What’s the Difference Between Natural, Lab-Grown, & Genuine Gemstones?

There are many words used to describe gemstones: Natural, enhanced, simulated, synthetic, just to name a few. With all these words floating around, it can be difficult to know exactly what they all mean.

If you’re shopping for gemstone jewelry, you might be wondering: What is the difference between all these options, and which one is the best choice for you and your budget?

There are many pros and cons to each kind of gemstone, and the one you choose will depend on your priorities. Read on to discover everything you need to know about the difference between natural, genuine, and lab-grown gemstones. 

What Is a Natural Gemstone?

A natural gemstone is one that is found in nature with little to no influence from humans. After it is mined, it will likely be cut to size and polished, and that is about it. 

Some natural gemstones may be faceted, or cut into a geometric shape with flat sides. Or they may have a rough-cut quality, which has a more raw and natural look to it. This style is perfect for people who prefer more understated jewelry.

If a gemstone is identified as natural, it is real and has not been treated or enhanced in any way. Because high-quality gemstones are rare to find in nature, these gemstones may be more expensive. But a benefit to this is that the jewelry is likely to retain its value over time.

What Is a Genuine Gemstone?

Like the natural gemstone, genuine gemstones are found in nature, and therefore have a higher reputation for being “real.” 

However, the major difference is that genuine gemstones have been altered in small ways to improve the quality of the gemstone. These stones may also be referred to as “enhanced” or “treated.”

Enhancement might include fixing naturally occurring cracks or discoloration, or subjecting the gemstone to other chemical processes. For example, natural sapphire is typically exposed to extreme heat in order to achieve higher clarity and a more consistent blue color.

What Is a Lab-Grown Gemstone?

A lab-grown gemstone is, as you may have guessed, created in a laboratory. This has increasingly become the cheapest option because, unlike natural gemstones, the supply is virtually unlimited. 

You might have also heard them referred to as “synthetic,” “artificial,” or “man-made” gems. They are not to be confused with fake or simulant gemstones, which are stones crafted to imitate a different stone. 

Chemically speaking, lab-grown gemstones are the real deal. They are crafted to be virtually indistinguishable from naturally occurring gems, but are produced far more sustainably in the long term. This is why they are also the best option for those who highly value an ethically sourced piece of jewelry.

However, because supply of lab-grown gemstones is rapidly increasing, you may find that your jewelry declines in value over time. So if preserving your initial investment in the gemstone is an important factor, you might want to consider a different option. 

Gemstone Jewelry in Frederick, MD

Here at Gold Thumb Jewelry, we offer a wide selection in natural, genuine, and lab-grown gemstone jewelry. We can also help you create a custom piece that is as unique as the person wearing it! 

We’re trusted by customers all over the DMV for our high-quality offerings and exceptional customer service. Give us a call today!

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