In collaboration with BIRON®
With the world positively imbibing the culture of a more sustainable environment, the jewellery industry has been innovating with lab-grown gemstones. These alternatives to mined gems are very ethical and sustainable. With them, there are fewer environmental problems derived from carbon emissions, land destruction, and even ethical challenges that are common with mined minerals.
What are Lab-Grown Gemstones?
Lab-grown gemstones are gemstones that are manufactured in the lab. While natural gemstones are mined from beneath the earth’s crust, lab-created gemstones are created in the laboratory sharing the same chemical composition that forms natural gemstones.
Lab-grown gemstones go by different terms across the industry: man-made, synthetic, created, artificial, lab-made, lab-created and so on. However, they are not simulated gemstones. A simulated gemstone is a look-alike of a gemstone and is manufactured from a different material altogether.
Man-made diamonds, rubies, emeralds, sapphires, are chemically, physically and optically identical to their natural counterparts. Therefore, they are real gems. The only difference is that they are not mined from miles beneath the earth, and therefore, they are considered ethical and eco-friendly.
What Are The Benefits of Lab Created Gemstones?
Lab-grown gemstones have a lot of benefits for jewellery brands, dealers, retailers, designers, and the customers.
Man-made gemstones could even sell for about 50% the price of mined gemstones or even less. Because they go through a shorter supply chain and have a shorter production time, lab-created gems are way cheaper.
In all sense of it, lab created gemstones are eco-friendly gemstones. Although they recreate the earth’s natural process in a laboratory, they are without the heavy carbon emissions and environmental destruction that comes with mining.
Mining gemstones have triggered many negativities for years – conflicts, child labour, unauthorized mining, smuggling, and so on. Since the production chain of lab-grown gemstones is devoid of mining, these challenges are set to reduce, if not eradicated.
It is extremely rare to find natural gemstones without inclusions. This is because most inclusions occur for internal factors that arise while a gem is forming. The good thing with lab-created gemstones is that they beat the chances of inclusion by a large margin, providing us with flawless and high clarity gemstones.
The intentionality involved in manufacturing gemstones makes it easy to have variations of them. They can be designed to have the best cut, polishing, and the most beautiful mount. Also, lab gemstones can be made into any colour. You could have a blue diamond if you wish. You can also have a ruby produced to have the perfect flaming red colour you desire.
How Are Eco-Friendly Gemstones Made?
When producing lab made gemstones, the aim is to mimic the processes that cause a particular gemstone to form within the earth.
Since different gemstones form in different ways, there are also different laboratory methods of gemstone production:
- Flame fusion or Verneuil Process: A crystal growth technology that involves the melting of powdered chemicals using high heat. The melted compound is crystallized to form the required gemstone using a rotating pedestal.
- Crystal Pulling or Czochralski Process: The gemstone crystal is made to grow by inserting a seed gemstone into the melted compound in a crucible. Solidified crystals will begin to form around this seed.
- Hydrothermal Growth: Common method in emerald. It involves dissolving the needed nutrients in water using very high pressure. As the solution cools, the gemstone crystal forms.
- Flux Growth: Gemstone nutrients are dissolved in another material known as flux which can dissolves the elements at a lower temperature, and then forced to precipitate into crystalline form.
- Chemical Vapour Deposition (CVD): One of the processes to create lab-grown diamond. It works by using high pressure and temperature to break down methane into carbon and hydrogen. The atomic hydrogen formed helps the free carbon to form diamonds.
FAQs on Lab Made & Synthetic Gemstones
Are lab-grown gemstones real gems?
Lab made gemstones are 100% real gemstones like natural ones. They are created using the exact elements that form natural gemstones.
Are lab-created gemstones valuable?
If not for anything, eco-friendly gemstones are valuable because they are also real gemstones. Meanwhile, they are prone to fewer inclusions and would even sell for lower prices compared to mined counterparts.
Are lab gems as durable as mined gemstones?
Man-made gemstones are just as durable as mined gemstones since they have the same chemical composition. All physical characteristics of natural gemstones apply to lab made ones.
Do manufactured gems contain inclusions?
There could be inclusions in lab-grown gemstones as inclusions form due to non-human factors during formation. However, the chances of inclusions in lab-created gemstones are low compared to mined ones. This is because gemstones form in the lab under ideal conditions with fewer chances of unwanted processes disrupting the formation.
The idea of lab production of gemstones has existed for a while but recently became very pronounced. Today, more people are embracing them because they are eco-friendly, very sustainable, and ethical. Lab-grown gemstones on Biron-gems.com are designed to transform the jewellery industry and to offer ethical gemstones that respect human rights and the environment, to jewellery brands, dealers, retailers, designers, and customers.