What are the differences between “lab-grown gem” and “simulated gem”?



Lab-grown gemstone

“Laboratory-grown gemstone” which has the same chemical component and optical response as natural gemstone


You may have heard of many different terms for this kind of gem before, such as “cultivated gem”, “laboratory gem”, “synthetic gem” and the like. All these terms point to the fact that this lab-grown gemstone is man-made instead of natural. Let us see at what exactly is “lab-grown gemstone”, and whether it is wise to buy one.


There are many ways to create gem. Some of them are cheap, and some are costly.

They mostly involve imitating or even duplicating the growth process of natural gem, then adding in components which are the same as natural gem. However, these all take place in laboratories, but not in the nature.


Some lab-grown gemstone has the same chemical element and optical response as natural gem. For example, lab grown emerald can be real emerald, even though it is not natural.


Depending on the method the lab-grown gemstone is created, some lab-grown gemstone can even contain inclusions or flaws found on natural gems. Therefore, to differentiate lab-grown gemstone from natural gems with naked eyes is extremely difficult.



Simulated gemstone

It is an imitation similar to natural gem only in terms of appearance, but otherwise completely different in nature


Not all “non-natural” gems came from laboratories. Some glassware and inferior mixture would also be used to simulate natural gems. This kind of simulation simply looks like natural gems but are totally different in terms of chemical element and optical response (which means they are not the counterpart of nature gems).

This kind of product only tries to imitate the appearance of natural gems, and thus are referred to as “simulated gem” or “imitation”.


Simulated gem simply serves to “look like” a natural gem, so some detailed gemological analysis is all it takes to reveal its identity.

Simulated gem is imitation and counterfeit.

For example, zircon, which look likes diamond, can be natural, and is often use as the simulation for diamond. Some jewelers are honest about selling imitation, while many may try to hide the imitation’s origin and nature. Sometimes, simulated gems will even be sold under misleading names so consumers will have to be careful.




Buying “lab-grown gemstone”

Many natural gems cannot meet the expectations of their buyers because of factors like inclusions, flaws and dim color affecting their beauty. High quality natural gems do exist, but they are rare and expensive. This is why there are lab-grown gemstones, for they are more economical and equally durable.


If you plan to buy lab-grown gemstone, please visit jewelers with good reputation.

Not all lab-grown gemstone are of the same quality, and high-quality lab-grown gemstones can cost tens of times more than low-quality one.


Before you purchase a lab-grown gemstone, please make sure you are satisfied with its quality and are confident in how its appearance can last.