The only difference between a lab-created gemstone and a genuine gemstone mined from the Earth, is just that - one is man-made and one is not! Physically, chemically and optically, lab-created gemstones are identical to those found deep in the Earth.
So why not just use natural gemstones?
The reason that we opt for them is because, although not 100% environmentally friendly, they are arguably more sustainable and ethical than mines found around the world which are extremely energy taxing and often exploit local communities for economical gain.
Lab-created gemstones have fewer inclusions given the controlled process of their creation vs those found naturally. Some may say this gives them less 'character', however when weighing up the environmental and ethical repercussions and given that to the naked eye, the stones would almost be indistinguishable in our jewellery, we believe man-made are the way forward until a more sustainable solution can be achieved.
What are the benefits?
This allows us to bring you vibrant gemstones with a smaller carbon footprint for a lower cost and we often opt for beautifully coloured Sapphires and Rubies which are part of the Corundum family meaning they are extremely hard minerals measuring at 9.0 on the Mohs Scale (second to Diamonds at 10).
This extreme durability allows them to withstand the process of being cast in place where we pour molten metal around the gem giving our characteristic setting of the gem giving the impression of having grown in the jewellery itself!
So are Lab-Created Gemstones Environmentally Friendly?
Lab-created Gems are less taxing on our environment as we do not interfere with natural resources by digging new mines and the labs used to create the gems use far less energy and resources vs mining and create less pollutants.
This does mean that as much as we would love them to be, they are not 100% environmentally friendly and have their own emissions that we must account for. In an effort to combat this, we work with exclusively recycled metals (furthering our reluctance to dig into the Earth even more), we use recyclable packaging and work with schemes that are able to work to offset the carbon footprint of our products and packaging by planting trees for every order purchased via Shop.App.
How are People Able to Grow Gemstones?
This technology has been around for decades and is improving all the time, to the point at which we may see what were once considered valuable rare gems become every day materials (imagine a diamond phone screen - that would be pretty hard to scratch!)
There are two methods to growing gems artificially:
- HPHT (High Pressure High Temperature) - A way if replicating the natural process taking the minerals and elements needed for the gem creation and subjecting them to an artificial version of the environment found deep within the Earth of extremely high temperatures and pressure.
- CVD (Chemical Vapor Deposition) - This takes a seed, or tiny fraction, of a gemstones and grows the gem layer by layer using the required minerals and elements.
Would we ever use natural gems?
We never say never and we would happily take a piece of old jewellery that perhaps needs some new life and take the stones to be upcycled into a new piece for someone to cherish. Our stance is that if we ever had the opportunity to use a natural gem, we would rather use what is already above the ground than dig further into the Earth spending more energy and causing more environmental damage.
We hope that this has shed some light on what we mean by Lab-Created gems when we refer to them and you understand our choices when it comes to using them instead of natural stones in the majority of our pieces!