Licensed Hershey Kiss bracelet with cubic zirconia made to mimic diamonds, set in sterling silver
Not all stones are created equal, literally. There is a difference between stones that are simulated to look like another genuine stone, imitations of stones, natural mined stones and stones created in a laboratory. The differences are important when there is a chance of fraudulent misrepresentation.
Simulated and imitated stones are just that, they are glass or some other material that is designed to look like the genuine article. There is nothing wrong with purchasing jewelry with stones designed to look like a particular stone. Simulated and imitated stones greatly reduce the cost of the jewelry. A problem arises when the seller tries to sell these stones as real. The good news is most simulated and imitated stones are easy to spot and can be tested with inexpensive testing equipment.
Natural gemstones are just that, natural. They are created in nature and are more likely to have inclusions due to fluctuations in temperature and pressure during the creation of the stone. Natural gemstones are usually priced higher due to their rarity. It can be easy to spot a natural gemstone due to the inclusions.
Lab created gemstones are created in a laboratory that replicates the conditions necessary to produce the gemstone. Due to the exacting conditions within a laboratory, these gemstones can be almost flawless. It may seem silly that a flawless stone will cost less than a natural stone, but the character of natural gemstones denotes the price, inclusions and all.
Gemstones can also be treated to enhance color and clarity. These treatments are not necessarily fraudulent and depending on the gemstone, necessary. You can’t always get a citrine without heat. However, treatments that are not permanent and performed with the purpose to enhance the stone and fool the consumer are fraudulent.
Anytime a retailer tries to fool the consumer into believing they are purchasing something of greater quality or misrepresents the product it is fraudulent. It is important to know your jeweler and self-educate yourself about gemstones and jewelry because you will usually have your own best interest in mind.