Fake. Knock-off. Cheap. Just a few words previously associated with lab-created gemstones. Low quality genuine stones used before them were seen as so undesirable.
After years of resistance, lab-created gems are finally finding a niche on the market that is hard to ignore. So what changed? Simply put, they’ve been marketed differently.
This marketing change and drastic turnaround can be attributed to a focus on sustainability and eco-friendly goods, two areas in which lab-created stones are unmatched.
From an environmental perspective, lab-created gemstones are the way of the future. As eco-friendly becomes more important, production of lab-created gems will too. Production is performed all in one location with a clear line from the beginning to end. It doesn’t carry the same environmental hazards as mining and doesn’t leave behind abandoned mines or damage the surrounding ecosystem. Natural gems will be regarded as a desirable luxury (and they should!), but from an environmental perspective, lab-created stones are an important part of the future of this industry.
Since these stones are made in a factory, the threat of material running out is non-existent. Some view this as driving the value down or an over-saturation in the market. Instead, view it as price stability over longer periods of time. It will be much easier to maintain both current and future pricing for a three carat lab-created blue sapphire than genuine.
As the earth produces facet grade material less over time, the ability for the common consumer to find or purchase many different natural stones will become harder. Lab-created stones take that variable out of the equation. Yes, there are more available; that also means more accessible goods for customers.
Chemically, lab stones are the same as their natural counterparts, which is another selling point. You are able to guarantee sustainability and promote that chemically they are the same, just created by man. Similarly to how an ice cube is man-made in a freezer and a glacier is made by nature. Both are ice chemically, but one is natural and the other created by the hand of man. These stones don’t mimic them like imitations, they are created alternatives of the real thing.
Many consumers will never have access to gem-quality goods. But, lab-created stones are designed to look similar to the best quality naturals. Developed with top color and cutting, they are an affordable option for customers who want a natural, premium look without spending above their means.
Affordability is important to today’s consumer. Spending habits have changed, and consumers are more conscious. These stones allow customers to budget more on a special mounting - if they so desire - instead of solely focusing on the stone
Finally, because of their affordability, availability, and consistency in appearance, replacing a customer’s lab stone won’t be an issue. We all know “stuff” happens with customers’ jewelry. We can’t wrap it in bubble wrap for them and tell them, “please don’t do this” while wearing their jewelry. But when something inevitably does, matching color, cutting and cost will be less of a headache.
When shopping for lab-created gems, keep in mind you don’t have to shop the “name brand” for lab-created stones either. There are different growth methods that produce the same high-quality material at more affordable costs to the consumer.
This is the new long-term trend and it’s time to embrace it. No longer will negative stigmas be associated with lab stones. Instead, they will be represented by affordability, sustainability, and eco-friendly.
Konrad Darling is the sales and marketing director for Darling Imports, a color gemstone wholesaler offering genuine and synthetics as well as lapidary services and stone identification. For more information contact Darling Imports at 800-282-8436 or www.darlingimports.com.