When it comes to jewelry, there are many different factors that go into the decision of what to buy. One of the most important decisions is whether to purchase a piece with natural gemstones or lab created gemstones.
There are pros and cons to both options, and it can be difficult to decide which is best for you. In this article, we will discuss the differences between natural and lab created gemstones, and help you decide which option is right for you!
What Are Gemstones and Where Do They Come From?
Some people might think that gemstones are simply rocks that have been polished and used to create jewelry. In reality, gemstones are a specific type of mineral that has been cut and faceted to exhibit brightness and fire. Some gemstones even occur in natural forms, such as diamonds, which are created when carbon is compressed underground for millions of years. Let’s take a closer look at some of the most popular gemstones and where they come from.
Although all rocks can be classified as minerals, not all minerals are considered gemstones. In order to be categorized as a gemstone, a mineral must meet two criteria: it must be capable of being cut and polished, and it must exhibit special optical properties. The first criterion means that the mineral must be tough enough to withstand the process of cutting and polishing. The second criterion means that the mineral must refract light in a pleasing way, often resulting in flashes of color called “fire.”
Most gemstones are mined from the earth, although a few gems (like pearls) are formed by natural processes in water. Diamonds are probably the best-known example of a gemstone that is mined from the earth. They form deep inside the earth under immense pressure, and over time they work their way to the surface through volcanic eruptions. Sapphire and ruby are also examples of gems that are typically found in their natural state beneath the ground.
On the other hand, some gems (like topaz) occur naturally but can also be produced artificially through irradiation or heat treatment. Emeralds are another good example; while many emeralds found in jewelry stores were mined from rocky deposits in Colombia or Zambia, it is now possible to produce synthetic emeralds in laboratories that look virtually indistinguishable from those found in nature.
As you can see, there’s more to gemstones than meets the eye! Next time you’re shopping for jewelry, take a moment to learn about your favorite stones so you can choose pieces with confidence.
How Are Lab-Created Gemstones Made?
Lab-created gemstones are man-made, meaning they are not mined from the earth. Instead, they are grown in a laboratory using advanced technology. This process begins with a small piece of crystal known as a “seed.” The seed is placed in a special chamber where it is heated and cooled until it grows into a larger stone.
The type of seed used, the temperature of the chamber, and the length of time the stone is left to grow all affect the final product. For example, if a ruby is being grown, red sapphire seeds might be used. The result would be a gemstone with similar physical and chemical properties to a natural ruby.
While the process of making lab-created gemstones is different for each type of gemstone, the general process is usually the same. First, a hunk of rough material is obtained. Then, the material is cut and shaped into a smaller piece called a boule. The boule is then heated until it melts and becomes a viscous liquid.
At this point, various chemicals and minerals are added to create the desired color. The liquid is then poured into molds, cooled, and polished. Lab-created gemstones offer an affordable alternative to natural gems, and they are also environmentally friendly because no mining is required.
What Are the Benefits of Lab-Created Gemstones?
While some jewelers may frown upon lab-created gemstones because they are not ‘natural,’ there are many benefits to owning these pieces of jewelry. Here are just a few reasons why you should consider owning a lab-created gemstone ring, necklace, or bracelet:
- Lab-created gemstones are more affordable than natural stones.
- They have the same optical and chemical properties as their natural counterparts.
- They can be produced in a wider variety of colors and shapes than natural stones.
- Lab-created stones are ethically sourced, meaning they do not come from endangered or threatened species.
- They last just as long as natural gemstones when properly taken care of.
- They can be certified by independent laboratories, giving you peace of mind that you are buying a high-quality product.
Are There Any Drawbacks to Lab-Created Gemstones?
While lab-created gemstones have many benefits, there are a few potential drawbacks to keep in mind. They may not have the same value as natural stones when it comes time to resell them.
Some people believe that natural gemstones have a more organic look and feel than their lab-made counterparts. Lab-created stones may also require special care to prevent them from being damaged.
Overall, lab-created gemstones are a great option if you’re looking for a beautiful, high-quality stone without the environmental impact or the high price tag.
Lab-created gemstones are a great option for those looking for an affordable and ethically responsible alternative to natural gemstones. They offer all of the beauty and luster of their natural counterparts, but without any of the negative environmental or social impacts. If you’re in the market for some new bling, be sure to check out lab-created gems!