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Faceted Gems

Faceted Stone Index by Name                            Birthstone Charts
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Faceting maximizes the brilliance, fire, and life of transparent stones.

The appropriate cut maximizes the amount of light bouncing around in the stone and back out to the viewer, maximizing the sparkle. Unlike cabochons, where inclusions add character, inclusions in a faceted stone interrupt the light and decrease the fire of the stone. The fact that a faceted stone is genuine does not in itself mean that it is a valuable gem. Color, clarity, cut, and rareness or availabilty all factor in to the value of a stone. As I collect snippets of information about faceted stones, I put them here. There is an index by gem name below, or just browse through the pages.

There are 3 main types of faceted gems –

Lab-Grown (a Synthetic production method)
Imitations (Simulated stones)

Genuine - produced by Mother Nature.
Some genuine stones are fairly plentiful and you can purchase good quality ones for a reasonable price. Others are rarer and to get ones that are not heavily included, you have to be willing to pay a higher price.

Many, many genuine stones are treated by man. Treatments may be things that are so routine and so accepted by the industry that they are often not even mentioned. People just kind of assume you know that type of stone is treated. This includes things like stablilizing ammolite, oiling emeralds, heat treating topaz to get blue topaz, and radiating diamonds to get fancy colors. For the most part, color treatments are considered acceptable if they produce permanent changes and have not made the stone radioactive.

To learn more about gemstone treatments, which treatments are routinely used on which stones, and what types of treatments are considered fraudulent (usually only producing a temporary color change), please refer to a detailed gem reference such as Antoinette Matlins Colored Gemstones.

Synthetic – produced by humans, using Mother Nature’s recipe.
Synthetic gems have the same physical, chemical, and optical properties as the genuine stone, however the quality will vary with the method of production. In other words, how was the crystal developed or grown.

Laboratory-grown crystals emulate natural crystal development and are the highest quality synthetics. They can be virtually impossible to distinguish from genuine gems. Good quality, lab grown stones are often more expensive than poor quality, genuine stones. If you goal is a rarer stone with lots of life, it may be more obtainable by purchasing a lab-grown gem.

Imitation / Simulated – artificially replicate the look of a more expensive stone. There is nothing wrong with imitations as long as they are clearly identified as to what they truly are. Imitation stones are often used for birthstone jewelry, where people want to wear it daily without worry of loss. Imitations use something of lesser cost to simulate the desired stone. Like everything else in jewelry, imitations can cover a wide quality range –
  • they can be hardened glass
    (the normal material when you see "simulated" before a gem name).
  • they can be lesser expensive, genuine stones 
    For example, rock crystal (clear quartz), white topaz, white sapphire, or white zircon standing in for a more expensive stone like diamond.
  • they can be lab created stones
    • lab grown ruby standing in for a genuine ruby
    • lab grown blue spinel standing in for a genuine blue zircon
    • lab grown corundum colored to imitate a genuine alexandrite
  • they can be man-made stones like CZ (cubic zirconia).
    CZ is best known as a stand in for diamond, but it can be colored with various minerals to imitate many gemstones. CZ’s are great looking stones and make up into lovely jewelry.
  • They can be man-made composites made to fool – BAD!
    For example, gluing a small slice of a natural gem to a rock crystal, to make it look like a large, natural gem.






Green Amethyst



Rock Crystal (Clear Quartz)



X - Y - Z

Faceted Stone Index by Name                            Birthstone Charts
A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U-V  W  X-Y-Z