Southwest Florida Fossil Society

"To Inform and Educate"
is to promote and foster the science of paleontology through the collection, identification and preservation of fossil remains and providing a regional forum for education, training and experience in the scientific field.
Click here for Images of Items for our PREVIOUS Fossil Auction 2017
July 8, 2017 7:00 pm

Geraldine Vest, Ph.D., FGA, GG(GIA)

How do you tell if a gemstone is natural or synthetic or imitation? First, we will look at the faceted gemstones used as birthstones: January-garnet, February-amethyst, March-aquamarine, April-diamond, May-emerald, June-alexandrite, July-Ruby, August-Peridot, September-blue sapphire, October-pink tourmaline, November-imperial golden topaz, and December-blue zircon (and a few others like iolite and citrine). Besides measuring the physical properties to identify the material, the microscope (or a 10x loupe) is then used to tell natural from synthetic materials. This presentation will show how synthetics are made and show several pictures of what inclusions they contain and several pictures of what inclusions are in natural gem materials. In a short time, I cannot teach you how to identify all gemstones but I will show some diagnostic inclusions that can be used to tell some gemstones if these inclusions are present. If gemstones are completely clean, it may not be to tell if they are synthetic. Imitation gemstones may look like what they are imitating but they will not have the same properties like hardness, density or optical properties.

FOSSIL (Fostering Opportunities for Synergistic STEM with Informal Learners) is a project funded by the National Science Foundation and headquartered at the Florida Museum of Natural History in Gainesville. FOSSIL is developing a national community that includes amateur and professional paleontologists; our research indicates that more than 60 amateur fossil clubs and societies exist in the USA, but they are not well coordinated in their activities. Overarching goals of the FOSSIL Project include enhanced collaborations between amateurs and professionals, knowledge-building about paleontology, access to resources for lifelong learning, and development of a viable learning community focused on topics such as collections (including digitization), evolution, and K-12 outreach. In addition to more traditional means, such as our newsletter (available at, FOSSIL is developing an interactive online community ( and using social media (Facebook and Twitter) to foster communication and interactions, and thus promoting the concept of 'social paleontology.' "
Watch "Good Question: Why is Venice the 'shark's tooth capital of the world?'" on YouTube
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