How marketable are gemstones made in the laboratory

Are Gemstones Minerals?

A mineral is a naturally occurring chemical compound, usually in crystalline form and not produced by life processes. A mineral has a specific chemical composition, while a rock can be an aggregate of different minerals. The science of minerals is mineralogy.

Most gemstones are minerals

Minerals have different physical properties. Their description depends on their chemical structure and composition. Common distinguishing features include crystal structure and habit, also hardness, luster, transparency, color, streak, toughness, cleavage, breakage, separation, specific gravity, magnetism, taste or smell, radioactivity, and response to acid.

Example of mineral gemstones: quartz, diamond, corundum, beryl, ...

Synthetic gemstones

It is important to distinguish between synthetic gemstones and imitation or simulated gemstones.

Synthetic gemstones are physically, visually and chemically identical to natural stone, but are made in a factory. Gem traders often use the name "laboratory created" in trade. It makes the synthetic stone more marketable than "factory made".

Example of synthetic gemstones: synthetic corundum, synthetic diamond, synthetic quartz, ...

Artificial gemstones

Examples of artificial stones are zirconia, which is composed of zirconia and simulated moissanite, both of which are gemstone simulants. Imitations copy the appearance and color of the real stone, but have neither chemical nor physical properties. Moissanite actually has a higher index of refraction than diamond and when presented next to an equally sized and cut diamond it has more "fire" than the diamond.


Rock is a natural substance, a solid aggregate of one or more minerals or mineraloids. For example, lapis lazuli is a deep blue metamorphic rock. Its classification is semi-precious stone. The main mineral component of lapis lazuli is lazurite (25% to 40%), a feldspatoid silicate mineral.

Organic gemstones

There are a number of organic materials that are used as gemstones including:
Amber, ammolite, bone, copal, coral, ivory, jet, mother-of-pearl, operculum, pearl, Petoskey stone


A mineraloid is a mineral-like substance that has no crystallinity. Mineraloids have chemical compositions that go beyond the generally accepted ranges for certain minerals. For example, obsidian is an amorphous glass, not a crystal. Jet is extracted from decaying wood under extreme pressure. Opal is another mineraloid because of its non-crystalline nature.

Artificial mineraloids

Artificial glass, plastic, ...