TypeOnline Course
DateJan 21, 2023
Student Enrolled1
Certificate70% of quiz marks
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Created and Treated Gemstones

The ISG Created and Treated Gemstones course is the world’s only full program in the understanding and identification of created and treated gemstones. This course has been structured with the help of some of the top laboratory grown gemstone producers in the world including Chatham Created Gems, Gemesis Created Diamonds, and many others. The course coverage how lab created gemstones are produced, how to identify the most often seen lab created gemstones. It then provides an indepth look at gemstone treatments and how to identify gemstones that have been subjected to treatments. This is the only course in the world specifically devoted to understanding and identifying created and treated gemstones. A free preview of this course is available below.

Completion of this course awards the student a Certificate of Completion, which is provided for download and printing upon completion of the course materials and examinations.

Please follow these steps to begin your Created and Treated Gemstones course:

Tuition: US$395.00

Certificate of Completion: Yes. You will print your own certificate U.S. Students may request a printed certificate.

How to Begin:

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    4. Once you have returned to the course home page click the Start the Course button to begin.
    5. Once complete you can print your Created and Treated Gemstones Certificate of Completion.
Section 1History of Created GemstonesFree Preview

Introduction and History of Created Gemstones

Created….Gemstone. For many years, I thought that these terms should be mutually exclusive. That there was no way that anything created could ever be considered a true gemstone. For those of you old enough to remember the early 1960s (the rest will have to take my word for this), the term “Created Gemstone” was sort of like the words “Made in Japan,”…which once brought to mind trinkets and toys, and just about anything made cheap.

Well, today, the words “Made in Japan” mean high-quality products… at prices that are usually better than anything else comparable on the market. And like that term, the term “created gemstone” has also come to mean high quality products at prices that are better than anything else of comparable quality on the market.

But with the term has come a myriad of problems. When the first created rubies were introduced in the early 1900s, there was an industry-wide fear that the created ruby would cause a total collapse in the ruby industry.

That did not happen.

When cubic zirconia hit the market in the 1970s, there was an industry-wide fear that the diamond markets would collapse.

That did not happen.

When created moissanite hit the market in the 1990s, there was a fear that the diamond market would suffer.

That did not happen.

Now, created diamonds are looming over us all with claims of large sizes ready to enter the diamond market pipeline, and in some places, there is fear that these created diamonds will cause a collapse of the diamond market.

That may or may not happen, the final result of lab created diamonds has yet to unfold. While lab-created diamonds will certainly have an impact on diamond prices overall, and they will certainly create new interest as a new product and new market revenue stream, there are still many reasons why lab-created diamonds (as well as other gemstones) will not have the total negative impact that some foretell.

The main reason is that created gemstones will never replace natural gemstones. We must go back to the very reason of owning a gemstone: Pride of Ownership. Pure and simple. Why else pay out disposable income to buy a clear crystalline rock that someone has cut smooth sides into, put that stone into some metal prongs, and hang it around your neck? Certainly not for investment (although there are some who would debate that fact). And for the most part not for the healing powers. (Although there are many who would debate that fact also)

The real reason consumers worldwide buy gemstones is for Pride of Ownership. To show off! To say: “Hey, I make enough money that I can afford to put this ruby necklace around my wife’s neck and take her out to a party.”

And you know what? It’s been that way for hundreds or even thousands of years.

Now, that pride of ownership is what drives the gemstone industry. If we had to rely on gemstone investors to make a living, only a handful of us would be employed in the jewelry industry.


PRIDE OF OWNERSHIP is the driving force behind the gemstone industry. The single strongest reason why the created gemstone industry exists and, at the same time, why it will never take over the natural gemstone industry. Why?

There is a viable market for both treated and created gemstones. There are people who like wearing gemstone jewelry but either cannot or will not pay natural gemstone prices. Or perhaps the gemstone they want is no longer available. Or perhaps the only gemstones that are available are either too high in price, or too low in quality, for what they want. The alternative: treated or created gemstones.

As we go along with this course we are going to talk about the stigma of the term “created gemstone” and try to dispel the negative connotation that it carries with some people. We will also talk about why created gemstones are actually a marvel of nature…due to the conditions that must be created in a laboratory to cause the gemstones to form in a controlled environment.

What you need to get from this course:
Perhaps that most important information that we will cover in this course is how to identify treated and created gemstones, mainly because as a gemology professional you will be called upon to identify a variety of gemstones if you are in the market for any time at all. Therefore, you must attain a certain level of expertise in the identification of both treated and created gemstones in order to maintain your professional standing with consumers.

Another important reason to be able to identify treated and created gemstones is the market itself. As long as gemologists are able to identify this market segment of gemstones, consumers will maintain their confidence in the natural gemstone markets. This is because if we, as gemologists, ever get to the point that there is no way to identify a treated or created gemstone…the market could well collapse. This is mainly due to the potential loss of consumer confidence regarding whether they are truly getting a natural gemstone, if that is what they are told they are purchasing.

Not all treated and created gemstones will be identifiable in your office. Right now there are some that require very sophisticated equipment. You need to know which ones to say “I don’t know” and which ones you should be able to identify with ordinary gemological equipment.

That is the purpose of this course. To not only give you a solid foundation of how to identify most of the treated and created gemstones but also to let you know which ones you should refer on to a major gemological laboratory.

If we can accomplish the task then this course will have served its purpose.

Why study the history of treated and created gemstones?It is very important that you know the history of both treated and created gemstones. Why? Because many times knowing the history of a gemstone can assist you with the identification of a gemstone, and even further help you to work with a client regarding the identification of their gemstone.

Case in point:
A customer once came to me with a 10.05 carat alexandrite ring. It was a beautiful gemstone. One of the finest I had seen. In fact, a little too fine. In fact, I had never seen an alexandrite this big and this nice. In fact, I had never really seen an alexandrite in person…just in the text books. This happened years ago before I knew what I know now. (I was just out of gemology school, which is probably when I, and every new gemologist, possess the ability to do the most damage to the industry.) At any rate, part of me was very excited that this customer would trust me to appraise her family heirloom alexandrite ring. The other part was scared silly to think I had to come up with a value for this alexandrite that I knew little about as far as identification and nothing about as far as value.

I tested the stone. It had an RI of 1.76 – 1.77. Oops. In spite of my lack of experience with big alexandrites, I did have experience with big created sapphires. Especially those doped with vanadium to create an alexandrite look alike.

I told the customer that what she had was not an alexandrite, but rather a created sapphire that was made to react like an alexandrite with the color change.

As you all can probably guess, the customer became irate with me, saying that I did not know what I was talking about, and that this ring had been in her family since 1920 and there was no way it could be a created gemstone.

Fortunately, I knew that created sapphires had been in production since the very early 1900’s. Perhaps more importantly I knew that when they hit the market they were very popular, and that many of the family heirloom jewelry items from that era that contained rubies and sapphires contained these created gemstones.

After a great deal of debate, I finally convinced the customer that what she had was truly a created sapphire. It was made more difficult for her because a few years back “her jeweler” had identified the stone as natural alexandrite worth tens of thousands of dollars. As a result of this incorrect identifycation, this ring had been the financial mainstay for their family for the last two generations, insured for thousands of dollars.

Until she met me.

Now, the two key pieces of knowledge that I had here was (1) the ability to identify this gemstone as a created sapphire, and (2) the historical knowledge to know that the ring was made after the initial production of created sapphires began. This helped me to get her a correct answer about her ring, and avoid future insurance payments on a ring worth about $250.00 including the gold setting.

Side Note: Fortunately for me, the ring was not a genuine alexandrite. I would have been way out of my league at the time and would have to had to send her to someone else because I had no idea about how to price a 10.05 carat natural alexandrite.

The key here is that sometimes knowing the history of a created gemstone is as important as knowing how to identify one. Or at least be able to explain to a customer why Grandma’s ring from the 1920’s could be a created.

So, with that in mind, let’s take a brief tour of the history of created gemstones.

A brief history of created gemstones…
The earliest recorded synthesis of a gemstone was an early form of flame fusion production in France in the 1880’s. Although this was a precursor to Auguste Verneuil’s process that was started in 1902, it still marked the beginning of the production of created gemstones. However, what we call the flame fusion process was perfected by Mr. Verneuil in the early 1900’s, and made rubies, sapphires and many other created gem materials available to the market as of that time.

Although many efforts were made over the next decade or two, the next real development in created gemstones was by Mr. Carroll Chatham in the late 1930s to 1940s. Mr. Chatham perfected the process known as flux melting to create created emerald crystals of a size and quality to allow for faceting. This was a major advancement that allowed commercial production of sapphire, ruby, emerald, and other gemstones that I will call “created” in honor of Mr. Chatham’s excellent work, and because Thomas Chatham (his son who now runs the company) fought long and hard to be able to use the name Chatham Created Emeralds.

The 1940’s also saw General Electric make the first efforts to synthesize diamonds, mainly because DeBeers had a strangle hold on the industrial diamond markets that supplied these stones that were so important to the war effort at the time. It was during this time that DeBeers got into legal trouble with the US government, and until only recently the DeBeers people could not enter the US for fear of being arrested. Seems that DeBeers got greedy with the war effort, knowing that they had the upper hand in industrial diamonds that both sides of the war needed. There was a great uproar over DeBeers trying to leverage their position into war time profits above and beyond what was considered fair. The end result was that General Electric began serious efforts to produce industrial grade created diamonds for the war effort during the 1940’s.

During the 1960s and 1970s there was a proliferation of companies producing created gemstones. The work of Verneuil and Chatham was expanded by several companies and many gemstones were being produced.

One of the most famous of the time were the Linde’ Star stones made by Union Carbide. These were very well made created sapphires with a very nice star phenomenon. The nice thing about the Linde’ Stars was that the good people at Union Carbide literally painted a big “L” on the back so as to make them easy to identify. Too bad the Russians are not doing that now, but more on that later.

Unfortunately, Union Carbide stopped making the stones in the early 1970’s.

Another important development in the late 1960’s was created quartz. Since natural quartz has a strong tendency for Brazil Law Twinning, (meaning two or more quartz crystals tend to grow in the same space) a more pure quartz crystal was needed for the growing quartz watch industry. So hydrothermal quartz crystals were developed with such purity that they were better than the natural. Of course, it did not take too long until someone figured out that these quartz crystals would make nice amethysts if they were doped up a little, and soon the market could not identify whether they were buying natural or created quartz. As you can probably guess…the price of amethyst fell flat…to this day. Mainly because few gemologists can separate natural from created quartz. More on this situation later.

In 1975 it is reported that a US Navy meteorologist was having a candy bar while stationed at a microwave communication station in the middle of winter somewhere in the Northeastern United States. Seems he put his candy bar down in front of one of the microwave transmitters on one very cold night and….voila’…the candy bar melted. Shortly afterward the microwave oven was invented.

On the other side of the world, the Soviet Union was working hard to keep up with the United States in the arms race. Seems the US was developing high quality lasers that required some really big and really high quality rubies. The US had them, the Soviets didn’t. The solution was to come up with a created gemstone that would emulate the laser properties of a ruby. The problem was that the then current types of created rubies were not big enough or of high enough quality to serve the purpose.

The next solution: the microwave oven.

Seems that someone figured out how to use a material called created cubic zirconia to work in a laser, but the heat to create the CZ was so high that no crucible would withstand the heat. The solution: heat it inside the new invention called a microwave oven and let it create its own crucible due to temperature variations from the outside to the inside of the material. A new created process called skull melting was born.

And once again, someone realized what a nice gemstone this would make for jewelry…and the rest is history.

Did this really happen this way? I couldn’t testify in court about it, but given the load of information that was circulating at that time (and yes I was there) the story has always seemed plausible, if not a little bit romantic.

In reality, the vast majority of created gemstones on the current market have been developed within the past 30 years from about 1970. Prior to that there are many types of flame fusion created, which are pretty easy to identify, and flux-melt created which are also pretty easy to identify. This should give you an edge on a lot of the created you may see in older jewelry items. We will talk about those in The Gemstones sections where we look at individual identification techniques.

The last 30 years, however, have brought about a different story. With created opals, garnets, alexandrites, amethysts, rubies, sapphires, well the list goes on and on so you better know your stuff if you are doing jewelry appraisals. The new created rubies, for instance, can be extremely difficult to identify. And since there could literally be tens of thousands of dollars at stake regarding your appraisal, you better know your stuff because if you make the call and you are wrong and your customer suffers a loss they can and usually will come back to you with their hand out looking to you to make them whole again for their loss.

This brings us to the current market and this course. There is no way any treated and created gemstone course can include everything. Mainly because the world of created gemstones changes on a daily basis with new developments and improvements in production. Some stones like lab created diamonds that have not been a real problem due to production limitations are hitting the market big time and creating huge problems for the industry.

The main point is this: You need to continually study the treated and created gemstone market. No single course, no matter from which source you study, no course will offer you all of the current information. So keep your eyes open for any information you can find about treated or created gemstone developments. It will help you, help your clients, and help the industry maintain customer confidence.

Next we will study the specific processes by which created gemstones are created. Those of you who have taken the Colored Gemstones course will notice that some of the information here is also included. I urge you not to skip over it, but rather study it again. It is that important and could save you and your clients a lot of money.

Before we move to the next section, let’s test your knowledge of the information thus far:

Section 2Flame-Fusion Method
Section 3Hydrothermal Method
Section 4Flux-Melt Method
Section 5Pulled Method
Section 6Skull Melt Method
Section 7Identifying Created Gemstones
Section 8Created Gemstones A - C
Section 9Created Gemstones D - O
Section 10Created Gemstones R - Z
Section 11Overview of Gemstone Treatments
Section 12Treated Gemstones A - G
Section 13Treated Gemstones H - S
Section 14Treated Gemstones T - Z
Final Quiz