Professional Jeweler Archive: Created Color

April 2001

Gemstones & Pearls/New Products


Created Color

Imitation is the best form of flattery


If the economy's sputter has left your customers skittish about spending money, created colored gems could be one way to get them in your store. “With some natural gemstones, size or quality suffers in order to accommodate a customer’s price range,” says Tom Chatham of Chatham Created Gems, San Francisco, CA. Created gems allow you to offer the features of natural gemstone jewelry without sacrificing quality.

The most popular created gems are ruby, sapphire, emerald, tanzanite and alexandrite, thanks to their color saturation and familiarity among customers. “People look for size, color, price and quality,” says Chatham. “But remember that in order to sell it, you have to believe in it.”

So what exactly are these man-made beauties? According to the Gemological Institute of America, a synthetic, or created, colored stone is a laboratory creation with a chemical composition and structure essentially the same as its natural counterpart. Two basic facts to remember:

u Though they result from processes that approximate conditions in the earth, they are products of the laboratory, not nature.

u Their physical, optical and chemical characteristics are essentially the same as their natural counterparts’. But there are slight differences in characteristics, which gemologists use to tell the difference.

When selling created gemstones, disclose their lab origin, educate customers about the technological aspect as well as the beauty and, as in all sales, be enthusiastic about the product.

– by Lorraine M. O’Donnell, A.J.P.


Bold 14k white gold ring is set with a cushion-cut Chatham sapphire and diamond accents. Suggested retail, $2,000.

C. Priolo, Fairfax, CA; (415) 459-5769, fax (415) 459-1513.

14k gold line bracelets feature round or emerald-cut created emeralds, alexandrites, rubies and sapphires in channel or prong settings.

Chatham Created Gems, San Francisco, CA; (800) 222-2002, fax (415) 397-8466.

14k yellow or white gold Piercettes™ pendants each hold a Chatham created gemstone. Suggested retail, $425-$750.
Artelle Designs,

Minneapolis, MN; (952) 926-8163, fax (952) 926-5420.

Sterling silver jewelry suite is electroplated with 18k gold. Each piece is set with cubic zirconia and simulated tanzanite. Earrings have 14k gold posts. The pendant is $115 suggested retail, the earrings are $125.

Colibri Group, Providence, RI; (401) 943-2100, fax (401) 943-4230.

10k Black Hills Gold women’s ring is set with a 6mm-by-4mm pear-shaped created emerald. Suggested retail, $166.50.

Stamper Black Hills Gold Jewelry, Rapid City, SD; (605) 342-0751, fax (605) 343-9783.

Platinum and diamond rings feature natural ruby, sapphire, emerald and fancy intense yellow diamond.

Precious Gem Resources Inc., New York City; (212) 688-6700, fax (212) 688-2747.

Copyright © 2001 by Bond Communications