You’ve probably heard about lab-grown diamonds… but what about created emeralds, sapphires and other gemstones?

You’ve probably heard about lab-grown diamonds… but what about created emeralds, sapphires and other gemstones?

Match is more than proud to partner with only designer jewellery brands using lab-grown diamonds, sapphires, emeralds and other sustainable precious stones.

But what about all those other stones being lab-grown in luxury jewellery? If you follow fine jewellery and/or environmentally responsible-friendly headlines, you’ve no doubt heard of lab-grown diamonds – but many still may not be aware that ALL gemstones used in luxury/designer jewellery can now be lab-grown!

In recent years, the jewellery industry in the UK has witnessed a growing trend of lab-grown gems, including sapphires and emeralds.

Diamonds have been treasured for their beauty for centuries, and now, lab-grown versions of these precious stones offer an alternative that is priced fairly and is far more sustainable.

But what exactly are lab-grown sapphires and emeralds, and how do they compare to their mined stone counterparts?

Let's explore this topic in more detail.

Lab-grown sapphires and emeralds are created in a controlled environment using advanced technology. These gems are made using the same basic materials as underground gems, but they are grown under conditions that mimic the natural processes that occur deep within the earth.

To create lab-grown sapphires, a small piece of sapphire rock is placed in a chamber with a solution of chemicals and heat. Over time, the chemicals form a crystal structure around the original piece of sapphire, creating a larger, identical gemstone.

The process of creating lab-grown emeralds is slightly different. Instead of using a piece of emerald rock, a small number of raw materials such as beryl, chromium, and vanadium are placed in a chamber with a solution of chemicals and heat. Over time, the chemicals form into a crystal structure around the raw materials, creating a larger, identical emerald.

The result of these processes is a lab-grown sapphire or emerald that is 100% identical to a mined gemstone – and with a 0% requirement to ever mine for stones again.

Even experienced gemmologists may struggle to tell the difference between a lab-grown and mined gemstone. And why is that? Well, because there is nothing to tell apart!

One of the biggest advantages of lab-grown sapphires and emeralds is that they are fairly priced relative to the inflated pricing of jewellery in the mined stones sphere. Mined sapphires and emeralds jewellery can be extremely expensive, which makes them unaffordable for many consumers.

Lab-grown gems, on the other hand, can be produced in large quantities and sold at a fraction of the cost of natural gems.

In addition to being priced fairly, lab-grown gems are also more sustainable. Mining for natural gems can have a devastating impact on the environment, and the working conditions for miners can be dangerous. The jewellery industry has undergone a significant shift in recent years, with more and more customers opting for lab-grown diamonds and other gemstones.

In this blog, we will explore the reasons behind this trend and provide some statistics to support the growing popularity of lab-grown jewellery.

What is lab-grown jewellery?

Lab-grown jewellery, also known as cultured jewellery, refers to gems and diamonds that are created in a laboratory environment rather than being mined from the earth. These gems are created using advanced technologies that mimic the natural processes that occur over millions of years deep within the earth's crust. As a result, lab-grown diamonds and other gems are chemically, physically, and optically identical to their mined counterparts.

Why are more customers choosing lab-grown jewellery?

There are several reasons why lab-grown jewellery has become increasingly popular in recent years. Here are some of the most significant factors!

Ethical and Environmental Concerns 

The mining of diamonds and other gems has long been associated with human rights violations, environmental destruction, and even armed conflict. In contrast, lab-grown diamonds and gems are created in a controlled environment with significantly fewer environmental impacts and zero ethical concerns. As more and more consumers become aware of the negative impacts of mining, they are opting for lab-grown options as a more sustainable and ethical choice.

Lower Cost

Lab-grown diamonds and other gems are typically priced more fairly than their mined counterparts. This is because production is more efficient and less expensive than mining, which involves costly equipment and labour-intensive processes. As a result, lab-grown jewellery offers consumers a realistically priced option for high-quality, beautiful gems without compromising a single bit on quality or authenticity!

Consistency and Quality

Because lab-grown gems are created in a controlled environment, their quality and consistency are often higher than that of mined gems.

Lab-grown diamonds are prized for their uniformity, as they are less likely to have inclusions and other imperfections common in mined diamonds. As a result, lab-grown jewellery offers consumers a more reliable and consistent option for high-quality, beautiful gems.

Statistics on the Growth of Lab-Grown Jewellery

Now that we've explored some of the reasons behind the growing popularity of lab-grown jewellery, let's take a closer look at some of the statistics that support this trend...

Market Size

According to a report by Mordor Intelligence, the global lab-grown diamond market size was valued at £16.2 billion in 2020 and is expected to reach £27.6 billion by 2026, growing at a CAGR of 9.4% during the forecast period.

Sales Growth

The sales of lab-grown diamonds have grown significantly in recent years. According to a report by Bain & Company, the sales of lab-grown diamonds grew by 15% to 20% in 2019, while the sales of mined diamonds fell by 1% to 2%.

Consumer Preferences

According to a survey by MVI Research in 2018, 70% of millennials surveyed said they'd consider a lab-grown diamond for an engagement ring stone.

Retailer Adoption

Major mined diamond retailers and jewellery brands have seen the difference and disruption taking place with the growth of lab-grown jewellery in the market, and some of the of the biggest names have even begun to launch their own lines of lab-grown jewellery (after previously only insulting lab-grown as inferior).

So where are we today with lab-grown stones… and where are we headed?

The emergence of lab-grown stones such as diamonds, emeralds, sapphires, black onyx and more has transformed the jewellery industry, providing consumers with an alternative to mined stones. These lab-grown gemstones are not only sustainable and eco-friendly, but they are also considerably less expensive than their mined counterparts. With technological advancements and production costs decreasing, lab-grown stones will probably become even more accessible and favoured in the future – and for the hope of the planet, possibly even totally supplant mined gemstones in jewellery!

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