Types of Gemstones

Gemstones available around the world, normally falls under four basic categories of gemstones with regards to it’s authenticity.

These categories are :

1) Natural or real gemstones 

2) Synthetic gemstones 

3) Imitation gemstones 

4) Treated or enhanced gemstones 


It is difficult even for an experienced gemmologist to identify and classify a stone in one of the above mentioned category, let alone for a common person. For example, if a person purchases a ruby then it is extremely difficult for him/her to know wether he/she is buying a natural, synthetic, imitation or treated one.


Objective of this blog is to give a brief over view to buyer/gem lover regarding mentioned groups of gemstones.


Natural or Real gemstones are gemstones which occurr totally in nature with its present color, looks and appearance, these gemstones are only faceted and no other treatment is done. However, there are few exceptions like heating of some gemstones with out addition of any chemical or colour and addition of colorless oil to others;

These treatments are internationally acceptable by the trade.

Synthetic gemstones are those which have similar colour, looks and appearance as that of natural gemstones, due to the fact that these synthetic gemstones have same chemical composition & physical and optical properties as that of natural gemstones but the main difference is that these gemstones are created artificially in laboratories. The oldest created gemstones are Saphires and spinels of different colours. First known synthetic was created in 1902. Only those gemstones created in laboratories are termed synthetic, which have their natural counterpart. Identification of Synthetic gemstones are extremely difficult.

Imitation gemstones - this group of gemstones also have similar looks and appearance as that of natural and synthetic gemstones but doesn’t have same chemical, physical and optical properties. Thus this group is comparatively easier to identify as compared to synthetic gemstones.

Treated and enhanced gemstones - are basically low quality natural gemstones which are subjected  to various  treatments to attain it’s present look and appearance thus their present looks and appearance is artificially created in laboratories . They are also really difficult for anyone to identify.

Identification and differentiation of these groups can only be done by gemmological laboratories .