16. September 2016 05:50 /
The reputation is at stake here. Are lab-grown gemstones as good as or better than their natural counterparts? There are hundreds of patents awaiting approval on these gemstones, and more cases of infringement waiting to be absolved of their artificial techniques. However, knowledge is power, and that is why we thought you should know how well lab-grown gemstones are actually doing in the real market.
1. Market demands rule the trends:
Lab-grown gemstones are manufactured in fraction of time, with similar properties. A natural process that took millions of years to form a few carats of pure crystals, can now be manufactured in less than a day at much lesser cost of operation. However, there are hundreds of factors that the mineralogists take in consideration while manufacturing the gemstones in the lab—texture, clarity, lustre, refractive index and specific gravity.
In order to produce stones with exact properties, it takes high price machines and indexing metres.
2. Pricing is much less:
Artificial gemstones produced in the lab are cheaper and more durable, subjected to heat treatments. They can be set into different shapes and cuts, preferred by the client. Compared to the natural gemstones, flawed artificial gemstones are easily replaced with quality ones, without resulting in additional overhead. Lab-created gemstones are thus way cheaper carat-wise than their natural counterparts.
3. The artificial tag is no longer a blemish:
Gone are the days when artificial gemstones were passed off as imitation crystals. Today, with the limited availability of ruby gemstones, garnet beads, diamonds and other precious gemstones, artificial gems are actually ruling the roost, catering to the jewellery, fashion and ceramic industry.
4. Superior properties in electronics:
Quartz, beryls, diamonds and corals are some of the precious gemstones that are used extensively in different industries. For instance, diamond is a superior abrasive and drilling compound. Owing to its high cost and limited availability, artificial diamonds are manufactured to be supplied to abrasive industry. Artificial quartz is manufactured for the electronics and IP chip industry. Smart phone technology we experience today can be attributed to the growing artificial quartz segment.
Lab-created gemstones come with a high degree of perfection as they are produced in controlled conditions. Even with minor flaws, they very well pass off as high-quality gemstones. Average gemstones are reused or replaced in glass industry contributing to a significant revenue generation.
The intensity of colour, lattice structure, saturation of tinge and lustre are all governed by the chemical composition used in the manufacturing.
What the future holds for artificial gemstones?
Today, 97% of the industry-grade gemstones are sourced from labs! Mined diamond and quartz are hardly used in the electronic industry now. Owing to easy availability of raw materials and technology upgrades, lab-grown gemstone makers are selling million of carats per year, mostly catering to the market in USA, China and Africa. Major consumers of the artificial gems are chip makers, stone cutter, oil and natural gas exploration agencies and drilling agencies.
With significant improvement in quality, artificial gemstones are yet to make a cut as jewellery-grade gemstones, lagging behind natural gems in every way.
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