A lot of gemstones sold today were not mined from the earth but were created in labs artificially. Ruby is not an exception. That is why if you are about to buy a gem and want to make sure it is natural you need to learn how to identify lab-created rubies.
What is Lab-Created Ruby?
Lab-created rubies also known as lab-grown, cultured, synthetic or man-made rubies refer to gemstones that are created artificially in laboratories.
Synthetic rubies are not fake. They have the same chemical composition as the natural ones and are considered to be real.
How to Test If a Ruby is Synthetic?
To find out if a ruby is lab-created you need to analyze its physical structure and chemical composition.
At first sight, created and natural rubies are almost identical, but there are very subtle differences that can be detected under a microscope by a professional gemologist.
All rubies have structural patterns or “growth lines” that occur during the formation of the gemstone.
Structural patterns in lab-grown rubies are characteristically curved indicating their artificial origin. Created rubies may also have gas bubbles inside, which form during the manufacturing process.
The process of growing synthetic gems leaves certain traces in the stone that can help to identify lab-created rubies. For example, tiny amounts of lead indicate that the stone was grown in a lab.
Signs That a Ruby May Be Lab-Created
In case you don’t have an option to send your ruby to a lab for testing, you may try to identify its origin by following our tips. However, keep in mind that these clues may not be 100% proof for all the cases.
Since synthetic rubies are created in labs under a controlled process, they have higher clarity than most natural rubies. This doesn’t mean that flawless rubies are necessarily artificial but if a stone of the highest clarity grade is natural, it will be very expensive and hard to find.
If a high-clarity ruby is significantly cheaper than an identical natural stone, then most likely you are dealing with a lab-created ruby.
Another sign that ruby is lab-grown is its size. Big natural rubies are very rare and very pricy as a result. For example, 2-carat rubies are harder to find in nature than to create synthetically. So if a ruby is quite large and still affordable, it is likely to be artificial.
Considering the above, the low price is proof that the stone might be synthetic. If a ruby has an intense red colour, high clarity, large size and relatively low price most likely it is not natural. Moreover, if the price is too low then you are definitely dealing with a fake stone. If synthetic rubies usually cost 10-15% less than natural rubies, fakes can cost up to 90-95% less.