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.
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.