Synthetic star sapphire exhibits the optical phenomenon called asterism, a star-like pattern created on the surface of a gemstone when light encounters parallel fibrous, or needle-like, inclusions within its crystal structure. Light that strikes the inclusions within the gem reflects off of the inclusions, creating a narrow band of light. When two or more intersecting bands appear, a star pattern is formed. The flame fusion process for creating gems, also called the Verneuil process, is the most affordable and common synthesis method for producing corundum (ruby and sapphire) and spinel. Powdered chemicals (the building blocks of the gem) are dropped through a high-temperature flame. The molten powder repeatedly falls from the flame onto a rotating pedestal, creating a synthetic crystal, called a boule, which can later be faceted into a gemstone. Synthetic gems have the same chemical, optical, and physical properties of their natural counterparts, but are a more cost-effective alternative to a natural gem.