Natural vs Genuine vs Lab-Created Gemstones: Do You Know the Difference?

Jewelry always is one of the most cheerful gifts for people who you love, including necklaces, earrings, rings other unique forms crafted by master craftsman using precious gemstones.

Do you know some gemstones we wear in daily life have been created by humans? But there is no need to worry about it, man-made gemstones do not mean it is low equality. It is interesting that they are usually higher quality than those found in nature, but with cheaper prices.

Firstly, let’s have a look at the types of gemstones. There are six main types of gemstones:

  • Natural Gemstone
  • Genuine Gemstone
  • Enhanced or Treated Gemstone
  • Lab-Grown, Created, Synthetic, Artificial or Man-Made Gemstone
  • Simulated Gemstone
  • Brand Name Gemstone

一、What are natural gemstones?

Natural gemstones are formed by nature without human intervention and valued for their beauty, durability and rarity.

1、Types of natural gemstones

Most natural gemstones are forms of mineral crystals, including, but far from limited to:

  • Diamond
  • Ruby
  • Emerald
  • Sapphire
  • Amethyst
  • Topaz

There are also four categories of organic gemstones, which are the following:

  • Pearl
  • Coral
  • Jet
  • Amber

2、Where are gemstones found in nature?

With over two hundred known varieties of natural gemstones, gems can be found in nature on every continent in the world. Many gemstones are located deep underground and uncovered through commercial mining operations.  Other varieties are found near volcanoes, craters, hot springs or fault lines.

If you have ever wanted to go hunting for your own gemstones, you might be closer than you think. You can find gemstone mines open to the public in many states including New Mexico, North Carolina, Arkansas and California.

3、How do gemstones form in nature?

Thousands or even millions of years ago, nature created the vast majority of natural gems we can now find through one of three processes.

  • Metamorphicgemstones, including tanzanite, garnet, ruby, sapphire, emerald and spinel, are created when extreme pressure and heat deep below the surface of the earth forces existing rocks to undergo changes to their chemical structure and properties.
  • Igneousgemstones, such as tourmaline, aquamarine, topaz and kunzite, form by minerals recrystallizing inside of small spaces created by cooling magma. Over time, secondary deposits can form inside of igneous rock when additional chemicals are transported into the crevices by extremely hot water. Examples of gemstones formed through this hydrothermal process include amethyst, larimar and fire opal.
  • Sedimentarygemstones, including jet, aragonite and calcite, are formed when fragments of eroded rock, shell, minerals or other materials become cemented together

二、What is genuine gemstone?

A genuine gemstone is a natural occurring gemstone that is treated in some way or other. Treatment mainly to enhance its cut or appearance to allow the gemstone to shine in its brilliance. Some other term that is used to describe these gemstones are “enhanced” or “treated” stones.

三、What is lab-grown gemstone?

Lab created is a broad category that includes all man-made or synthetic gemstones, whether they have a natural counterpart or not.

Types of lab created gemstones

Note: These are definitions. The industry may have slightly different definitions for these terms. Keep in mind that these terms often overlap in their definitions.

  • Synthetic gems - manufactured gemstones that contain the exact chemical composition and atomic structure as its natural counterpart. A synthetic diamond is a real diamond. The only difference is it is created in a lab, and thus far more affordable.
  • Man made -  manufactured materials that do not have natural counterparts. Plastic and Swarovski crystals are examples of manmade gems.
  • Simulant - a "look alike" or imitation that mimics the appearance of another more expensive gemstone. It does not contain the exact chemical composition and atomic structure as the natural gemstone and can be natural or lab created.
    • Natural simulant - a different gemstone with a similar appearance
    • Lab created simulant - a non-gemstone material with a similar appearance

四、What is simulated gemstone?

Simulated gemstones are also called “imitation”, “faux” and “fake” stones. A simulant is intended to “look like” another gemstone, but its composition is not the same.

Simulants aren’t always intended to deceive; these are also called “alternatives” and serve as additional stone options that might be a better fit based on personal preferences. Now, popular Brands are selling these breathtaking simulated diamonds in the form of necklace, earrings and bracelets at the price range of USD$50 to over USD$1,000. *Fun fact: Any type of gemstones can be a simulant.

五、What is brand name gemstone?

The brand is typically registered to provide the naming rights to the business so that to help the consumer identify the brand which usually give the customer the feeling of a higher quality (not always the case). A brand name gemstone is typically priced higher than a non-branded equivalent. Examples of Brand Name Gemstone includes, Swarovski® crystals and Moissanite®, both of which are lab-grown and man-made. Any gemstone can be a Brand Name Gemstone.

六、How can you tell the difference between natural and lab grown gemstones?

You should never rely on only sight ID to reliably identify a gemstone or its origins. With modern technology, even man-made simulant gemstones can appear convincing on the surface level. It becomes even more difficult when you want to determine whether a gemstone is natural or synthetic and might even require a trained expert and a microscope might be required for a definitive result.

The number one question to keep in mind while shopping for a gemstone is “is it believable?” Natural gemstones with top quality color and minimal inclusions are extremely rare and the price should reflect that. If the price is too good to be true, you are most likely looking at a lab made gemstone.

七、what kind of gemstone do you want to choose?

Here are some tips for you, you can choose depends on your actual demand.

If you want to buy jewellery crafted with a real and authentic stone for its value and natural properties, genuine should be your choice.

If you have environmental concerns, lab-created stones are created in a controlled setting with few resources versus procured through an extensive mining process, which is typically followed by importation and other activities that result in a much larger carbon footprint.

If you prefer a more even colour and don’t like visible flaws, go with lab-created stones as their controlled creations usually result in a visibly more “perfect” appearance.

If you’re frugal and love the thrill of saving money, a lab-created stone could be a better choice as they typically cost less. On that note, keep reading for some more specific