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9. Understanding Gem Terminology

Gemstones is a subject just as good as any other subject, such as IT, agriculture etc. And it’s good if you are in gemstone business or you are planning to do gemstone business to know the terminology used in this business. Otherwise you may be a stranger in the gemstone market.

Here, I would like to show you some of the gemstone terminologies frequently used. You will not learn them in one day or one week, it may take few months or years to master them.

Below is a list of some of the gem terminologies, but it is your responsibility to find out their me


1) Treatment

2) Treated

3) Heated

4) Blemish

5) Inclusions

6) Simulant

7) Eye clean

8) Loup clean

9) Phenomenon

10) Synthetic gem

11) Transparent

12) Translucent

13) Opaque

14) Fancy color

15) Fancy cut

16) Melee

17) Cabochon

18) Manmade gemstone

19) Lab created

20) Lab grown

10. What is simulant?

Let us look what is the meaning of this word among the gemstone terminologies

Simulant is a natural or manmade material that resembles a gemstone. Simulant gemstones can be natural, for instance diamond simulants can be either natural or manmade. 

And they don’t have any of the natural diamond chemical composition, crystal structure or properties.

What happens is, simulants resemble or we can say looks like. Here is a good example,if you have a cut pink spinel and sold it as a pink sapphire. Here you have sold a simulant sapphire and not a spinel, whether you know it or no.

Another example is when you have a purple scapolite you can sell it as a tanzanite, whether you know it or no even if you are selling natural stones. Here you are selling a simulant tanzanite, in a simple language you have sold something that resembles. 

That’s why it’s advisable to use more than one type of gem tools for identification, because it’s easy to confuse and mix up between the gemstones or take them to a gem lab for further identification tests .

So be very careful with the cut and the polished gemstones. Not every pink gemstone is a sapphire or a spinel or a tourmaline, make a thorough research before buying any gemstone or take it to the gem lab.

How to Detect a Simulant

There are two categories in gemstones, which are diamonds and colored stones. it depends on which category you are in or in both.

a. Use a diamond tester

You can use a diamond tester, which is specifically for testing diamonds that provides a quick, easy and reliable thermal conductivity measurement on a mounted or lose diamond. It is also known as “thermal tester”

b. Use other gem tools

c. Lastly is to send gem to lab gem for more identification

11. Synthetic gemstones

These are gemstones that made in lab, but they consist of 

  • Chemical composition
  • Crystal structure and 
  • Properties  

like the natural gemstone.

In the trade or in websites you may hear names like these

Ø Man made 

Ø Lab created 

Ø Synthetic gem 

Ø Lab grown 


All the names above are talk about synthetic gemstones

Selling a synthetic gemstone is not a problem; all you need to do is to inform the buyer that what you are selling is not a natural gemstone but a synthetic gemstone.

Another thing that should be considered as a seller is that, when you are selling say ruby which is synthetic, then you should call it synthetic ruby. 

Whenever you are selling synthetic gemstone, you should always remember to call it synthetic gemstone. 

For instance,if it is a lab made sapphire, call it synthetic sapphire likewise if is a manmade spinel call it synthetic spinel.

How to identify if a gemstone is natural or synthetic?

1. Send your gemstone to the gem lab. Nowadays technology has advanced some of gemstones you cannot identify them easily; therefore it is important to take them to a gemologist who has modern tools for the job.

2. By using microscope you can identify the gemstone whether is natural or synthetic, by looking for Inclusions that can help separate natural or synthetic gemstones.


3. The loupe is kind of magnifier like microscope but this is most convenient, affordable around USD 10 you can buy it, small and portable. You can carry a loupe in your pocket or purse, or wear it on a chain around your neck. You can detect synthetic or natural gemstones by using a loupefor checking the inclusions that stone has. 

But a word of caution this is for the experienced in using loupe, when used by someone with an experienced eye, a loupe is very accurate and It takes practice to handle and use a loupe effectively. If you don’t know how to use loupe please go and learn how to use it. 

Two types of Loupes

a) Hand loupes

Hand loupes are held in one hand for viewing the stones

b) Eye loupes 

Eye loupes are either held in the eye socket or attached to eyeglasses. 

Most gemologists, gem professionals, industry organizations, and government agencies agree that 10X magnification is the standard for using. 10X means that the item being viewed is magnified ten times.

 It’s sometimes called 10-power.

10X is the standard for gemstone using, loupes are available in a variety of magnificationsfrom 4X to 30X. 

Make sure you use loupe that its minimum magnifications is 10x