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lab created sapphire

What is a Lab-Created Sapphire?

In the world of precious gems, sapphire is one of the most popular and well-loved stones. Its stunning, rainbow array of colors has made it a favorite choice for engagement rings and other fine jewelry, and its durability makes it a wise investment.

However, not all sapphires are created equal. In recent years, lab-created sapphires have become increasingly popular. Many consumers are unsure of the differences between natural and lab-grown stones.

This article will explore the history and the pros & cons of lab-created sapphire to help you make an informed decision when shopping for this beautiful gem.

What Is Sapphire?

Sapphires are one of the most popular gemstones and for a good reason. Although blue is the most well known color, they come in almost every color of the rainbow. Their colors are eye-catching and classic, and they are durable enough to stand up to everyday wear. Sapphires are part of the corundum family of minerals, which also include rubies.

The main difference between rubies and sapphires is their color. Rubies are red due to the presence of chromium, while sapphires can be any color except red, with blue being the most famous hue.

Natural sapphires can be found worldwide, but Sri Lanka, Madagascar, and Australia are major sources of high-quality stones. 

In recent years, lab-created sapphires have become increasingly popular. These stones have the same chemical composition as natural sapphires but are grown in a controlled environment. As a result, they are more affordable than natural stones and are available in a wide range of colors.

lab created sapphire vs natural sapphire

What Is a Lab-Created ​Sapphire?

The history of lab-created sapphires dates back to the 18th century, when attempts began at reproducing a corundum-based gem. In 1737, microscopic crystals of aluminum oxide were produced synthetically. In 1877, chemist Edmond Fremy discovered how they form into beautiful stones with stunning colors, which we now call “synthetic” or “lab-created.” The production really took off after WWII because, during this period, furnaces were using up all kinds of resources such as alumina from furnace electrodes; an important ingredient needed for making these gems!

This led to advances in techniques for creating large crystals with few imperfections. And while some might think this takes away from the beauty or value of sapphires, lab-created stones actually offer several advantages over their natural counterparts.

For starters, they are more affordable and readily available in a wider range of colors and sizes. They also tend to be more consistent in quality and clarity, making them ideal for use in jewelry. So whether you’re looking for a classic blue stone or something more unique, a lab-created sapphire is a great choice. Check out this stunning diamond and lab-grown pink sapphire ring from our collection!

Are Lab-Grown Sapphires Really Sapphire Gems?

To answer this question, it’s important to understand how sapphires are formed. Sapphires are a type of corundum, which is a mineral made up of aluminum oxide. Trace elements like iron, titanium, and chromium give sapphires their characteristic color. Natural sapphires are formed over millions of years deep within the Earth’s crust, where they undergo intense heat and pressure.

Lab-grown sapphires, on the other hand, are created using a process known as hydrothermal synthesis. In this process, aluminum oxide and other chemicals are heated in water until they form crystals. While lab-grown sapphires may have the same chemical composition as natural sapphires, they lack the intense heat and pressure that gives natural sapphires their unique properties.

So, while lab-grown sapphires may look similar to natural sapphires, they are not technically sapphire gems. 

How Are Lab-Grown Sapphires Made?

The main benefits of laboratory synthesis of gems are time and money savings. In a lab, manufacturers can influence and even speed up chemical and physical processes, as well as mix components that are uncommon in nature. 

Flame fusion and hydrothermal synthesis are the two most common methods to create corundum synthetically

Flame Fusion 

Flame fusion, or the Verneuil process, is the oldest and most inexpensive melt process. The flame melts aluminum oxide powder, forming long teardrop-shaped boules as a result. Incorporating other minerals into aluminum oxide creates colored varieties of sapphire, such as blue sapphire or pink sapphire. 

lab created sapphire

Hydrothermal Synthesis 

Hydrothermal synthesis is a process that mimics natural formation, subjecting minerals to intense heat and pressure in what’s called “the cooker.” Sapphires form around seed crystals as they rise through the heated liquid. This method typically produces higher quality gemstones than flame fusion because it more closely resembles conditions under which corundum naturally forms. However, this also takes a longer time commitment from inception until completion – often requiring thousands of hours or months before producers have their desired product at hand!

Consequently, synthetic sapphires and rubies produced via hydrothermal synthesis tend to be more valuable than those created through flame fusion.

lab created sapphire

Did you know that you can also find for affordable price lab-created diamond and lab-created emerald?

Color and Varieties of Lab-Created Sapphire

Parti-Sapphire

Parti sapphires are a type of sapphire that shows two colors. The name “Parti” comes from the French word for “dual” or “multi,” and it refers to the fact that these sapphires have more than one color.

Parti sapphires are caused by zoning, which occurs when trace elements responsible for the coloring of the stone change during the stone’s formation, resulting in an uneven distribution of color. Pure, single-colored sapphires come from Australia and are typically blue with yellow undertones. Parti sapphires are practically impossible to produce in the lab, so if you would like a natural one you’ll have to seek the help of a jeweler who can source one for you.

Sapphires are striking and unique gemstones, and a parti sapphire is even more so. If you’re looking for something truly special, consider adding this parti sapphire pendant necklace with diamond halo to your collection.

lab created pink sapphire

Star Sapphire

The Star Sapphire is one of the most distinctive sapphires in the world, which exhibits a star-like effect more commonly known as asterism. The stone’s surface will exhibit a six-rayed star, a sign of authenticity. The stone is riddled with needle-like inclusions; an asterism is a result. Sapphires of this kind are cabochon cut, accentuating the star’s pattern. This star pattern is best enhanced in a cabochon cut sapphire, which emphasizes the design.

While asterism is most commonly seen in Star Sapphires, it can also be found in other gemstones such as rubies and quartz. So, next time you’re admiring a beautiful piece of jewelry, keep an eye out for this stunning optical effect.

lab created blue sapphire ring

Padparadscha

Padparadscha is a stone that appears to turn from ruby to yellow sapphire gradually. It has an attractive hue of orange and pink that looks like a lotus blossom. The Sanskrit word padmaraga, which means lotus, refers to this stone.

The variety of corundum as sapphire is so wide that there are times when gemologists differ in classifying a gem, either as Padparadscha or pink sapphire.

Usually, a straightforward pink stone with little to no hint of orange are easily classified as pink sapphire. On the other hand, Padparadscha colors range from soft salmon with a hint of orange to red-orange. These colors are associated with sunrise and sunset.

Even though some people might mistake Padparadschas for being pink sapphires, these two gemstones differ in value. A good quality Padparadscha can be more expensive than an excellent quality pink sapphire. Because of this, the Padparadscha color is sometimes referred to as sunrise and sunset color.

The most expensive and desired color for a Padparadscha is an equal orange and pink hue balance. This color is not often found in nature and is very rare. Most commonly, stones classified as Padparadscha will have more pink than orange or vice versa.

Our sapphire collection features this stunning padparadscha sapphire and diamond pendant that you don’t want to miss!

what is a lab created sapphire

White Sapphire

Synthetic white sapphire is among the most popular substitutes for diamonds because of its close resemblance and durability. However, natural white sapphires are quite rare.

Most sapphires get their color from trace elements, but white sapphires have no trace elements, making them incredibly pure. This purity is what makes white sapphires so difficult to find in nature. Despite their rarity, natural white sapphires cost less than colored sapphires.

This is likely because they lack the unique hue that makes colored sapphires desired. Nevertheless, white sapphires make beautiful and unique engagement rings, offering an affordable alternative to diamonds.

lab created white sapphire engagement rings

What Color Of Sapphire Is The Most Expensive?

While there are many beautiful gemstones in the world, few can match the elegance of a sapphire. Of all the different varieties of sapphire, the pink-orange Padparadscha is the rarest and most expensive.

This is followed by the traditional violet-blue sapphire, which is also quite rare in nature. Both colors are highly sought after by jewelers and collectors, and their rarity results in a high value.

Synthetic white sapphire is much more common, but it does not have the same beauty or value as its natural counterparts. Sapphire is a perfect choice whether you are looking for a unique piece of jewelry or a valuable investment.

lab created sapphire vs real

What Is The Best Cut For A Sapphire?

The best cut for a sapphire depends on what you’re looking for in a gemstone. An emerald cut is a way to go if you want a deep color. If you’re looking for a more even, symmetrical appearance, an oval or cushion cut may be a better option.

However, lab-grown sapphires can be cut into any shape you desire, which ultimately comes down to personal preference. Just be sure to look for the evenness of facets when evaluating the quality of the cut – native cutting can result in an uneven, lopsided appearance that takes away from the beauty of the stone.

lab created sapphire

What is the Difference Between Lab-Created Sapphire And Natural Sapphire?

Sapphires are one of the most popular gemstones on the market, prized for their stunning blue color and durability. Many jewelers find it difficult to tell the two types of sapphires apart without magnification. Although natural sapphires are often seen as the more valuable option, lab-created sapphires can be just as beautiful.

One of the main reasons for this confusion is that both natural and lab-created sapphires have an identical chemical composition (Al2O3). As a result, they share many of the same optical and physical properties. However, some subtle differences between the two types of sapphires can be seen under close examination.

For instance, lab-created sapphires typically have fewer inclusions than their natural counterparts. This is because they are grown in a controlled environment where temperatures can be closely monitored. In contrast, natural sapphires form in the wild, where they are exposed to a wide range of temperatures. As a result, they often contain more impurities.

Although these differences may seem minor, they can greatly impact the sapphire’s value. In general, lab-created sapphires are less valuable than natural sapphires. However, this is not always the case. In some instances, lab-created sapphires can be more valuable than natural sapphires, depending on the stone’s quality.

What Is The Difference In Hardness?

Hardness measures how difficult it is to scratch or chop an object. The harder an object is, the more resistant it is to scratching and indenting. In general, harder materials are also more durable than softer materials. For example, a diamond is much harder than a piece of chalk, so a diamond will last much longer without being scratched or chipped. You should also learn some tips on how to maintain and take care of your fine jewelry.

Regarding sapphires, hardness is an important factor in determining quality. Sapphires are graded on a scale from 1 to 10, with ten being the hardest. A higher grade means the sapphire is more resistant to scratching and wear-and-tear. As a result, lab-created sapphires usually have a higher grade than natural sapphires. This makes them more durable and long-lasting.

So, when you’re shopping for a sapphire, be sure to ask about the hardness rating. A higher rating means you’ll get a tougher and more durable stone.

What Is The Difference In Color?

While it is possible to create synthetic sapphires in a laboratory, it is difficult to replicate the precise color composition of natural stones. As a result, lab-grown sapphires tend to be less vibrant than their natural counterparts. On the upside, lab-grown sapphires often have a more even color distribution than natural stones, which can display uneven patches of color. 

In addition, because they are created in a controlled environment, lab-grown sapphires can be produced in a wider range of colors than natural stones. So whether you’re looking for a traditional blue sapphire or something more unusual, you’re likely to find it among lab-grown stones.

Check out our recent sapphire collection that features both natural and lab-created sapphires!

What Is The Difference In Clarity?

The number of flaws or inclusions present in a stone is referred to as its clarity. The less flawed the stone, the more appealing it becomes. The GIA clarity scale, the same one used to grade diamonds, is used to evaluate gemstone qualities. Learn how to rate diamonds and gemstones with the 4Cs.

Clarity, on the other hand, is much more important in the case of sapphires than it is with diamonds. Sapphires are more likely to have flaws than not because they are formed in a high-mineral environment and under severe conditions.

Natural sapphires, despite their many benefits, are not graded on the same scale as laboratory-grown diamonds.

On the other hand, lab-created sapphires are always “eye clean.” You can be sure every lab-created sapphire is given royal treatment during its creation, resulting in a virtually flawless stone.

What Is The Difference In Sparkle?

When we look for gemstones that reflect or disperse the light well, we tend to look for stones that are light in color. However, this is not always the case with sapphires. Sapphires are, by nature, a stone with color. Generally, the more saturated the color, the lower its dispersal and refraction of light. This means that a medium-tone blue sapphire will have a low light dispersal.

Lab-created sapphires can disperse and reflect light better than their natural counterparts. The RI of natural sapphire is 0.018. The RI of diamonds, on the other hand, is 2.4175. This difference in RI means that sapphires will not refract light as well as diamonds. However, lab-created sapphires have a much higher fire due to the lack of intrusions in the stone.

Why Choose a Lab-Created Sapphire?

Suppose you’re considering a lab-grown sapphire for your next piece of jewelry. In that case, you may be wondering what sets it apart from other gemstones. Here are just a few reasons to choose lab-created sapphires:

  • They are chemically identical to natural sapphires, meaning they have the same hardness, density, and refractive index.
  • They are created in a laboratory setting, so they don’t come with the same ethical concerns as natural diamonds or other mined gemstones.
  • They can be created in various colors, including pink, purple, green, and yellow. So whether you’re looking for a traditional blue sapphire or something more unique, you will find it!
  • They are often less expensive than natural sapphires, making them a great option if you’re on a budget.

With all these benefits, it’s no wonder that lab-grown sapphires are becoming increasingly popular as an alternative to natural gemstones. So if you’re in the market for a new piece of jewelry, be sure to keep this option in mind!

In Conclusion

There are pros and cons to both natural and lab-created sapphires. Natural sapphires are more expensive and difficult to find, but they are also more unique and have a higher value. Lab-created sapphires are less expensive and more readily available, but they may not have the same sentimental value. Ultimately, the decision of which type of sapphire to buy is a personal one.

Suppose you’re looking for a unique piece of jewelry with a high monetary value. In that case, a natural sapphire is a way to go. But if you’re looking for a beautiful piece of jewelry that you can enjoy wearing, a lab-created sapphire may be a perfect choice. That’s why at Bling Advisor we offer both options and hand-pick only best pieces for you to call yours!

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