What Are Lab-Grown Gemstones? | Everything You Need to know

Lab-grown or lab-created diamonds and gemstones are surrounded by many myths and unjust stigmas. As much as we love gems created by nature herself here at Anueva, lab-grown gems also occupy a special place in our hearts. 


Lab-Grown Gemstone Myth Buster

It is a common misconception that lab-grown diamonds, sapphires, or other gemstones are “fake.” This is not true! They are, in fact, actual diamonds and are identical to natural gemstones in terms of their chemical and physical properties, as well as their appearance. The only difference between lab-grown gems and natural gems is that lab-grown gems are created in a controlled environment, whereas natural gemstones occur over a longer period of time in the uncontrolled environment of the Earth.

Lab-Grown Gemstone Process

Natural diamonds begin at a higher price point in part because they take an incredible amount of time to create; Mother Nature herself formed these precious gemstones somewhere between millions to billions of years ago! Lab-grown diamonds on the other hand can be created in a much shorter time span with the High-Pressure, High-Temperature (HPHT) Method. Similarly, lab-grown sapphires are created using the Melt Process or the Solution Process. To date, the oldest lab-grown gemstones are only a few decades old — babies in comparison to natural gemstones! Even so, to the naked, untrained eye, it is nearly impossible to tell the difference between a lab-grown gemstone and a natural gemstone. As lab-grown gemstones are not a limited resource and don’t cause any earth displacement commonly associated with mining, they are more cost-effective than their natural counterparts.

Ethicality of Lab-Grown vs. Natural

The topic of ethical gemstone mining is at the forefront of many consumers’ minds as they shop. While it can be said with certainty that lab-grown gemstones are never “blood diamonds,” we aim to be as transparent as possible. Unlike other companies, we don’t want to make claims that diamond factories are zero emissions or are good for the environment. However, we are aware that some factories purchase emission offset credits or use solar or hydropower. Our main motivation behind adding more lab-grown items to our collection is to afford everyone the opportunity to discover and purchase their dream stone. Fine jewelry featuring lab-grown gemstones is less expensive than natural gemstones. Our best advice is to follow your sparkle-loving heart and opt for the stone that makes you happy!

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Lab-Grown Gemstone Q&A 

What else are lab-grown gemstones called?

Lab-grown gemstones are referred to by a variety of names! Some common ones include lab-created, lab-made, synthetic, cultured, and created. 

Are lab-grown gemstones fake?

No, they are far from it! They are actual diamonds, identical to natural diamonds in chemical composition and appearance. A lab-grown diamond, for example, shares the same properties as a natural diamond. A fake diamond may be one made of glass or cubic zirconia. These copycats, unlike lab-grown diamonds, sparkle less, are cloudier, and are far less durable.

That being said, “fake” does not automatically imply “bad.” A fantastic and popular diamond lookalike is moissanite. They are less expensive, very durable, and similar in appearance! 

Is it tacky or deceitful to buy a lab-grown gemstone as an engagement ring? 

Absolutely not! Lab-grown diamonds, sapphires, and other gemstones are a great alternative to natural gemstones. They come in a wide range of colors, sizes, shapes, and cuts and start at a lower price than natural gemstones.

Can you only purchase lab-grown diamonds? 

While lab-grown diamonds tend to be popular, there are plenty of gemstones that are lab-grown! In addition to lab-grown diamonds, you can now find lab-grown sapphires, rubies, spinels, emeralds, opals, and more!

Can you tell the difference between a lab-grown gemstone and a natural gemstone? 

To the untrained and unaided eye, no, you cannot tell the difference between a lab-grown gemstone and a natural gemstone. With advanced instruments, a trained gemologist might be able to tell the difference (granted there are no inscriptions on the girdle). The only way to know for sure is to send the gemstone to a gemological laboratory. 

How are lab-grown diamonds created?

There are two primary methods to create lab-grown diamonds. The first and most common method is called High-Pressure, High-Temperature (HPHT). Through this process, carbon is subjected to extreme temperatures and pressure to replicate conditions where natural diamonds form. Alternatively, the second method is called Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD). With this process, diamonds are grown from a hydrocarbon gas mixture and then introduced to moderate temperatures and pressures inside a vacuum chamber.

How are lab-grown sapphires created?

Lab-grown sapphires are created by the Melt Process or the Solution Process. According to the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), “[m]elt growth is achieved by bringing the Al2O3 all the way to its melting temperature (2040°C) in a crucible.” On the other hand, [s]olution growth involves using solvents such as water (hydrothermal) or other chemicals (flux) to create the crystal at a temperature below its melting point.” To read more about these processes, click here to access the article by the GIA