Our world is filled with millions of rich and colorful gemstones of which mankind has been using to adorn themselves with for thousands of years. Through most of this time, these precious gemstones have only been able to be obtained by one method – mining them from natural sources.
However, recent technological and scientific advancements in the last few decades have allowed the ability for labs to replicate the look and feel of a natural gemstone. Many customers often inquire about the origin of gemstones, and whether it is beneficial to purchase a natural or lab-created one – here are some tips when looking to add to a collection.
1. Lab-Created Gemstone
The term “lab created” gemstone refers to a gemstone that has been made in a laboratory and has the same chemical composition as its natural counterpart. This term is synonymous with “synthetic”, “man made”, or “lab grown” gemstones.
It should not be confused with “simulated” or “imitation” gemstones, which are meant to give the appearance of a gemstone but are chemically different (such as being made of glass or plastic).
2. Natural Gemstones
Natural gemstones are any gemstone that has been formed in nature and has not been tampered with outside of being mined, cut, and polished. Most in the industry would recognize natural gemstones as those that have not been treated for inclusions or color enhancement in any way.
Gemstones that are formed in nature but have undergone any type of treatment process are generally referred to as “genuine” gemstones. Because of the extreme rarity of most natural gemstones, “genuine” gemstones have long been a universally accepted aspect of the trade.
3. Which is Better?
- Like nearly all things with gemstones, the choice always comes down to the wearer’s personal preferences. Both natural and lab-created gemstones have their pros and cons depending on what aspect of the gemstone is emphasized.
- If cost is the most important factor, lab created is likely the best option. Because they are not scarce, lab-created gemstones are sold at a fraction of the price that their natural counterpart would be. It is much more possible to work with a smaller budget when it comes to lab created gemstones.
- For appearances, both are ideal depending on the look desired. If you are striving for a perfect look, lab created gemstones are best as they are free of inclusions and will display the best possible color. If you are looking for something unique, natural/genuine gemstones are ideal. They vary greatly in appearance and color, suiting their owner’s unique taste.
- If you want something that is rare and authentic, natural gemstones are hands down the only choice. Some gemstones are extremely rare, and can only be found in certain parts of the world. Others have been passed down for generations, and represent lifetimes of connection.