We tend to have negative associations with the words ‘synthetic gem’. We associate ‘synthetic’ with ‘fake’ or ‘artificial’. So, when we hear of synthetic gems, it’s tempting dismiss them as cheap pieces of trickery.
But did you know that synthetic gems are not fakes? That synthetic gems are virtually identical to natural gems? They have the same chemical makeup, structure, and optical and physical properties as natural gems. The difference is that a natural gem forms in the earth’s crust whereas a synthetic gem is formed in the lab in conditions that mimic the natural process.
The first benefit of synthetic gems is cost. With natural gems, the rarer the gemstone, the higher the price. A large, high quality gem can be very expensive. As synthetic gems are formed in the lab, rarity is not such an issue – but you still have a ‘real’ gem.
Synthetic gems are not dirt cheap though. Remember, they are pretty much identical to natural gems. Synthetic gems vary in price depending on the process used to grow them. Some processes are more complex and costly than others.
A synthetic gem could be a good choice if you would like a gemstone with few flaws. Some gemstones, such as sapphire, ruby and emerald, have many inclusions (flaws) in their natural form. As synthetic gemstones are formed in the lab, it’s easier to control the process. This means fewer inclusions.
Many people worry about whether their gemstone is an ethical purchase. There are many ways to ensure your gemstone is ethical, but if you’re concerned about environmental impact or human rights issues, buying a synthetic gemstone is a very easy and straightforward way to put your mind at rest.
However, you may feel a sentimental pull towards a gemstone that has lain beneath the earth’s surface for millions of years. Perhaps you like the fact that your gemstone has inclusions – after all our flaws can make us unique!
So, what do you think? Would you consider buying a synthetic gem? Let us know in the comments below!