At Tiny Tags, birthstones are one of our favorite ways to add a little sparkle to the day! Earth-mined or “genuine” gemstones are certainly well known, but a slightly lesser-known option is quickly becoming a new favorite: lab grown gemstones. Side note, just to add to the confusion, gemstones and birthstones are often used interchangeably since, essentially, a birthstone is a type of gemstone. We'll just call them 'stones' here on out to simplify things!
So, what are lab grown stones - how do they differ from earth-mined stones, and is one option better than the other? We wanted to shine a little light on lab grown stones, so we have answered some of the most common questions below!
1. What is the difference between an earth-mined stone and a lab grown stone?
Earth-mined stones are gemstones formed from natural minerals that have undergone years of heat and immense pressure under the Earth’s surface. Many natural gemstones, such as diamonds, can take thousands of years to form before they can be mined from the Earth. Lab grown stones are formed in a controlled laboratory setting that recreates the environmental conditions that form earth-mined stones naturally, but because the conditions within the lab are controlled and more consistent the stones form much faster, and do not have the same imperfections you might see in earth-mined stones.
2. Are lab grown stones considered genuine?
Because lab grown stones are created from the same minerals and conditions that form earth-mined stones, they have the same chemical make-up and appearance as natural stones, and as a result many consider lab grown stones to be just as genuine as earth-mined stones.
3. Earth-mined vs. lab grown - is one option better than the other?
As with all things, there are pros and cons to both options. Lab grown stones look identical to earth-mined stones to the naked eye, and they do not contain natural flaws that are often seen in natural stones. Lab grown stones are also an ethical, sustainable, and cost-effective option, since they form in a fraction of the time it takes an earth-mined stone to form.
Earth-mined stones do offer a one-of-a-kind option, since there will be natural flaws and color variations created by changes in environmental conditions while the stone is forming, but because natural gemstones can take thousands and thousands of years to form, they are not a sustainable resource. It is also important to know where earth-mined stones are coming from, so you can be sure they mined in an ethical way.
4. Where can I find jewelry with lab grown and earth-mined stones?
Having gained popularity over the last decade or so, many jewelry companies have started offering gemstones in their pieces. One thing to note is to always make sure to check the source of the stone being sold to make sure you feel good about its origin. At Tiny Tags, we love all mamas - including Mama Earth, so we are proud to offer both lab grown and earth-mined stones, which are all ethically sourced, and genuinely beautiful. They are available as stand alone charms, birthstone charm necklaces or bracelets (hmm wait maybe not yet) or embedded into several of our designs including our popular Mini Dog Tags, Circle Pendants and Skinny Bar Necklaces. And new to the birthstone family, are the Mama's Rings, where you can add up to 5 stones on each ring. We love the versatility stones provide and will continue to find creative and beautiful ways to include them in our designs.
The market is changing quickly, and admittedly, we're still learning as we go. We want to make sure we offer our customers the best option: ethically sourced, high quality and an affordable price point. At the moment, we are primarily using lab grown stones on embedded birthstone jewelry, and earth-mined stones on our stand-alone birthstone charms and necklaces.
If you have any questions or suggestions, let us know! Which stones are your favorite?!