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Thursday, June 4, 2009

Gorgeous Emerald Gemstones

I just bought a beautiful 5mm round lab created emerald... not sure what I'm going to do with it yet, but it sure is pretty!

fair trade emerald
Why lab created, you ask? Read on, my dears...

From an ethical perspective, lab created stones are, to me, a no-brainer. I’m not talking about fakes (no cubic zirconia for me, thanks) – lab created stones, also called synthetic, cultured, or man-made, are physically identical to their mined counterparts. Just as gemstones are formed in nature through heat and other forces within the earth, man-made stones are cultivated through applying similar forces within a laboratory, resulting in a stone that is optically and molecularly identical to a mined stone. Lab created stones’ main impact on the environment is in the power used to run the laboratory, an amount far less impactful than what is incurred with traditional gem mining. Cultivating stones in a laboratory eliminates the questionable mining practices inherent with many modern mining operations, including heinous human rights atrocities, as well as environmental degradation.

This particular stone comes from Chatham Gems; here's a little Q&A from their website -

Are Chatham gemstones real or imitation?

They're real. Our gemstones and diamonds are cultured just as many pearls; natural components are placed in an environment created to duplicate nature's. Once the required combination of chemical and environmental factors is created, the crystals grow over the course of a year, the length of time depending on the gemstone. As a result, quality diamonds and gemstones are developed with identical physical, chemical, and optical properties to those found in nature.

Can I tell the difference between created gemstones and mined gemstones?

Unless you're a certified gemologist with a powerful microscope, you won't be able to tell the difference between created and mined gemstones. Every gemological laboratory in the world has reference samples of Chatham gemstones to aid in the separation. Chatham is at the forefront of full disclosure, contributing samples and updates whenever something new is released.

Why do Chatham gemstones and diamonds often look better than their mined counterparts?

Under laboratory conditions, computers control temperatures, while foreign materials found in the earth are eliminated from our starting chemicals. This makes our crystal growth more predictable and consistent. We strive for the best qualities and colors found in nature. Lower qualities are not released for sale.

Are there cost savings with Chatham gemstones?

Significantly! Price differences between Chatham created and natural gemstones of like quality are notable, sometimes as much as $100,000 per carat as in the case of colored diamonds.

Does Chatham offer a warranty?

Yes. Trust, integrity, and value are at the heart of Chatham and our products. For your peace of mind, we provide a lifetime warranty with your Certificate of Authenticity. Chatham will gladly repair or replace your gemstone at no charge if it should chip or break under ordinary circumstances, or any defect in the workmanship or materials become apparent*. If you question whether your damaged jewelry is covered under our warranty, return the damaged jewelry, along with the sales receipt, to the store where the item was purchased. Then, your Chatham retailer will expedite the item to Chatham for immediate servicing and, if a replacement gem is needed, consideration will be taken to honor the original size and weight.

*excluding labor; normal wear and tear damage is not covered.

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