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SYNTHETIC STONES

Synthetic stones are any stone that has not been formed in nature over thousands of years, but instead created in a laboratory over a short period of time to resemble their natural counterpart.

Synthetic stones go by many names, like lab-made, artificial, faux, simulants or nano.

Why Synthetic?

Synthetic stones have several advantages. Synthetic stones are more affordable than natural stones and are fully traceable because they are created in a laboratory. They do not contain the internal flaws that are present in natural stones and also exhibit less colour variations, though slight variations can be found in lighter-coloured stones. As a result, this considerably reduces material waste.

It is important to consider synthetic stones on their own merits. They are not a replacement for natural stones but are instead a human tribute to their unique beauty.

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Materials & Methods

Synthetic stones share almost all the chemical, optical and physical characteristics of their natural counterparts and can be made to order with a consistent colour and crystal shape. They are also likely to be much less rare than natural stones of the same size, clarity and colour.

Pandora’s synthetic stone assortment contains varieties of synthetic ruby and synthetic sapphire, as well as different colour varieties of synthetic quartz. We add the term ‘synthetic’ to our stone descriptions in order to disclose that they are lab-created rather than natural. Synthetic crystals have been produced since the late 1800s and are the result of three main methods.

FLAME FUSION (MELT PROCESS)

In 1902, the French chemist Auguste Verneuil developed the Verneuil process (flame fusion method) in order to grow synthetic rubies. The process involves dropping powdered chemicals through a high-temperature flame, where they melt and fall onto a rotating pedestal to produce a synthetic crystal. This method is still in use today and is the most common way to grow synthetic ruby or synthetic sapphire and synthetic spinel.

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FLUX GROWTH (SOLUTION PROCESS)

The flux growth process is also used to create synthetic rubies and synthetic sapphires, as well as synthetic emeralds. Flux is a solid metal, which, when melted, will dissolve other materials in the same way that water dissolves sugar. As the dissolved chemical solution cools, the synthetic crystal forms.

HYDROTHERMAL GROWTH (SOLUTION PROCESS)

The only known process for creating synthetic quartz, such as synthetic amethyst, hydrothermal growth is a laborious and costly process that requires heat and pressure, replicating the conditions deep in the Earth under which natural gemstones are formed. Nutrients are added to a water solution and dissolved. As the solution cools, the synthetic crystals start to form.

CARE

Ultrasonic cleaners should be used with caution with synthetic stones as the ultrasonic waves can have adverse effects on stones that have been heat-treated to add colour, or may damage the setting or the stone itself.

For additional care information, please see our care guide.

REAL OR SYNTHETIC?

If a synthetic stone is used, our product descriptions will name the stone as being 'synthetic'.