Top 10 Gemstones with Synthetic Varieties

Are synthetic gemstones fake? No.

"Synthetic gemstones" are "created gemstones", man-made in labs, lab-grown gemstones. Yes, labs can grow gems.

Synthetic gemstones are not fake gemstones:
Created gemstones are not considered fake because despite being created by using different methods, synthetic gemstones are identical to natural gems in terms of internal atomic structure, used compounds/chemical composition, hardness, optical properties, and so on.
The only significant difference between a synthetic and a natural gem is actually the place of origin - a laboratory and not deep within the earth. Another difference is that natural gems may have minor defects while synthetic gems usually don't.

Fake gemstones:
Fake gemstones are simply imitations made of a different material, usually much cheaper - they are usually made of glass or/and some kind of plastic. Material resembles the appearance of a natural gemstone but has different chemical and physical properties.

So this list is not about fake glass "gems". It's about... growing precious gemstones.

Most synthetic gemstones are synthesized by the hydrothermal method (it uses chemical solutions) because most natural mineral crystals form the same way in veins and cavities within the earth. But natural solutions are very dilute and mineral crystals may take many years to form. In labs the process can be dramatically sped up because labs use concentrates.

The Top Ten

1 Diamond Diamond

Diamond's synthetic alternative is called Cubic Zirconia (aka because).
Cubic Zirconia has close visual likeness to diamond and the synthesized material is also hard and optically flawless. It's usually colorless but may be made in a variety of colors. Its commercial production began in 1976.
Cubic zirconia has remained the most gemologically and economically important competitor for diamonds because of its low cost, durability and close visual likeness to diamond. Its main competitor as a synthetic gemstone is a more recently cultivated material - synthetic moissanite.
Cubic Zirconia is the cubic crystalline form of zirconium dioxide (ZrO2). It should not be confused with zircon, which is a zirconium silicate (ZrSiO4). - Metal_Treasure

Yeah, and diamonds and cubic zirconia do look alike. - Camaro6

2 Moissanite Moissanite

(Synthetic Moissanite)
Natural moissanite is the closest to diamond but it is extremely rare. That's why Synthetic Moissanite is very important.
Synthetic Moissanite is also used as a diamond alternative and not only Cubic Zirconia. - Metal_Treasure

3 Blue Sapphire Blue Sapphire

(Synthetic Blue Sapphire)
Blue Sapphire is a loved gem but many believe it's the most difficult gem crystal to grow.
A synthetic blue sapphire has absolutely the same features of a natural blue sapphire - the same Hardness, Dispersion, Refractive Index, and so on. - Metal_Treasure

4 Emerald Emerald

(Synthetic Emerald)

Experiments at emerald synthesis are known as early as 1848 but crystals weighing more than one carat could not be synthesized until 1912.

Labs succeeded to grow bigger gems but that incredible emerald color was fully achieved later, circa 1934, when German experimenters succeeded in growing small emeralds of fine color, which were marketed as “Igmerald”.

Synthetic emeralds can be distinguished from natural gems by the presence of defects/inclusions in the natural emeralds - a cavity filled with liquid, with a gas bubble or a crystal of sodium chloride or another salt inside. These inclusions make emeralds very susceptive to cracking and chipping. Synthetic emeralds don't have such inclusions and are more durable. - Metal_Treasure

5 Ruby

(Synthetic Ruby)
Ruby is aluminum oxide colored red by chromium and synthetic ruby is often made by simply melting aluminum oxide that contains a trace of chromium or adding a pinch of chromium to the aluminum oxide.

The resulting crystal has the same internal atomic structure as natural ruby and the same optical properties, hardness, and chemical composition. - Metal_Treasure

6 Padparadscha Sapphire Padparadscha Sapphire

(Synthetic Padparadscha Sapphire)

Padparadscha is a pink-orange sapphire, with shades of colors sometimes referred to as “sunrise and sunset” colors - the rarest color of sapphire, which explains the desire to grow it in a lab. Growing padparadscha sapphire crystals takes a lengthy process of about six months. - Metal_Treasure

7 Alexandrite Alexandrite

(it's called Synthetic Alexandrite) - Metal_Treasure

8 Spinel Spinel

(Synthetic Spinel)

Spinel (aka the daughter of ruby) has hardness of 8/10, equal to that of topaz and better than that of Emerald, Aquamarine, and Tourmaline. This partly explains the interest in this gem.

Synthetic spinel was accidentally produced in the middle of the 18th century. Natural spinels are not commonly used in the gem trade but synthetic spinels are seen almost everywhere. Spinels are widely used to imitate other gems that are considered more desirable, such as ruby, emerald, aquamarine, and tourmaline. A spinel that resembles moonstone was introduced in 1957. - Metal_Treasure

9 Red Beryl (Bixbite) Red Beryl (Bixbite)

(Synthetic Red Beryl)
Red Beryl is one of the rarest gems and red is the rarest color beryl can have. And its red shade is incredible.
Synthetic red beryl from Russia has been sold commercially since the mid-1990s, as faceted stones up to several carats. It has been produced for jewelry applications by the Institute of Crystallography and Emcom Ltd., both from Moscow.
The crystals are grown from a hydrothermal solution at temperatures of more than 600°C and pressures of more than 2000 bars. These growth conditions are similar to those reported for growing hydrothermal synthetic emeralds. This makes sense - emerald is actually deep green beryl and they have very similar properties. - Metal_Treasure

10 Quartz

(Synthetic Quartz)
Natural quartz is common and inexpensive. But synthetic quartz is even less expensive. Colorless quartz is made in ton quantities for use in electronic applications but is seldom cut as a gem. Colored quartz is also manufactured.
How are colors produced?

For example, the purple hue of the amethyst (amethyst is quartz) is created by adding impurities that produce a brownish color. Then this synthetic quartz is irradiated by a radioactive source. After that it's already purple. - Metal_Treasure

Why would you need a synthetic quartz? Quartz is everywhere and is inexpensive. - Camaro6

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