GemClones – Lab (Real) Gems
Real deal or synthetic gemstone? Who can tell the difference – No one!
I always use natural gemstones for my jewelry, but the big 4 precious gemstones: Diamonds; Rubies; Emeralds; and Sapphires, are out of the price range for this artisan jeweler! Recently, however, I noticed that my favorite supplier had started selling “Lab-Created” gemstones which are still pricey, but much less than then the real deal. I decided to find out more and I am sharing what I have learned with you. Here are the differences starting with the least expensive alternatives:
These stones are man made to look like the real thing and include common CZ’s (Cubic Zirconia). I only use these for stone setting practice as they are very inexpensive. I don’t sell these items, but I do I wear them myself if it so happens they look great!
Then there are Moissanites which cost much more than cz’s, but far less than a natural Diamond. The hardness is second only to a Diamond and the refractive quality (bling) is higher! It’s stunning! This is a very popular diamond substitute with its fabulous fire, durability, and clarity – not to mention affordability. This is in the category simulated because the composition is not at all like a diamond.
This category is dominated by a new generation of “Lab Created” gemstones. These beauties share all of the same composition and properties of its natural counterpart, but, as the name indicates, it was completely made in a lab AND they are classified as the real deal! Not even sophisticated testing equipment can tell the difference between the lab created stone and the natural one. Only the sales certificate tells the tale!
Pricing of these Lab stones can vary according to the stone it mimics. For instance, Lab-created diamonds are still expensive (about 25 35% less than a natural diamond), but Lab Rubies, Sapphires, and Emeralds are very affordable alternatives.
This process, start to finish is very time-consuming so I don’t ever expect to see the less expensive semi-precious stones like Garnets or Amethyst’s being made in a lab. But you never know!
I have also seen Lab Opals, but in nature, the flash comes from randomly trapped water pockets and that is difficult to reproduce. Compositionally, they may be identical, but they look fake. I suspect the same thing would happen in a Lab Moonstones, Labradorites or any other gemstone with flash attributes. I don’t think we’ll be seeing them.
Credit – Rio Grande Jewelry Supply