Lab Grown Sapphires : The Handy Guide

Among all scintillating and highly-prized gemstones, sapphires have always been at the top of the demand chart because of their timeless allure, skyrocketing value, and heaps of astrological benefits they offer. It sounds harsh but the truth is not everyone can afford the original neelam stone as some of the finest real blue sapphires can break the banks easily.

Though sapphires mines, be it natural yellow sapphires or blue sapphires,  are spread across the world, the swiftly increasing global demand of sapphires has exceeded the supply. Additionally, the increasing price along with amping up demand are the two principles behind gems enthusiasts’ inability to incur their favorite gem. Well, the good news is there is an alternative to exorbitant sapphires which is easy to rope in – lab-grown sapphires. In layman’s language, lab-grown sapphires are artificial sapphires synthesized in state-of-the-art laboratories with the right combination of minerals and particular physical and chemical conditions.

Do you wish to know more about lab-grown sapphires? If yes, you have bumped into the right place. In this blog post, we have curated all the crucial information you ever wanted to know about lab grown sapphires. Once you are done reading this post, your knowledge of lab-grown sapphires will be a notch higher than the most.

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What Are Lab Grown Sapphires?

Lab-created gemstones have become quite prevalent in the local and global markets, kudos to the success of lab-created diamonds gaining popularity daily. When shopping for engagement rings or other jewelry, customers can choose synthetic gemstones, such as lab-created sapphires. It’s important to note that a lab-created sapphire is a genuine sapphire. The term “synthetic sapphire” merely indicates that the gemstone was manufactured in a laboratory rather than formed naturally within the Earth.

Modern technology allows us to replicate the conditions required to produce sapphires. Creating a white sapphire in a lab is akin to following a recipe: with the right ingredients and conditions, a synthetic sapphire can be produced. This process involves specific laboratory conditions, including high temperature and pressure, as well as the appropriate minerals. Once formed, these lab-created sapphires can be cut and polished just like their natural counterparts, transforming them into stunning gemstones.

The creation of blue sapphires in laboratories is not a recent development. The first successful synthetic sapphire was produced in the mid-1900s. Since then, scientists have continuously refined and perfected the processes to optimize the use of time and materials, ensuring the highest quality synthetic sapphires.

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How are Lab-Grown Sapphires Made?

Gemstone synthesis has come a long way, offering a cost-effective and controlled alternative to mining natural crystals. In the confines of a laboratory, skilled artisans can orchestrate the intricate dance of minerals, subjecting them to meticulously calibrated chemical and physical conditions. This refined process not only accelerates gemstone formation but also allows for the creation of rare and exotic varieties that nature may seldom yield.

Melt Processes

Among the myriad techniques employed, the humble flame fusion method stands as a pioneering approach. Here, aluminum oxide powder, the principal constituent of corundum, is melted using a simple yet elegant flame. The molten drops gracefully assume the form of elongated teardrops, aptly referred to as “boules.” By introducing strategic mineral additives, this ancient method can birth a kaleidoscope of colored pink sapphires variations, and with the inclusion of chromium, even the regal ruby can be synthesized.

For those seeking a more sophisticated approach, the Czochralski process harnesses the power of radio waves to melt the aluminum oxide. In a delicate dance, a seed crystal is dipped into the molten mixture and slowly rotated and withdrawn, resulting in a pristine column of synthetic sapphire. While this technique commands a higher price tag, its efficiency is undeniable, capable of yielding up to 4 inches of crystal per hour.

Solution Processes

Nature, too, has inspired the art of gemstone synthesis, as evidenced by the hydrothermal synthesis method. This solution process emulates the very conditions that nurture natural crystals, subjecting the mineral solution to intense heat and pressure akin to a high-tech “pressure cooker.” As the solution ascends, purple sapphires form around a seed crystal, mimicking the patient processes that unfold deep within the Earth’s crust.

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Are Lab-Grown Sapphires Really Sapphires?

From a chemical and physical standpoint, natural and lab-grown sapphires are virtually identical. Both types of sapphires are made of the same materials and share the same atomic structure and crystal habit. Gemological laboratories categorize both lab-grown and natural sapphires as forms of corundum.

As a buyer, however, you might want to distinguish between lab-grown and natural sapphires. While both can be equally stunning, it’s crucial to know exactly what you’re purchasing. If a sapphire is labeled as synthetic, you have the information needed to make an informed decision. Conversely, if a sapphire is advertised as natural, it’s important to consider the possibility of misrepresentation or errors in identification. Knowing these distinctions can help you make the best choice when buying a sapphire.

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Why You Should Consider Lab Grown Sapphires

Lab-grown sapphires offer a compelling alternative to their natural counterparts, boasting an array of advantages that are hard to ignore. While both varieties share an identical chemical composition and crystal structure, their origins set them apart, each catering to distinct preferences and priorities.

Nature’s artistry in creating sapphires is undeniably captivating, yet the process of cultivating these gemstones in a controlled laboratory environment allows for a level of consistency and ethical assurance that many find appealing. By harnessing cutting-edge technology, lab-grown sapphires can be produced with precision, ensuring uniform quality and reducing the environmental impact associated with mining operations.

For those seeking a sustainable and socially responsible choice, lab-grown sapphires present an alluring option. The controlled environment eliminates concerns over unethical labor practices or the ecological ramifications of mining, offering peace of mind to conscientious consumers.

Furthermore, the ability to tailor the growth process allows for a broader range of hues and clarity levels, enabling consumers to find the perfect gemstone to suit their individual preferences. Whether you desire a vibrant blue reminiscent of the deep ocean or a captivating shade of yellow that evokes the warmth of the sun, lab-grown sapphires offer a diverse palette to choose from.

Ultimately, the decision between natural and lab-grown sapphires comes down to personal values and priorities. While natural sapphires hold an undeniable allure rooted in their organic formation, lab-grown alternatives provide a transparent and ethical choice that aligns with modern sensibilities, without compromising on the gemstone’s inherent beauty and durability.

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Written By pmkkgems

Muskan Sain is a well-versed gemstone expert with over 8 years of experience in the field. She has received extensive training from a renowned gemological institute, which has equipped her with comprehensive knowledge and expertise in the identification, grading, and valuation of gemstones.


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