Is A Lab-Created Emerald A Real Emerald?


A lab-created emerald is a real emerald but not a natural emerald. Synthetic emeralds are some of the most expensive synthetic gems. The energy-intensive methods used to create them in labs require expensive equipment. The process is slow, and the yield of facetable material is low. Nevertheless, a lab-created emerald is not nearly as valuable as a natural emerald. “Synthetic Emerald” by Deidre Woollard is licensed under CC By 2.0. (Cropped to show detail).
A lab-created emerald is a real emerald but not a natural emerald. Synthetic emeralds are some of the most expensive synthetic gems. The methods used to create them in labs require expensive equipment. The process is slow and energy intensive.  The yield of facetable material is low. Nevertheless, a lab-created emerald is not nearly as valuable as a natural emerald. “Synthetic Emerald” by Deidre Woollard is licensed under CC By 2.0. (Cropped to show detail).

Question

I want to get an emerald pendant for a Christmas present. I’ve talked to some jewelers who are trying to push lab-created emerald pieces. I’ve been told synthetic emeralds are just like the genuine stones. They also say synthetics are just as valuable as the natural kind and very difficult to make. To me, “Ain’t nothin’ like the real thing.” Am I wrong?

I’m really confused by this whole lab-created emerald vs. natural emerald pitch. What are the pros and cons of buying lab-created emerald jewelry?

Thanks so much for your help.

Adrianne

Answer

These kinds of questions are often asked about synthetic sapphires and synthetic alexandrites, too.  In brief, a synthetic or lab-created emerald will have the same chemical, physical, and optical properties as a natural emerald. A lab-created emerald is a real emerald but not a natural emerald. However, synthetic emeralds are MUCH less expensive when matched for size and quality against natural emeralds.

A good natural emerald will set you back a pretty penny. As for whether to purchase a lab-created emerald or a natural emerald jewelry piece, you’ll have to set your priorities. Balance how much you want a natural gem of a particular size and quality against your budget. However, I do have one recommendation. Please don’t buy from someone who feeds you a line of baloney. That could be just the beginning of a lot of trouble.

Donald Clark, CSM IMG

Sometimes gems like green cubic zirconia or synthetic spinel triplets are used as emerald imitations or simulants. Even glass pieces can be designed to simulate emeralds. However, the chemical and physical properties of these imitations are not those of emeralds. “Glass Emerald” by Michelle Tribe is licensed under CC By 2.0
Sometimes gems like green cubic zirconia are used as emerald imitations or simulants. Even glass pieces can be designed to simulate emeralds. However, the chemical and physical properties of these imitations are not those of emeralds. “Glass Emerald” by Michelle Tribe is licensed under CC By 2.0