The age old question about lab-grown diamonds and gemstones is: “Are they real?” People often think that lab-grown stones are less valuable than their naturally formed counterparts. But what are the most important differences between lab-grown and natural stones? And what makes the former the more ethical option?
On the level of chemical composition, lab-grown and natural stones are identical. In other words, precious stones created in a lab and ones mined from the earth differ only in the setting in which they form. And for the eco-conscious consumer, lab-grown gemstones have the advantage of being eco-friendly.
Mined stones are rarer because they form under specific conditions in nature. It’s almost impossible to find a perfect natural gem. That’s because purity level and size are subject to the environment they form in. Inclusions, which are imperfections formed during crystallization or by a person working with a precious stone, can occur at any point during the stone’s development.
Digging or drilling into the earth to access precious minerals has well-documented environmental detriments. Irresponsible mining causes land degradation by eroding soil, potentially causing tunnel collapses, destroying vegetation, and leaking potentially harmful chemicals into the surrounding land and air. One can bypass the side effects with lab-grown stones. That’s where mineral-forming conditions that naturally occur in nature are imitated in a controlled setting. Fewer wasted resources and low risk of environmental pollution make created gems and diamonds the ethical jewellery option.
Precious stones are formed under various geographical conditions. They share two main factors: high pressure and high temperature. These essential conditions are reproduced in a laboratory setting. This is to form a variety of stones without the environmental tax associated with mining. Labs use a fraction of the resources and leave behind less of a footprint.
BIRON® Gems, a Hong Kong-based company creating durable, vibrant lab-grown gemstones, uses their own formula built on a process called hydrothermal growth. This is a popular technique, as it’s a highly successful method for producing synthetic crystals and gems where nutrients dissolve in a high temperature solution and then cool to allow crystallization. One can finetune the precise application of heat, pressure, and minerals to a ‘seed’ crystal. This is to create diamonds and gemstones of varying hues, shades, and sizes. The ability to reliably and consistently produce high-quality, symmetric stones is what gives created stones their friendly price point.
BIRON® Gems offers seven types of created precious stones, in rough and cut form: opal, emerald, alexandrite, ruby, blue sapphire, padparadscha, and diamond. Professional jewellers and designers can use these ethically created gemstones without sacrificing consumers’ expectations towards colour, clarity, or size. BIRON® Gems also has jewellery available for customers. Called “the future of fine jewellery”, their signature BIRON® emerald is near indistinguishable from the Columbian Muzo emerald, prized for its distinct green hue.
BIRON® Gems also have a bespoke jewellery service where the colour, carat, and size of the gem are adjustable to the wearer’s liking. BIRON® Gems’ stones are environmentally-friendly. Plus, they’re bigger and share the same chemical makeup with rare gemstones. Moreover, if desired, their process even allows for the recreation of inclusions. It’s so that the difference between their stones and natural stones is indistinguishable to the naked eye.