Lab created gemstones have the same physical, chemical, and optical properties as mined gems. Lab created gems are produced in a controlled environment so that crystals can grow naturally: recreating the conditions in which gems grow in the Earth.
The process of growing gem crystals in a laboratory rather than mining them is a bit like making ice in your freezer instead of finding it in a lake. You place the starter material, water, in a container, and put the container into a controlled environment: your freezer.
Create the right conditions of temperature and time and ice crystals will form. The freezer ice will usually be cleaner and more perfect than lake ice because you can carefully control the environment. But it’s still ice, just like the ice that forms in nature. In a way, what we do is a sophisticated high-tech version of freezing water to form ice.
Although Moissanite is a naturally occurring mineral (silicon carbide), it only exists in minute quantities in nature. Therefore, Moissanite available on the market today are mostly created through a scientific lab growing process, commonly known as the Lely Process. One of the benefits of lab-grown gemstones is that they have less of an impact on the environment than mined gems.
This process starts where natural ingredients are placed in an environment created to duplicate nature. In the case of Moissanites, silicon carbide powder is sublimated (converted) into a higher-temperature form in an argon gas medium at 2500 °C and redeposited into flake-like single crystals.
Once the required combination of chemical and environmental factors is created, gemstone crystals grow over the course of a few weeks to a few months. As a result, the crystals we grow have physical, chemical, and optical properties that are identical to those found in nature.
Under laboratory conditions and computers control temperatures, foreign materials found in the Earth are eliminated from our starting chemicals. This makes gems grown in labs far more predictable and consistent than mined gems. Any qualities that are subpar are not released for sale. The chemical structure and color will be the same and usually more superior than its mined counterparts.
Unless you’re a certified gemologist with a powerful microscope, you won’t be able to tell the difference between lab created and mined gemstones. Every gemological laboratory in the world has reference samples of lab created gemstones to aid in the separation.