Colored gemstones can be categorized in two primary ways – Genuine and Synthetic.
Genuine - Genuine gemstones are natural gems brought to us courtesy of nature with no interference from humans. Genuine gemstones vary in color and color intensity from stone to stone. They also have different hardness ratings, which require special attention when wearing or cleaning a piece of jewelry. The Gemological Institute of America has developed a colored gem grading system similar to the well-known Diamond grading system.
Synthetic - A synthetic gemstone shares a genuine stone’s physical, chemical and optical qualities. However, they are created in a laboratory type setting. All synthetic gems have a consistent color and color intensity and generally have a higher hardness rating than genuine gemstones.
The most often used synthetic gemstones are oval and/or cushion antique (think of a rectangle with rounded corners) in shape. The gemstones may have a buff top (smooth) or faceted top and, more often than not, are one of the recognized “birthstone” colors.