Sapphire is a very precious and coveted gemstone that is appreciated and sought after by many jewelry enthusiasts. It’s easy to see why: sapphires are gorgeous in color and durable. As with most gemstones, you can choose between natural sapphires or lab-grown sapphires.

Sapphire comes from corundum, whether natural or lab-grown. Since the raw material of laboratory-grown sapphires is corundum, it is impossible to accurately distinguish natural sapphires and cultivated sapphires from each other only through hardness and the naked eye. Many people confuse the word "cultivated" with "fake." In many cases, this is inaccurate.

"Cultivation" refers to a natural substance that has been developed in a controlled laboratory environment. This is the case with lab-grown gemstones.

Are lab-grown sapphires real sapphires?
Absolutely. Because from a chemical and physical understanding, natural sapphire and laboratory-grown sapphire have equivalent compositions, atomic structures and crystal habits. Gem laboratories recognize both laboratory-grown and natural sapphires as corundum. Cultured sapphires share properties with natural sapphires, such as hardness, density, refractive index and stability. Like other natural gemstones, the price of cultured sapphires varies based on their quality.


However, as a consumer, you also need to differentiate between lab-grown sapphires and natural sapphires, both of which can be beautiful, and therefore know exactly how much you are spending on them. When purchasing natural sapphires, you need to be careful about the possibility of misrepresentation or mislabeling by unscrupulous merchants.

The formation of natural and cultured sapphires
The formation of natural sapphire occurs in nature, formed over time from minerals in the earth's crust. Laboratory-grown sapphire is an alternative to natural sapphire. It is a cultured gemstone produced in a laboratory. Its starting material is natural sapphire, also known as corundum, so the chemical composition of laboratory-grown sapphire is equivalent to that of natural sapphire. Laboratory-grown sapphire can be called "sapphire" because it has a chemical composition that corresponds to natural sapphire.


How do gemologists differentiate between natural and cultured sapphires?
Distinguishing lab-grown sapphires from natural sapphires can be challenging, but each method of artificial creation leaves traces that gemological experts can identify. For example, sapphires grown by the flame melting method will show curved growth lines under a microscope that are not found in natural sapphires. Hydrothermally grown sapphires may leave inclusions like nail heads or feathers. Because lab-grown sapphires are grown in a controlled environment, lab-grown sapphires are visually more perfect, with fewer imperfections and excellent color.

Choose your sapphire
When choosing between purchasing natural or lab-grown sapphires, here are a few things to consider:

  • color
  • size
  • Budget
  • Available occasions
  • Design uniqueness
  • Is "natural" important to you?