Well, there are many reasons why lab-created sapphire has grown in popularity in the recent past. As with many other industries, the gem and jewellery industry has also been adjusting itself to novels ways and means of doing things.
These ways and means will help ensure the sustainability of the industry, medium to long term. Adaptation of lab-created sapphire in modern jewellery instead of natural sapphire is one way of achieving that goal.
Why are Lab-Created Sapphires Important?
The coloured gemstone segment is growing in popularity during the last few years. Many opt to switch to a coloured gemstone in their engagement rings instead of a diamond.
Sapphires, along with ruby and emerald, lead the coloured gemstone market. Therefore the demand for sapphire has been rising, creating a vacuum that is not being fulfilled by the existing reliable supply.
Therefore the emergence and usage of lab-created sapphire in the modern jewellery trade are far important than anyone has fully realized.
Following are some of these reasons that warrant the need for lab-created sapphire,
Natural Sapphires are Scarce
Whether we like it or not, the natural gemstones will soon get exhausted. There are only a handful of sources that supply the majority of jewellery-grade sapphires to the world market.
Some of these countries and regions have been conducting mining activities for thousands of years. Not to mention the practical limitations of the mining activities where sapphires are predominantly found.
It makes so much sense to have an established alternative sooner than later. Therefore lab-created sapphires will quickly become a necessity of the jewellery trade whether we like it or not.
Sustainable Jewelry is Growing in Popularity
Sustainability is not just a buzzword or a marketing tool anymore. The world has already been seeing the repercussions of adverse man-caused environmental impacts.
The importance of sustainability is particularly affecting the industries that are heavily relying on mining activities.
Guess what. Natural gemstone sourcing is one of them.
The sapphire mines go down and lateral in the earth’s crust, creating irrevocable damage to the natural setting. River and waterway mining is also not so far behind in terms of the damage it causes to the natural ecosystem.
Adding to that, some of the lower-income sapphire mining countries even deploy questionable ways and means of labor.
Recent studies show that the entire carbon footprint of mine to market is significantly higher compared to lab-created sapphire.
Considering all these factors, we may need to entirely rethink the impact you make by wearing a natural gemstone.
Some Colors and Shades are Particularly Almost Nonexistence
One good example is the Padparadscha sapphire, commonly referred to as Pad sapphire. As much as everyone wants to wear this heavenly colour, this is extremely rare in nature. Padparadscha is known as the rarest natural sapphire variety.
However, suppose you don’t mind going with lab-created padparadscha sapphire. In that case, you can find intense to light sunset colour without breaking the wallet. It would usually cost about 10% of what you would incur if you go for the natural counterpart.
Price Difference of Natural vs. Lab Created Sapphire
Price is one of the primary decision denominators. But price itself is not the most crucial factor.
It has a lot to do with how the perceived value works between natural vs lab-grown sapphire.
A top-quality lab-grown sapphire will cost about 10-25% of the natural counterpart. Again I have given a range, not because of the price variation of lab-grown sapphire. But because of the high variance of natural gemstones.
Lab-created sapphires have a largely stable demand-supply equilibrium making the prices converge to a narrow range.
In contrast, natural sapphire has no universal price. Because of the perceived price difference, the same stone may be valued at vastly different assessments by different valuers.
A buyer essentially wants a grip of the benchmark value, which is almost nonexistent in the natural gemstone trade.
Unless you have redundant money, the purchasing decision of a natural sapphire will be unnecessarily lengthy and characterized by uncertainty and a lot of trade-offs.
This is where lab-grown sapphire makes a massive difference in the price and the buying decision.
The Clarity, Cut and Carat Weight
We are now on to the rest of the 4 Cs of gemstone valuation. These can be considered as some of the advantages of choosing lab-created sapphire.
Lab-created sapphire has no inclusions and mostly comes in loupe clean or VVS grade.
More often than not, Lab-created sapphire allows much-needed freedom to the lapidarist to execute the most optimum faceting angles. Therefore the maximum brilliance and performance of the gemstone are almost always guaranteed. Due to its inherent shape, natural gemstone does not always allow to go for the most desired cutting angles and faceting design choices.
You may often see ovals, rounds, and pears when it comes to natural sapphire. On the other hand, lab-created sapphire allows extending the limits of the lapidarist’s imagination.
Lab-created faceted sapphire can easily go as high as 10 carats per stone without a vast price difference. 10+ carat natural sapphire will cost a fortune while they are extremely rare in nature. Because you need 30 carats good shaped, clean natural rough to achieve a yield of 10-carat final product.
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