There are three primary types of gemstone products:
Natural gemstones - occur in nature and can be rare and expensive.
Laboratory-created stones - which also are referred to as synthetic, laboratory-grown, or manufacturer-created - have the same chemical, physical, and visual properties as natural gemstones, but they aren’t as rare and often are less expensive than natural gemstones with similar characteristics.
Imitation stones - look like natural stones, but may be made of glass, plastic, or other less costly material.
Laboratory-created and imitation stones should be clearly identified as such.
Consumer Information. (n.d.). Gemstones, Diamonds, & Pearls. [online] Available at: [Accessed 16 Jan. 2019]
Federal Trade Commission's “Guide for the Jewelry Industry” (excerpts), outlining use of terms “Created”, “Lab-grown”, etc.
§ 23.23 Misuse of the Words “ruby,” “sapphire,” “emerald,” “topaz,” “stone,” “birthstone,” “gemstone,” etc.
(a) It is unfair or deceptive to use the unqualified words “ruby,” “sapphire,” “emerald,” “topaz,” or
the name of any other precious or semi-precious stone to describe any product that is not in fact a
natural stone of the type described.
(b) It is unfair or deceptive to use the word “ruby,” “sapphire,” “emerald,” “topaz,” or the name of
any other precious or semi-precious stone, or the word “stone,” “birthstone,” “gemstone,’’ or
similar term to describe a laboratory-grown, laboratory-created, [manufacturer name]-created,
synthetic, imitation, or simulated stone, unless such word or name is immediately preceded with
equal conspicuousness by the word “laboratory-grown,” “laboratory-created,” “[manufacturer
name]-created,” “synthetic,” or by the word “imitation” or “simulated,” so as to disclose clearly
the nature of the product and the fact it is not a natural gemstone.
Note to paragraph (b): The use of the word “faux” to describe a laboratory-created or
imitation stone is not an adequate disclosure that the stone is not natural.
(c) It is unfair or deceptive to use the word “laboratory-grown,” “laboratory-created,” “[manufacturer
name]-created,” or “synthetic” with the name of any natural stone to describe any industry product
unless such industry product has essentially the same optical, physical, and chemical properties as the stone named.
§ 23.25 Misuse of the Word “gem”
(a) It is unfair or deceptive to use the word “gem” to describe, identify, or refer to a ruby, sapphire,
emerald, topaz, or other industry product that does not possess the beauty, symmetry, rarity, and
value necessary for qualification as a gem.
(b) It is unfair or deceptive to use the word “gem” to describe any laboratory-created industry product
unless the product meets the requirements of paragraph (a) of this section and unless such word is
immediately accompanied, with equal conspicuousness, by the word “laboratory-grown,” “laboratory-
created,” or “[manufacturer-name]-created,” “synthetic,” or by some other word or phrase of
like meaning, so as to clearly disclose that it is not a natural gem.
Note to § 23.25: In general, use of the word “gem” with respect to laboratory-created
stones should be avoided since few laboratory-created stones possess the necessary
qualifications to properly be termed “gems.” Imitation diamonds and other imitation
stones should not be described as “gems.” Not all diamonds or natural stones, including
those classified as precious stones, possess the necessary qualifications to be properly
Federal Register (2018). Guides for the Jewelry, Precious Metals, and Pewter Industries. Washington, DC: Donald S. Clark, pp.Page 40674, Section 23.23