Does it matter if the gems in your jewelery collection are natural or lab created?

Does it matter if the gems in your jewelery collection are natural or lab created?

Is a Lab-Created Gemstone less desirable? 

I get asked this question a lot. There is a stigma attached to buying lab created gemstones. Many people regard natural mined gemstones as more desirable however there are many benefits to lab created gemstones. In this short piece we shall explore the merits of wearing lab created gemstones. And delve a little into their history.

Lab created gemstones are a desirable alternative as natural gemstones are more expensive and harder to obtain.  Created gemstones contains essentially the same chemical composition & properties as its natural counterpart, but is created by man in a controlled setting. One upside to lab created gems is you won’t find as many inclusions in them. This can result in lab gems being more durable. Making them safer to wear every day.  Take emeralds for example, emeralds can often have many surface reaching inclusions in them which can make them more susceptible to chips and cracks. Emerald inclusions are referred to as its “jardin” (or its garden!) Emerald jardin is very normal, as Emeralds are a Type III stone. An experienced jeweller will often advise against wearing a natural emerald engagement ring for this reason.

Made by humans in a controlled environment

Synthetic gemstones have a fascinating history; they have been around believe it or not since the early 1800s when French Chemist Auguste Gaudin created synthetic rubies by fusing alumina with chromium. Since then, scientists and gemmologists have continually refined the process, leading to the creation of lab-grown diamonds, sapphires, emeralds, and more.

Lab Grown Gemstones and The First World War

Lab created gemstones became commercially available at the turn of the century. They were a desirable alternative to natural gems which were more expensive and harder to obtain. One reason for this was imports of mined gemstones from abroad during the First World War was very difficult. Simply because there were not a lot of materials readily available. Gemstones imported from warmer climates from places such as Africa, Thailand, India and America, during the war were not the top priority when it came to overseas imports. The war led to shifts in global trade routes as maritime routes were affected by naval blockades and conflicts. This impacted the movement of goods, including gemstones, between different regions.

The use of Synthetic Gemstones in Art Deco Jewellery 

As a result of this disruption during the war and post-war it was common to see synthetic gemstones used. They were offered at a fraction of the cost. Created gems were also easier to color match therefore making a great choice for Art Deco jewellery. This uniformity in color was crucial for the symmetrical and harmonious designs prevalent in Art Deco jewellery. Created gemstones allowed for precision in cutting and shaping. The Art Deco movement embraced vibrant and bold colors. Created gems, being available in a wide range of colors, allowed designers to incorporate vivid hues into their pieces, aligning perfectly with the fashionable trends of the time.

The advancements in synthetic gem production technology allowed artisans to cut stones with intricate facets and geometric shapes, aligning perfectly with the angular and symmetrical designs of Art Deco jewellery. Natural gemstones, due to their varying shapes and sizes, often resulted in more wastage during the cutting process. In contrast, created gems could be produced in specific sizes and shapes, minimizing wastage and maximizing the use of the material. At one-point synthetic stones became so popular they actually began out pricing natural stones.

Changing Perceptions

While attitudes are changing, there can still be a stigma attached to lab-created gemstones in some circles. Overcoming preconceived notions and educating consumers about the quality and ethical standards of synthetic gems is an ongoing challenge.

Let’s also not forget that for some, the allure of owning a gemstone with a geological history spanning millions of years holds sentimental value. Lab-created gemstones lack this natural history, which may impact the emotional connection some people seek in their jewellery.

In the evolving landscape of the jewellery industry, lab-created gemstones are carving a niche for themselves, offering an ethical, environmentally friendly, and affordable alternative to traditional mined gems. As technology continues to advance, the line between natural and lab-created stones blurs, ultimately providing consumers with more choices to express their style and values. Whether you opt for the geological marvels of the Earth or the brilliant creations born in a laboratory, the choice is ultimately yours to make, reflecting your unique story and preferences in the world of gemstone jewellery.








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