Natural gemstones make great additions to beaded jewelry. Discover four simple ways for how to tell if gemstones are real or fake.
Gemstones are unique and add something special to a piece of jewelry and while they are typically pricier than glass beads, there are plenty of affordable semiprecious stones available.
Unfortunately, shopping for gemstones can be tricky. It’s hard to determine natural gemstones from synthetic stones and the labels used to describe them can be confusing.
If you’re unfamiliar with gemstones and the terminology used to describe them, you could end up paying a high price for a stone that’s not even real.
It’s always best to educate yourself if you plan to purchase gemstone beads for jewelry-making so you know exactly what you’re buying and pay a fair price.
There’s no fool-proof way for how to tell if gemstones are real, short of having them examined by a gemologist. However, there are some things you need to know so you can purchase real gemstones instead of imitations.
Here’s a list of things to keep in mind when shopping for natural gemstones.
You may also like this: 11 Beautiful Natural Beads and Other Jewelry Materials.
1. The Description
The first step in how to tell if gemstones are real is to thoroughly read their descriptions.
Check to see if the seller lists the origin of the stone. This will help to determine if it’s authentic.
Sellers often use words e.g. natural, genuine, synthetic, simulated but what do they really mean?
Natural gemstones are ones that are taken from the earth and have nothing done to them besides being cut and polished. They can look quite different from their original form after being mined but they have not been enhanced in any other way.
Genuine gemstones are real just like natural ones but they have been treated in some way to enhance their appearance. These alterations are done so that manufacturers can improve the look of lower quality stones that customers may not want otherwise. Genuine stones are much more affordable than flawless, natural gemstones.
Even though a gemstone is labelled natural or genuine, it doesn’t always mean you should pay top dollar for it. Availability and quality are two major factors that drive the price up or down.
Synthetic stones are created in a lab and can share a natural stone’s physical, chemical and even optical qualities. These stones can be just as beautiful as natural ones and, while they aren’t always cheap, they should definitely cost less than a natural stone of similar size and quality.
Modern synthetic gemstones are harder to identify just by looking at them. You’ll need a gemologist or an experienced jeweler to complete an inspection.
Simulated stones, unlike their synthetic counterparts, are in no way similar to the natural stone. Their chemical composition is usually different as well as other properties that the genuine stone will have. An example of this is the cubic zirconia that’s meant to look like a diamond but shares none of the natural qualities that diamonds have.
When shopping, look out for red flag words e.g. dyed, simulated or man-made as these indicate the stone is not real.
2. The Price
If you’ve ever gone to buy something and thought that the price was too good to be true, then it probably was. Real gemstones usually cost way more than imitations.
Do some research before you go shopping and find out the average market price of authentic gemstones.
One important factor to keep in mind as you’re shopping for natural gemstones is their appearance.
Natural stones will have flaws and no two stones will look exactly alike. If you find gemstone beads that are smooth and have no blemishes to speak of, then they probably have been altered in some way.
Also, if they seem very colourful, they may have been dyed.
A gemstone identification chart can be helpful to determine what real stones should look like.
4. The Vendor
Make sure you purchase natural gemstones from a reputable seller. They should provide transparent product descriptions and be open about the stones’ origins. Be wary if a seller is not forthcoming with this information.
Customer reviews are an easy way to determine a seller’s reputation. They can help you to decide whether it’s worth it to purchase from a seller or not. Also, don’t be afraid to ask questions about products. A good vendor will be happy to share more information about their merchandise.
The bottom line is to ensure you do your research, take your time and make informed decisions if you plan to purchase natural gemstones. That way, you’ll make sure you get exactly what you want and at a fair price.
This list of things for how to tell if gemstones are real will give you an idea of what to look for as you’re shopping.
Check out these 7 Awesome Tips For Making Jewelry with Gemstone Beads.