Beautiful jewelry is an asset to any outfit and can make the wearer feel like a million dollars, even if the accessory is inexpensive but well-made. There are many ways jewelers produce their creations. The stone in your jewelry may be natural or man-made, but synthetic jewels don’t have the bad reputation associated with them that they once did. This is due to improvements in the way they are made.
It can be nearly impossible to tell the difference between genuine and lab-created jewelry. Some alternatives to the real thing are brilliant and breathtaking on their own. High-quality stones aren’t always intended to be deceptive – they hold their own in sales because they are beautiful and unique but don’t require thousands of years in nature to form and an intense mining process to get to them.
Purchasing well-designed jewelry doesn’t have to cost a fortune. Here is what you need to remember before buying your next necklace, ring, or other accessory if you’re on the lookout for genuine versus lab-created gems to add to your collection.
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Tips for Purchasing Genuine or Lab-Created Jewelry
When you begin the search for beautiful, well-crafted jewelry, you’ll probably hear different terms to describe each piece. Pay attention to those adjectives because they will tell you what you need to know about whether the jewelry you are considering purchasing is worth the price.
Gemstones are added to a person’s ensemble to add color and personality. They showcase your style. Some people wear the same symbolic jewelry day after day and never remove it. Others love to show off their expensive pieces as signs of power and wealth. Still others enjoy swapping out jewelry to accessorize their outfits.
Unless you fall in the category of wearing the same jewelry for years, it can get pricey to switch up your pieces. High-quality natural or genuine gemstones are rare and difficult for the manufacturers to mine and process.
To allow more people access to these rare gems, researchers and manufacturers combined their skills to offer lab-created stones. There’s a huge difference between imitation and lab-created gems. Imitation stones are fake, cheaply made, and full of flaws. Lab-created gems, as you’ll read, are identical to their natural counterparts in just about every way.
Keep these tips handy and refer back to them before you buy any more jewelry.
1. Natural gemstones aren’t always beautiful.
Society has gotten to a point where they have linked “natural” and “best” together. But that’s not always the case. When it comes to gemstones, natural stones are those that are found straight from nature. They are mined and then cut and polished to create a piece of jewelry. Frequently, the inability to alter the gem in any way means it stays rough-looking, which is preferred by many people and not by others.
2. Genuine gemstones are treated, but still valuable.
On the same vein of the idea that “natural” is best comes the myth that treated or enhanced means less valuable. Genuine gemstones piggyback off of natural stones. They are real, but after they are mined and polished, they are then treated to eliminate discolorations, cracks, or other flaws. The treatment, like extreme heat, can actually improve the clarity of the gem and make it more brilliant.
3. Lab-created gems are increasingly popular.
The idea of your expensive jewelry having been created by researchers in a lab isn’t as romantic of a thought as you’d probably like. But the truth is a little less cold-hearted and scientific.
Synthetic gems, also called “artificial” or “man-made,” are frequently grown in a lab in a way similar to their natural counterparts. The natural gem has been researched down to the very chemical composition of it and how it thrives in the real world. Then a simulated scenario is created in which a lab-grown version of the gem with the exact same chemical composition, physical makeup, and optical aspects is made.
So lab-created gems are somewhere between the natural and genuine version. You get the chemical makeup of the natural stone with the extra polish of the enhanced without added treatments.
4. Creating synthetic gems is a meticulous process.
Lab-created stones go through a similar process that they would undergo if they had been created in nature. The difference is that, because they are created using technology, they grow and flourish much faster than they would naturally.
If you’re not an expert on stones, you’d probably have a very hard time determining the difference between a genuine and a lab-created gem. You’d need to be trained in detecting flaws and have the right tools to find them.
Natural gems are exposed to flaws from their inception. As they crystallize, gases and other minerals mix in to help them form. Lab-created stones are grown from a scientifically created process in which those gases and minerals, the heat and pressure on the stone, and the environment is controlled.
This process has been perfected over time, but it is still complex and relies heavily on technology not readily available everywhere. You can grow your own “gems” from the toys available in stores everywhere, but if you want a high-quality stone that stands up to scrutiny from the average person, a synthetic stone from a reputable manufacturer is the way to go.
5. Lab-created gems can be found in many brands.
Brand name gemstones are given a trademark that registers that name to a particular business. For many gems, this registered brand name means you are getting a higher quality stone than if you purchased jewelry from another company.
But many high-quality brands offer lab-created stones. Because you’re buying the name – and therefore the higher quality – you can expect to pay higher than average prices for your jewelry.
6. The distinction between genuine and lab-created is different for everyone.
The bottom line is that you will have to decide for yourself whether you would prefer a lab-created stone with a little less romance in its origins or a genuine stone that came from the earth but was slightly treated.
People who prefer authenticity and tradition tend to lean more towards paying the extra for the genuine or natural stones. They are more valuable since they are rare, so they are exciting to show off and add to your collection.
But with the ever-increasing concern of environmental issues, many people are sensitive about leaving their carbon footprint everywhere and they don’t want to be part of an industry that mines rare and valuable gems through a process that isn’t exactly known to put “environmentally friendly” at the top of their priority list.
If that sounds more like you, but you still love accessorizing through high-quality, beautiful jewelry, then lab-created stones are exactly what you need. They’re comparable to the natural equivalent, even down to the same chemical composition, but they are made in an eco-friendly environment.
7. Synthetic stones are visibly flawless.
Since these stones are created in a lab under a controlled environment, they aren’t exposed to the effects of erosion and nature. They have a more consistent coloring and are smoother, resulting in a final flawless appearance without the need for treatment.
Gem crystals have been around for decades, having first been manufactured in the late 1800s. The process has become cleaner and more streamlined since then. Now, scientists use laser technology, microelectronics, and other abrasives to produce their synthetic gems. Lab-created gems can be custom designed if you want a unique gem or they can be produced in larger numbers to allow more people to access beautiful jewelry.
But because of the similarity between lab-created gems and natural or genuine stones, the marketing and sales guidelines are strict. If you’re not sure if the stone you are looking at is real or synthetic, check with an expert before spending the money.
8. Don’t pay more for a lab-created gem than a genuine stone.
Unless the synthetic version is extremely rare and unique and in a high-quality gold or silver setting, these man-made gems are always less expensive than the natural or genuine stone.
In fact, it’s common to be able to find quality lab-created gems at about half the cost of the same stone in a natural or genuine setting. This makes them the perfect choice for someone looking for beautiful jewelry on a budget, like the rings available online here.
You Can Have Gorgeous Jewelry No Matter What Your Budget Is
Not too long ago, only the truly affluent could show off show-stopping, breathtaking jewelry. But we live in a world where technology has changed everything, including what we wear.
If tradition and authenticity is your style, natural or genuine stones are more easily obtained (but at a higher cost) because of the easier mining process that machinery has helped improve. If you prefer similar looking jewelry at a fraction of the cost along with doing your part to reduce your carbon footprint and help the environment, synthetic, or lab-created, jewelry is perfect for you.
Whichever your preference is, have fun with your purchases. Accessorize well, display your personality, and remember that you can never have too much jewelry or too many shoes.