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What is Artificial Stone?

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  • Written By: Jessica Ellis
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 02 November 2016
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Artificial stone refers to a synthetically created compound that resembles or carries the same properties as natural stone. There are many different types of artificial stone, including synthetic gemstones, stone veneer, cement compounds, and cast stone. Artificial stone has many different uses as a material, from the creation of costume jewelry to the primary construction material in buildings.

One of the earliest types of artificial stone is a ceramic compound known as Coade. Created by 18th century inventor Eleanor Coade, Coade stone was created through a combination of clay, quartz, flint, and other materials, which could be poured into molds and fired to a desired hardness. Though only produced for 70 years, Coade stone became a revered and sought-after material due to its resistance to erosion. Nevertheless, Coade stone was largely replaced by cement products by the early 19th century, and ceased production altogether by 1833.

Artificial gemstones are a popular way to create low-cost jewelry that resembles traditional precious stones. Many of these are created through laboratory production, which allows the growth of synthetic crystals that look nearly identical to geologically created gemstones, but may bear different chemical properties. Extremely inexpensive reproductions may also be made out of other materials, such as plastic or glass, but these are easy to distinguish from real stones. Artificial gemstones are also used in industrial purposes, such as the creation of laboratory diamonds for abrasive and cutting tools.

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Concrete is a primary ingredient in the creation of many different types of artificial stone. Composed of cement, gravel, ash, and liquid additives, concrete is usually poured into molds that resemble natural stone pieces. Concrete-based products can often be dyed or painted to reproduce the color of natural stone, and are frequently lighter and less expensive than natural stone. This type of artificial stone is often called cast stone, manufactured stone, or stone veneer.

An extremely light and inexpensive form of artificial stone is resin stone, which is made from natural and synthetic sap, as well as concrete and coagulants. Resin stone is sometimes used in tiling for floors, showers, and counters, and is often found as the primary material in garden statuary, fountains, and benches. Depending on the quality of the material, resin stone can look quite natural or may have a fake, plastic appearance. At a distance, however, even inexpensive resin gives a passable appearance of real stone, and its light weight makes it a good material for objects that need to be moved regularly.

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Mykol
Post 11

I am not one to invest in expensive pieces of jewelry, but still like to wear some pretty, sparkling gems once in awhile.

When I have looked at real gemstones side by side with artificial gemstones, I cannot tell them apart. I know that someone who knew specifically what they were looking for would be able to, but I couldn't see any differences.

Not only does this save me a lot of money, but I also don't have to be so worried about losing it or someone stealing my jewelry.

I am notorious for losing one earring or having a bracelet fall off my wrist and not even know it. Of course this would usually happen when I was wearing expensive jewelery.

When it comes to my diamond wedding ring, I do want that to be the real thing, but as far as my other jewelry, I am content to wear artificial stones.

LisaLou
Post 10

Once I started buying my garden accessories in resin stone, I have a hard time buying anything else.

There is a difference in quality when it comes to resin, so I am particular about what it looks like. I want it to look as close to possible as the real thing and try to avoid a plastic, artificial look.

The biggest reason I like resin stone is because it is so light to move around. I have some garden statues that are not resin and they always stay in the same place because I cannot move them by myself.

With the garden benches and pots that I purchased that are made of resin stone, I have no trouble picking them up and moving them myself. My husband enjoys this too since I don't have to depend on him to set up or put away my large garden accessories.

SarahSon
Post 9

One of our friends has a side business making things out of concrete that resemble artificial stone.

He is very artistic and gifted and his creations are very well done. He never has trouble selling them and usually has a waiting list of people who want something done. Because this is only a part time business, he doesn't have a lot of extra time to spend on it.

My husband spent quite a bit of time helping him out when they had troubles with their swimming pool and in return he made us a large artificial rock.

This sits out in our front yard and has our last name engraved into the stone. It is surrounded by

flowers and we always get a lot of compliments on it.

If you didn't know it, you would never know this was not a real rock. My husband has moved some big rocks before and you need some heavy equipment to do this.

This artificial rock that was made with a concrete base weighs much less than what a real rock that size would weigh.

julies
Post 8

We have a stone fireplace that uses artificial stones on the inside of the house. When you are looking at this artificial stone wall, you cannot tell that it is not the real thing.

This house was already built when we moved into it. I can imagine how much easier it was for the builders to work with these lighter "fake" stones than it would have been to lift real stones.

We have tall, open ceilings and this stone fireplace reaches all the to the top of the ceiling. It really is impressive when you see it for the first time. It is amazing to me how authentic these stones really look.

SZapper
Post 7

@indemnifyme - I'm sure the only people who can tell that artificial stone is artificial are people who are in the construction industry. A friend of mine has brick veneer on her home, and I had no idea it wasn't "real" brick until she told me. Apparently these days most new houses aren't made of real brick anyway.

I know artificial stone remains popular, so I'm kind of wondering why they stopped making Coade since it was so highly sought after. I bet that company could still be making a profit today!

indemnifyme
Post 6

@JessicaLynn - It's cool you guys want to make an ethical choice for your engagement ring. A friend of mine has a really nice ring that is made from a lab created ruby, and I can't tell the difference. Even holding it up next to a mined ruby.

I don't have a problem with artificial gemstones or artificial stone for home improvement. My parents just put artificial stone siding onto their house, and there's no way you would know if was artificial unless they said so (and they just keep that little fact to themselves.) Their neighbors all think they spent a ton of money on the project!

JessicaLynn
Post 5

My boyfriend and I are talking about getting engaged, so I've been thinking a lot of engagement rings. I don't want a diamond, because of the possibility of getting conflict diamonds. I did a lot of research into the environmental effect of other gemstones as well as the conditions of the workers.

It turns out that getting a lab created faux stone is pretty much the only way to guarantee you're getting a cruelty-free gem. These days, lab created gemstones look exactly the same as the "real" thing (and often have the same chemical makeup), but no one was hurt making it.

I will say though, I don't like the look of lab created diamonds, because they usually tend to have a yellowish tinge to them. At this point I'm leaning more towards getting a lab created sapphire for my ring.

Oceana
Post 4

@kylee07drg – I love my artificial stone patio. Constructing one is so easy that you can do it without professional help. I put mine together myself by purchasing single concrete pavers at a home improvement store.

I laid them down on the ground and sprinkled moss seed in between the cracks. My back yard is shaded, so moss does well there. It doesn't grow very tall, so it serves as a nice cushion between the pavers without overtaking them.

The faux stone is a mix of black and gray. The black fills in the low areas in the stone, so it looks like shadows.

Since the stones are actually concrete, they support the weight of people in lawn chairs and a table full of food. I like my faux stone patio so much better than my old wooden deck.

kylee07drg
Post 3

@cloudel – I also love artificial stone, and I am considering using it all over my house. Right now, all I have is resin stone countertops, and I love them.

I bought the square tiles separately and installed them myself. They are green and black marble, and they shine in the light. The glossy finish was what drew me to them, and they add a modern touch to my kitchen.

Next, I will probably work on finding some artificial stepping stones for my yard. I might even add a patio out back, beyond the porch. I think it would be nice to have an area large enough to put lawn chairs and a table on, and I love the look of stone patios.

cloudel
Post 2

I have artificial stone veneer on my fireplace. It looks very much like real stone, and it even has the rough texture of it. The pieces are staggered and placed at different depths, giving the illusion of stacked stone.

The colors range from light brown to light gray. Several pieces are chipped on purpose to add to the effect.

This veneer was so much cheaper than real stone. I couldn't tell the difference between the two when shopping, until I looked at the price tag. I don't know why anyone would choose actual stone over the less expensive alternative!

shell4life
Post 1

I used to wear really cheap jewelry as a child. I love rings and necklaces with artificial stones made to look like rubies and emeralds. I think they were probably made of plastic.

I never buy expensive jewelry, and the only real stones I own are the ones in my wedding and engagement rings. Even now, I buy artificial stone jewelry, though I have graduated to crystals instead of plastic.

My philosophy is that if a piece of jewelry looks real to me, it will probably look real to everyone but the experts. I see no need to spend a quarter of a year's salary on something that could be imitated at a fraction of the cost.

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