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Bridal Quandaries: Are Lab Created Sapphires Better?

Updated on March 4, 2009

Now I Need a Ring...

My mother is amazed that I get as much done with my wedding as I have. In one month I have extensively researched and ruled out vendors in two cities, narrowed down my current city vendors to 4, bought a wedding dress, tiara to match, bought the materials to sew bridal dresses…and now I need a ring.

Mom says I’m organized. I think I’m slightly obsessed, personally.

My current fascination is the wedding ring itself. Instead of buying one to match the engagement ring, I am getting a separate wedding ring, which leaves endless possibilities. I’ve always loved sapphires, so I began to research the details of what makes them so darn wonderful.

Sapphires are a 9 on the Mohs scale of hardness, which makes them only one point shy of a diamond. They’re tough cookies, which is great for those of us who are harder on our personal belongings. The beautiful thing is they come in every imaginable color; the standard deep blue-purple that they are famous for is only the beginning of beautiful center stones and accent stones. There are varying shades of blue, white, pink, purple, and even green. Unless it is red, any gem that originates from the chemical corundum is considered a diamond; a red sapphire is known as the rare and wonderful ruby. We will touch on the ruby in another hub.

Lab-created sapphires undergo the exact process as their natural cousins except that they endure accelerated growth through the use of heat. This heat leaves residue through small fissures that are only visible to a well-trained eye; thus, through the basic logistics that is, there is no difference between a natural sapphire and a lab-created sapphire except where it was made. Well, location and price.

On, I found a lab-created sapphire for $12.99. This is a 1.5 carat, 8x6 mm, brilliant cut, blue lab-created sapphire. On the same website, this lab-created sapphire compared to natural sapphires valued at well over $400.The photo below denotes an example valued at $419.99. Note that the natural sapphire is indeed cut more brilliantly, with greater shine. However, lab-created sapphires have the same cut potential at a significant reduction in price.

If you are in the mood for some jewelry hunting, I definitely recommend They have everything from authentic gems to settings to starter kits - I will be using this website exclusively to create my wedding ring. There are ratings for each item and comments from buyers, so you know what you are getting before you buy. But back to sapphires.

The lab-created sapphire is beautiful and technically real, due to its process of creation. Of course, the end result is all about what you prefer. The simple fact is that it is a quality stone, of the same consistency as regular sapphire, and absolutely stunning when placed next to real diamond accent stones!

Comparing Lab-Created to Natural Sapphires - Can You See a Difference? (neither can I)

Click thumbnail to view full-size
This is a lab-created sapphire from Lab Created Blue Sapphire 1.50ct 8x6mm Oval Item: S14V86A Valued: $12.99This is a lab-created sapphire from 1.00ct 8x6mm Oval Ceylon Blue Sapphire Item: 88V8604AD Valued: $419.99
This is a lab-created sapphire from Lab Created Blue Sapphire 1.50ct 8x6mm Oval Item: S14V86A Valued: $12.99
This is a lab-created sapphire from Lab Created Blue Sapphire 1.50ct 8x6mm Oval Item: S14V86A Valued: $12.99
This is a lab-created sapphire from 1.00ct 8x6mm Oval Ceylon Blue Sapphire Item: 88V8604AD Valued: $419.99
This is a lab-created sapphire from 1.00ct 8x6mm Oval Ceylon Blue Sapphire Item: 88V8604AD Valued: $419.99

Lab versus Natural Sapphires

Which do you prefer?

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    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Hmmmmm...."Unless it is red, any gem that originates from the chemical corundum is considered a diamond;" REALLY? I am a GIA graduate gemologist, and I am 100% sure that your statement is completely inaccurate. And, to CFernan, who said "any precious stone worth a decent amount of money has blood on it," I completely disagree. There are beautiful stones, including Montana Sapphires, which are mined right here in the USA. I represent one of those Montana mines, and I can assure you that our stones are some of the most socially responsible gems on the market. There is no "blood" on our product!

      Also, be very careful when buying gems on the internet, including from Jewelry Television. They have knowingly sold treated gems as untreated (for which they faced a class action lawsuit) and most recently have sold so-called "natural" rubies, which are full of highly refractive red lead glass. In that particular case, it is much better to purchase a lab created ruby, instead of JTV's so-called "natural" ruby, so that your stone won't fall apart the minute a jeweler applies heat to it.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Any precious stone worth a decent amount of money has blood on it. The people who mine precious stones are vastly mistreated and underpaid. If having blood on your hand is important to you, go with natural precious stones. I would rather not look at my left hand every day knowing someone could have died for me to have something shiny. If you want natural stones, buy vintage or estate. Otherwise, buy synthetic.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      with created stone you can just get new ones when you damage or lose them. much better in an every day ring.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I take issue with lab created being "forced into being" ... so are children.

    • profile image

      Kari L. 

      7 years ago

      I lost my grandfather to the mines two years before I was born and I have always been against having a stone in my engagement ring. My fiancé, however, just got me a beautiful engagement ring with 35 lab-created sapphires in it and I've never seen such a beautiful ring. Everyone loves it and no one has guessed that it is lab-created! I don't consider the sapphires as being any different. They are sapphires, no matter where they came from. I couldn't be happier. Plus, it was very affordable for such a huge ring!

    • profile image

      Laura F 

      7 years ago

      I prefer lab-created sapphires for one reason alone: I can say with absolute certainty that a child was not forced through slave labor to mine the stone on my finger. As someone who was just recently engaged, I understand the comments above regarding wanting only authentic stones in an engagement ring. My fiancé felt the same way, feeling awkward about my insistence that he buy a lab-created sapphire. But for me, not knowing for sure whether or not some child had his or her hands cut off over my ring tends to take away from how special it is to me.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I own a few sapphire rings. One is natural and the other 2 are lab grown. I can't tell the difference, no one else can either and my jeweler had a heck of a time examining them under a microscope. I would buy a lab grown sapphire over a natural one any day. You get a clearer stone, the properties are the same and usually the color is excellent. Most natural sapphires (along with many other gemstones) have to be altered by heating them to improve their quality anyway. As for diamonds they're way too overpriced, and it's a shame that many have bought into the "hype" of a diamond being the only gemstone for an engagement ring. I sold some diamonds a few years back and I was shocked at what I got for them, about 1/2 of what I paid. I wear my pink sapphire pretty much every day or a morganite that my husband gave me a few years back. Although morganite is 7.5 8 on the mohs scale, it's held up fine. And I do wear my diamonds also but it's the sapphire or the morganite that gets the attention! No one ask me about my diamond but I always get compliments on my sapphire or morganite.

    • profile image

      Personal taste 

      8 years ago

      There are two reasons to buy a gemstone: investment or decorative. If you invest in gemstones (and I know many who do), you're essentially doing what all investors do - you're betting on the perceived value of the gemstone increasing over time (preferably in the near-future), so that you may cash in on that investment. It is unreasonable to expect a gemstone's value to increase exponentially over time - history doesn't support that belief. Consider the pearl. Natural pearls were seen as incredibly rare and valuable 500 years ago - Queen Elizabeth I had a necklace made of them, which was eventually but in one of the crown jewels; however, when pearls began to be cultivated, and frankly the cultivated varieties are far more beautiful than the natural ones, the price of pearls became relatively affordable for most women. Same thing with gemstones - invest in the stone only if you believe its value will increase significantly in the short-term, but don't expect the gains to be indefinite. So if you never plan on selling the ring, and are designing the ring merely for decorative purposes, and you are not able to tell the difference between the stones, why take on the investment mentality? You'll save yourself a lot of frustration if you think about jewelry in those two terms (investment or decorative).

    • profile image

      Created is amazing 

      8 years ago

      This is a bit long and I apologize but I felt like expressing myself also.

      I have to laugh at people who buy into the philosophy that De Beers created specifically to keep their corner on the diamond market. Bear with me here... Firstly, your gems (natural) do not increase in value over time (especially Diamonds). Do some research on Blood Diamonds and De Beers history. To summarize, De Beers wishes us to believe we are investing in something of value that will give us returns later should we nee them, however when people actually decide to cash in on their gems in hard times, they find that they will get a fraction of what they paid. This is basically an arrangement between De Beers and other jewellers. OK back to the main topic here. Created gemstones.

      Yes, there is an allure to gems who have taken years and years to form into that beautiful little gem you wear on your fingers for sure. However, visually with the same cut and gem clarity, you would not know the difference if a jeweller were to sell you a created gem or not. It is all in our heads as to the value and "worth" of natural gems compared to "created" gems. Truly.

      Did you know that the only difference between a created diamond and a natural one is a small chemical element which is only able to be detected by a device that De Beers developed to after they became aware of how impossible it would be to refute that created diamonds are just as, if not more perfect than natural ones? If professional gem smiths in Stockholm cannot detect the difference between the created diamonds and the natural ones, neither will you or your friends. This goes the same with natural or created sapphires.

      I asked my Japanese roommate(after doing research on Blood Diamonds for a presentation I had to give, Blood Diamonds are associated where diamond mines are controlled by guerilla factions in countries like Sierra Leone to fund their wars, people are raped, killed and tortured over these stones) whether if for her engagement ring, she would prefer a created diamond engagement ring or a natural one whom she had no idea where the stone came from. She chose the natural one despite any "potential" hardship which may have come from receiving it. This was after I showed her my presentation. This goes to show the mental conditioning that we have been exposed to by some of these companies. It is really an interesting statement of society.

      I am in the process of having my jeweller craft a 14k white gold bangle with 2x 1/4 carat Canadian Diamonds and the center piece gem being a created pink sapphire and the two side pieces as Touraline gems to match the vibrant colour. I asked my gemologist what would point out the center sapphire as fake. He stated that the perfection of colour and the size of it. However he speculated that due to the fact that there are diamonds and that the bangle is 14k gold that there is a strong possibility that people would assume it is a natural sapphire. I don't really care but was curious as I am having the piece made to match a cheap 250.00 ring I bought 2 years ago that has an amazing pink sapphire as the stone haha!

      By the way, I am not saying anyone is wrong for choosing natural gems, I have to admit their appeal to me is very strong also, but I do caution, especially in the case of diamonds to ask your jeweller where they get their stones from and be able to show proof of this.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      If they are of comparable cut, clarity, carat and color than upon bare-eye visual inspection, there should appear no difference. In terms of what is "worth" more - that is dependent upon you. To an evaluator a natural gem, that is untreated in any way of comparable quality to your lab created one shall be valued more. To you, if you just want something gorgeous that looks like a million bucks, but wasn't, a lab created gem will do the job of showmanship at 1/10th the cost of the "real deal."

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I just got engaged with a vintage look (lab created)sapphire ring, and I went to great length in the store to find 2 diamond bands to go with it. No one else will have this set and the clerks were impressed with my idea. My fiancé was dead-set against lab created but I had a vision in mind. Unless I tell people, no one will know the sapphire is lab created because the color is just right. And the overall cost was the same as the diamond one I picked but it didn't have the greatest color/clarity.

      Every bride has in their mind what is "politically" or "traditionally" correct for every aspect of a wedding. It should simply be the thought behind all of it. After all, it's the marriage---not the drama of the wedding event--that is truly the important part!!!

    • GmaGoldie profile image

      Kelly Kline Burnett 

      8 years ago from Madison, Wisconsin

      Oh, we just purchased three natural sapphires - I am so thrilled. I have always wanted matching wedding rings - the sapphire is ceylon and cushion cut and stunning - and yes, I am biased and very, very exited about the pending wedding and seeing the ring.

      Sadly the ring I cannot wear until the wedding - I choose one ring rather than the engagement and the wedding ring. Simple but complicated just like me - I think there is a direct parallel somehow.

      Thank you for sharing.

      Best wedding ring wishes and wedding wishes too! Want to read the ruby Hub - hurry up here!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      So which did you choose?

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I personally think that it shouldn't matter if your engagement ring isn't a real diamond, i think that its the thought that counts and why spend all that money on a real diamond when you could get one that looks exactly the same for so much less? I think most woman that say they want a real diamond is because they just want the bragging rights to say that my man spent this much on my ring when really if that's all you care about is how much your man spent on your ring then i think you have you head in the wrong place!!

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      On the flip side you could argue the symbolism of a lab created gem as being our exponentially developing abilities as sentient beings to affect our own destiny and achieve greater levels of perfection and happiness.

      Natural stones represent the "old ways," women being property and subjugated to men, societies driven by superstitious thinking and religious manipulation.

      Whereas Lab created stones represent our evolution as a species and society.

    • scribblebean profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Tallahassee, FL

      A very valid argument.

      Symbolism is important in weddings, and with so many traditions and what with the amount of money that is put into a wedding, it makes sense to want all natural. I'm really battling between lab and is nice to know that the lab creations are simply accelerated natural sapphires, though.

      Thanks for the comment and the welcome! I'm excited to start my hubbing journey... :)

    • Sally's Trove profile image


      9 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      If I were designing my wedding ring, I would want only natural stones and precious metals, as matters of both symbolism and investment. Synthetic gems are forced into being by human hands, while natural gems, I think, represent the fateful coming together of many elements to create something unique and enduring. As for natural gems, they will retain their value, and often grow in value. If I were to spend all that money on a custom design and precious metals, I would want quality value in the gems as well. And one more thought...I would rather invest in something "rock solid", and that's the way I'd like to look at my marriage.

      Welcome to HubPages!

    • scribblebean profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Tallahassee, FL

      I am new to hubs - so if you have any advice, please let me in on the wisdom. Thank you!


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