Natural vs Genuine vs Lab-created gemstones: do you know the difference?


Jewelry always is one of the most cheerful gifts for people who you love, including necklaces, earrings, rings other unique forms crafted by master craftsman using precious gemstones.

Do you know some gemstones we wear in daily life have been created by humans? But there is no need to worry about it, man-made gemstones do not mean it is low equality. It is interesting that they are usually higher quality than those found in nature, but with cheaper prices.

Firstly, let’s have a look at the types of gemstones. There are six main types of gemstones:

  • Natural Gemstone
  • Genuine Gemstone
  • Enhanced or Treated Gemstone
  • Lab-Grown, Created, Synthetic, Artificial or Man-Made Gemstone
  • Simulated Gemstone
  • Brand Name Gemstone


What is natural gemstone?

Natural gemstones are formed in nature with no human’s interference. If a stone is identified as natural, this means that it has not been treated, enhanced, or altered. These gemstones are mined, cut, faceted and finally polished. Natural Gemstones are generally rare in nature. These precious gemstones are the most expensive.

What is genuine gemstone?

A genuine gemstone is a natural occurring gemstone that is treated in some way or other. Treatment mainly to enhance its cut or appearance to allow the gemstone to shine in its brilliance. Some other term that is used to describe these gemstones are “enhanced” or “treated” stones.

Natural stones are created in different environmental conditions through millions of years. They may have certain level of discoloration, cracks or inclusions. Thus, treatment can help to fix the stones, but it will also lead to higher cost when consumers buy them.

What is lab-grown gemstone?

As the name suggests, we can guess this kind of gemstones are created by humans and are made in laboratory. Some other terms that are used are "created", “synthetic”, “artificial”, “lab-created” and “man-made” gems.

Though grown in the lab, these precious gemstones have the exact chemical composition of the same gemstone that is created in mother nature. So they are still some extent of “real” gemstones. Lab-grown gemstones are generally flawless.

What is simulated gemstone?

Simulated gemstones are also called “imitation”, “faux” and “fake” stones. A simulant is intended to “look like” another gemstone, but its composition is not the same.

Simulants aren’t always intended to deceive; these are also called “alternatives” and serve as additional stone options that might be a better fit based on personal preferences. Now, popular Brands are selling these breathtaking simulated diamonds in the form of necklace, earrings and bracelets at the price range of USD$50 to over USD$1,000. *Fun fact: Any type of gemstones can be a simulant.

What is brand name gemstone?

The brand is typically registered to provide the naming rights to the business so that to help the consumer identify the brand which usually give the customer the feeling of a higher quality (not always the case). A brand name gemstone is typically priced higher than a non-branded equivalent. Examples of Brand Name Gemstone includes, Swarovski® crystals and Moissanite®, both of which are lab-grown and man-made. Any gemstone can be a Brand Name Gemstone.

 Photo from Swarovski

So, what kind of gemstone do you want to choose?

Here are some tips for you, you can choose depends on your actual demand.
  • If you want to buy jewellery crafted with a real and authentic stone for its value and natural properties, genuine should be your choice.
  • If you have environmental concerns, lab-created stones are created in a controlled setting with few resources versus procured through an extensive mining process, which is typically followed by importation and other activities that result in a much larger carbon footprint.
  • If you prefer a more even colour and don’t like visible flaws, go with lab-created stones as their controlled creations usually result in a visibly more “perfect” appearance.
  • If you’re frugal and love the thrill of saving money, a lab-created stone could be a better choice as they typically cost less. On that note, keep reading for some more specific


 Johan, J. (2019). Natural vs Genuine vs Lab-Created Gemstones: What’s the Difference?. Retrieved 4 July 2020, from

Genuine vs Lab-Grown vs Simulated Precious Gemstones - Do You Know The Difference?. (2019). Retrieved 4 July 2020, from