When it comes to choosing an important piece of jewelry such as an engagement ring, picking the perfect gemstone is essential. Diamonds are not only incredibly expensive, they’re also ethically and environmentally dubious. Luckily, you have options. Have you ever considered the benefits of lab-created gemstones? Synthetic gemstones are almost identical to natural gemstones and are becoming increasingly popular for a variety of reasons: they are spectacularly beautiful, ethically sourced and environmentally friendly.
When considering which type of gemstone to select for your jewelry, artificial gemstones are a realistic and eco-friendly alternative for natural diamonds and other naturally occurring gemstones. Let's look at the differences between natural gemstones and those created in a lab so you can make the best choice for you and the environment.
What are Lab-Created Gemstones?
Believe it or not, man-made gemstones often outshine natural gems. Even if you look closely, you’ll find that lab-grown gemstones are often hard to distinguish from their natural counterparts. They have a nearly identical appearance and brilliance, so you won’t compromise on quality when purchasing synthetic gemstones. In addition to their stunning qualities, lab-grown gemstones are also guilt-free. They’re grown rather than mined in environmentally harmful diamond mining operations, and they also aren’t sourced from high conflict zones like many diamonds are.
In addition to the sustainable practices of lab-created gemstones, the controlled conditions of a laboratory allow for flawless gemstone creation every time, something that simply isn't possible in nature. Because they’re man-made gemstones, you also won’t face the fluctuation in quality and price that comes with diamonds and other naturally occurring gemstones.
But if this lab-created jewelry isn't naturally sourced, does that mean it isn't real?
Are Artificial Gemstones Real?
When it comes to comparing lab-created gemstones vs. natural gemstones, it's important to understand that artificial gemstones are in fact real — they are not synthetic imitations. The chemical composition of lab-created gemstones is the same as a natural gemstone. The difference between the two is that it takes nature a long time to craft a gemstone, while in the laboratory this process is much faster, more consistent, and less costly.
How are Artificial Gemstones Made?
What does lab-created mean when it comes to gemstones? The laboratory mimics the natural growing process while controlling the environment to prevent flaws. Essentially, the laboratory uses the same factors the environment uses to create gemstones: pressure and heat. For example, when creating moissanite, silicon and carbon are combined with pressure and heat to craft this gorgeous gemstone. Some gemstones are grown from crystals over a six- to twelve-month period in which minerals are applied along with heat and pressure to eventually form the stone.
Because lab-created gemstones are created in much the same way that natural gemstones are, the end result is virtually indistinguishable.
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Benefits of Synthetic Gemstones
There are so many benefits of synthetic gemstones that many people are now choosing lab-created gemstone rings for their most significant and lasting jewelry purchases, such as engagement rings. When it comes to factors such as price, quality and appearance, lab-created gemstones are hard to beat.
Benefits of Artificial Gemstones: Appearance
Even experts would be hard pressed to see the difference between natural gemstones and synthetic ones. Not only is their appearance incredibly similar because the process to create the gemstones is similar to nature’s, a laboratory-controlled environment allows for a distinct shine and sparkle that is often better than that of natural gemstones.
Take moissanite, for example. It rivals a diamond in beauty, and exceeds even naturally mined diamonds when it comes to how much fire (the rainbow spectrum of light that comes from the stone) it gives off. Moissanites are more brilliant than a natural diamond, which is why they’re increasingly being chosen for engagement rings that may have previously been set with a diamond.
Benefits of Synthetic Gemstones: Price and Value
If you look at the prices on a synthetic gemstones list, there's no doubt that natural gemstones are more costly than their lab-created counterparts. You can save significantly when you choose a lab-created gemstone. What's more, these stones are a better value when it comes to environmental sustainability and ethical sourcing.
Natural gemstones have to be mined from the earth. This can be especially problematic when it comes to diamonds, as profits from their sale sometimes go to fund conflicts in war zones. Lab-created gemstones such as moissanite are an ethical alternative because they’re safely created in a lab.