Any gemstone created in nature or in a lab can be classified as “real” if it contains identical mineral makeup. This means synthetic gemstones are classified and sold as “real”, although they cannot be labeled as “natural”. To be called “natural”, the stone must be produced by nature.
The cost of various synthetic and natural gemstones varies widely depending upon the gem in question.
Gemstone that are easy to create in a lab such as a rubies or sapphires can be produced fairly cheaply. This makes a synthetic or lab-grown ruby or sapphire much less expensive than a natural one. For example, a raw half carat sapphire might sell for about $370. In comparison, a 1 carat manufactured sapphire sells for less than $20 at Amazon. A real-deal natural ruby that is just over a carat sells for around $725. In comparison, a lab-created ruby of about the same size sells for less than $70.
In the case of diamonds, which are difficult to grow, cut and produce, there is little cost difference between a synthetic diamond and a natural diamond because diamonds are graded on various factors (the 4Cs: color, cut, clarity, and carat). Today’s lab-grown diamonds are of sufficient quality to be certified by third-party institutions, such as GIA, as real. They have the exact chemical composition and structure – carbon atoms arranged in a cubic crystal formation – as mined diamonds.Lab-created diamonds can be produced at higher specifications than a natural diamond and so it is common for synthetics to actually sell for more than a genuine natural stone.