In the world of jewellery, gemstones have always held special value. Thanks to their vibrant colours, shimmering beauty and timeless elegance, it’s easy to see why they’re an irresistible choice for many. However, when it comes to buying gemstone jewellery, one important question comes up time and time again: Should you stick with lab grown gemstones or opt for mined?

While there is no wrong answer, there are slight differences between the two that are worth knowing. Read our guide below which can give you a thorough insight into both types of gemstone jewellery to ensure you make the right purchase.

Understanding Mined Gemstones

As the name implies, mined gemstones are directly sourced from the earth’s crust. Mined gemstones undergo a lengthy process of extraction, cutting, and polishing., before finding their way into jewellery pieces. The main allure of mined gemstones is they’re natural in origin and rare. Because of this, their perceived value can skyrocket and certainly be appealing to you as a jewellery buyer.

Unearthing Lab Grown Gemstones

Lab grown gemstones (otherwise known as cultured or synthetic gemstones) are created in controlled laboratory environments. Scientists copy the natural process of gemstone formation by creating crystals with like-for-like chemical and physical properties to their mined counterparts. One of the alluring factors of lab grown gemstones is they’re eco-friendlier than mined gemstones and are a sustainable alternative. Lorel Diamonds have an in-depth guide on lab grown diamonds. They have a selection of diamond rings, engagement rings, earrings, and other jewellery products you can check out.


When purchasing gemstone jewellery, one major consideration to take into account is their impact on the environment. Mined gemstones require extensive mining operations, which can result in pollution, destruction of habitats, and labour exploitation. On the other hand, lab grown gemstones are created using sustainable methods. These minimise environmental harm, making them a greener option to consider.


Lab grown gems cannot be distinguished from mined gems based on appearance alone. However, gemstones made in controlled laboratory environments normally have fewer imperfections like trapped solids, trapped gas bubbles, or fractures, making them consistently clearer to the naked eye. Gemstones with high clarity, occurring naturally with fewer imperfections are rare which consequently makes them more costly. Mined gemstones containing inclusions often undergo treatments such as heating or oiling to conceal flaws.


Durability is closely tied to the presence of inclusions. It’s influenced by factors like the hardness of the mineral, the extent of cleavage, and the internal resistance to fracturing. Take diamonds for instance. While they’re the hardest substance known, they possess four cleavage planes due to weak atomic bonding. This makes them more susceptible to damage.


Due to their rarity and the costs linked with mining and distribution, mined gemstones often come with a hefty price tag, whereas lab grown gemstones are typically more affordable. This is because they can be created in controlled quantities. For those who have budget constraints, lab grown gemstones are the clear option for that reason.

Ethical Considerations

Ethics play a core role in the decision-making process. Mined gemstones have faced numerous controversies over the years, especially when it comes to ethical sourcing. There have been concerns regarding child labour and exploitation. Because lab grown gemstones are made in controlled environments, they offer a more ethical and transparent choice, providing consumers with peace of mind.

Formation Time

Gemstone formation times exhibit significant variation among the roughly 100 acknowledged types found across the world. Geologists are yet to verify precise durations. However, they can span from hundreds of thousands of years to a few billion years. Regarding the formation process for lab grown gemstones, they have a precisely defined discipline. They can be grown in a matter of weeks to a maximum of 12 months.

Long-Term Value

Whether you decide on mined gemstones or opt for lab grown counterparts, you’ll want the value of either to grow and grow. When it comes to mined gemstones, they often hold their value over time and carry a sense of timelessness. In fact, some people regard mined gemstones as investments or heirlooms. Regarding lab grown gemstones, the market for them continues to develop, meaning their long-term value remains uncertain. Although they offer aesthetic appeal, lab grown gemstones may not have the same potential for value appreciation.

What to Choose

To conclude, picking between mined and lab grown gemstones will ultimately depend on your personal preference, budget, and long-term goals. If you’re interested in gemstones that are unique and have historical significance, mined gemstones may be right for you. However, if you prioritise affordability and environmental sustainability, lab grown gemstones may be the perfect alternative.

By considering the factors above, this should help you make a more informed decision and make it easier to find the perfect gemstone for you.