Let’s face it; buying gemstones can be tough sledding. And its probably never been tough right now not to be tripped up by all of the treatments and enhancements being used in the industry. Luckily, a little common sense and diligence can take one far. Let’s take something as inexpensive and common as Citrine (or other members of the quartz family e.g. Amethyst or Ametrine)
In the past few years there has been a proliferation of gorgeous large and flawless citrine, amethyst, and ametrine on the market. Check out the one pictured here. And the prices have been amazingly low. O.K., stop right there. There’s the first clue: if it is large, flawless, breathtaking, and cheap, the stone is almost certainly treated or enhanced in some way or simply not what it purports to be. The stone pictured here is a lab grown synthetic citrine (quartz) sometimes referred to as hydrothermal quartz as the crystals are “grown” in an autoclave in a technical process using (among other things) heat and intense pressure.
It is virtually impossible even for a gemologist to determine for sure that such a stone is not natural without the use sophisticated gemological equipment. But that is fine since if it appears too good to be true it almost certainly is. When you see a stone like this one with a low price it is going to be a synthetic. Citrine and the other common quartz stones almost always will have color zoning in the larger sizes and usually will not be flawless.
Although we have a strong bias for all natural stones, that doesn’t mean these stones don’t have a place, but we sure hate it when we see them passed off as natural. Don’t be fooled!