# Which gems can be prepared on a small scale basis?

I am interested to know the following:

1. Which gems can be prepared at home (without sophisticated instruments)?
2. What will be the quality (appearance) of the product for a certain method?

I want these information just for hobby-scale purposes(no academic/commercial production). In addition to common lab equipment, I have $\pu{1000 K}$ of temperature and few atmospheres of pressure at disposal.

• It's not off-topic per se, so I think you're okay there. I think this gets at issues of crystallization, so it could be interesting. – jonsca Jul 30 '13 at 21:20
• I wonder if rock candy counts as a gem. – ManishEarth Jul 31 '13 at 5:01
• @jonsca : Thanks. Updating the question, please have a look. – blackSmith Jul 31 '13 at 7:55

Most likely the only gems you will be able to make at home are plastic gems. Wikipedia sheds some light on the production of some synthetic gems, Corundum and Cubic Zirconia, both of them not possible at home (or at least my home).

• Given as promised. But I am not after plastic gems. – blackSmith Jul 31 '13 at 14:14

Taking into account that gems often are doped oxides with rather high melting points, your project is quite a challenge.

A historical example for synthetic emerald is Igmerald, produced by the I.G. Farbenindustrie (hence the name) from 1929 until 1942 at the Bitterfeld facility.

The synthesis was performed at 800 °C in platinum crucibles, reacting $\ce{BeO}$ and $\ce{Al2O3}$ and $\ce{Li2CrO4}$ (as the colour-giving dopant). Lithium molybdate was used as a solvent and natural emeralds were used as seeds.

The crucibles were covered with platinum lids having platinum tubes attached, through which more material was fed in during the crystallisation process.

After 18 growth periods over a year, prismatic synthetic emeralds with a length of 2-3 cm could be obtained.

The information giving above is taken from the article The colour of Igmerald: I.G. Farbenindustrie flux-grown synthetic emerald by Karl Schmetzer and Lore Kiefert, hosted on the site of the SSEF Schweizerisches Gemmologisches Institut.

• We made emeralds and also rubies from scratch (no seeds) in our advanced inorganic lab course, they were close to 1mm-sized in a week. – Karl Jun 17 '19 at 22:00

You can purchase bulk raw or cut stones much cheaper than you can synthesize bulk raw,

http://www.syntheticgems.org/

Otherwise, Dennis Elwell, Man-Made Gemstones, 1979 or following. It includes Appendix 3, "How to grow your own rubies," mentioning dopant that suppresses the otherwise platey crystal habit.