Daily Wire Tip: Gemstone Information & Resources

By on January 8, 2011
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Daily Wire Jewelry Making Tip


I meet a lot of people who do not understand the difference between a lab-grown gem, which has the same crystalline structure and chemical composition as a mined gem, and a synthetic substitute such as cubic zirconia. What are your thoughts?

-Kitty in Olympia, Washington


Yes Kitty, I agree that it is important to know what you are buying, using in your work, and then selling. A customer who understands the value of your work, including the stones you use, will love wearing your jewelry even more.

In our Resource Center, we have several pages for Wire Artists to educate themselves about the materials we use. Under the heading "All About Gemstones," we have some great information for you. We have a wonderful article, An Introduction to Gemstones, about all of the differences in gemstones, including Imitation, Lab-Created, Stabilized, and Simulated Gemstones. The AGTA Enhancement Codes Chart lists different treatments and enhancements commonly used with gemstones, and the codes associated with them.

For more information about CZs, Swarovskis, crystal, check out this previous Tip of the Day: What is a Cubic Zirconia Stone?

Answer contributed by Dale “Cougar” Armstrong

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  1. avatar

    Kathy Bloom

    January 8, 2011 at 2:22 pm

    Thank You. I was curious about this subject myself.

  2. avatar

    Ruth Soucek

    March 8, 2012 at 6:48 am

    Dear Dale,
    at 68 I am still “hungry” for more education. Long before I got into making jewelry for myself and others, I was fazinated by Gemstones. Always wanted to be a Gemologist but could not
    afford the GIA Courses. A dear friend of mine took both, the
    Diamond Course and the colored Gemstone Course and he was kind enough to let me borrow the Diamond Course, which I read from cover to cover. Two years ago he passed away and his wife passed the complete colored Gemstone Course on to me.
    We all appreciate your daily tips and answers, especially the
    educational ones. Thank you! Ruth

    • avatar


      March 9, 2012 at 8:01 am

      Wow Ruth – what an amazing gift! (I am envious.) My mom is 78 and still spends lots of time researching and labeling the collection of specimens she has been collecting from a very early age :) You are never too “mature” to learn more about rocks and minerals!!

    • avatar


      July 4, 2013 at 11:56 am

      Ruth, what an amazing gift and wonderful way to remember and honor your friend. So glad you told this story.

  3. avatar

    Cat C

    June 26, 2014 at 2:54 pm

    Thanks for the great explanation and wonderful charts on gemstones and codes. Never really thought much about the differences in the gemstones, found out that this just what I need to understand all the these things. Now that I have a better understanding I’m going to start including gemstone in my designs. THANKS DALE!!!!