the effectiveness of a natural stone.
One of the reasons that gemstones are man made to imitate the natural product is the vast reduced cost in production. Notably among them that are being synthetically produced are Diamond, Emerald, Ruby, Sapphire, Tanzanite and Alexandrite.
There is also gemstones that are fraudulently purported to be the genuine natural product, but which are in fact merely various imitations or fabricated look alikes. Some examples being Emerald which is merely Zimbabwean robot glass, Tanzanite and Ruby which are just layers of Quartz or glass where food colouring and other commercial materials have been used to simulate the natural colouring and look of the genuine stone.
A number of semiprecious stones are imitated for the purpose of making them aesthetically more appealing than the natural stone. Common examples are Goldstone which is a commercially produced glass that is marketed as Sunstone and/or Starstone. Many brightly coloured clear so called “golden, green, blue, purple and strawberry Obsidian” is again commercially produced glass. Natural Howlite is coloured with blue dye and sometimes misrepresented as Turquoise. Natural Brazilian Agates are dyed with bright colours to make them appealing to the untrained eye, which over time the dye will fade.
In conclusion, although imitation gems are an inexpensive substitute, we encourage the use of natural gemstones, enjoying their good vibrations and value.
Please note -
Pictures of natural appear on the left and imitation on the right.
Ruby, Sunstone - Goldstone, Obsidian - Glass