An Eco-Friendly Choice: Lab-Grown Gemstones October 02 2014

Here at Aide-Mémoire Jewelry, we meet a lot of new clients who are perfect examples of what makes the Pacific Northwest so special: they value the environment, and love living in an area where the ocean meets the mountains meets the forest meets the city. They are nature-lovers through and through! This is what makes us the perfect team.

Image courtesy Andie Powers. Photo by Jaquilyn Shumate Photography

Most couples who value nature and the environment want to wear a piece of nature: a natural stone. The term “lab-grown” makes them feel uncomfortable and as if they are choosing something unnatural. However, one of the best things that eco-friends can do for the environment is invest in a lab-grown, synthetic or cultured stone.  

Does that mean that a lab-grown gemstone is not a real gemstone? No! The only thing that differentiates a lab-grown stone from a mined gemstone is its point of origin. Here are some benefits to a synthetic or cultured stone:

• They are REAL gemstones in every sense: chemically, physically, atomically and optically.  
• Lab-grown gemstones have a significantly lower impact on the environment.
• They are typically created by skilled laborers that receive fair wages and benefits, unlike most foreign mining practices.
• Lab-grown diamonds are rated with the same rating system as mined diamonds--the Four C’s--which are Clarity, Cut, Color and Carat Weight, and are available in different colors. 
• The primary lab-grown stones that Aide-mémoire offers are lab-grown diamonds (by request) and Chatham created gemstones (an option for many of our engagement rings).


Another type of gemstone is a simulant (not to be confused with a synthetic gemstone). Some common simulants are diamond simulants--stones that resemble diamonds--such as cubic zirconia, Moissanite, white sapphire, and lead crystal. These stones are usually much less expensive than mined or synthetic diamonds.

  

5mm Moissanite Rustic Cushion Cut Engagement Ring
5mm Moissanite Rustic Cushion Cut Engagement Ring. Choose from Moissanite, Forever Brilliant Moissanite, or a Chatham Sapphire.

Moissanite is another type of gemstone to consider if you want to minimize your eco-footprint--and one of our favorites! This is a jewel created from silicon carbide (SiC), based on naturally-occuring Moissanite (very rare--and originally found in meteorite particles). These are very hard and durable gemstones, second only to diamonds, but are much more brilliant!  

If you’ve really got your heart set on a non-synthetic or non-cultured stone, a recycled diamond may be another option for you. These are diamonds that are naturally occurring in nature and were previously set in jewelry which has since been removed, re-polished, then sold as loose diamonds. 

Questions about lab-grown or synthetic gemstones? Send us an email! We'd be happy to talk you through your options.