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Why Choose Man-made over Earth-mined Gemstones?

If you are someone who is concerned about the environment or wants the brightest most beautiful gemstone available, you should know when to choose a man-made gemstone and when not to.

Earth-mined Amethyst rough in two varieties

Wearing a piece of gemstone jewelry goes far beyond simply donning an object for adornment.  Gemstones have been desired and acquired since ancient times for a variety of reasons - from something that possesses magical or incomprehensible powers to a status symbol of affluence that can be held in the palm of your hand.  Various cultures have documented curative powers and metaphysical properties of gemstones and crystals.  All of these reasons and more make natural, earth-mined gemstones something sought after for centuries, but the desire to have such things comes at a price. 

Earth-mined Peridot, 7.93 carats

Many naturally sourced gemstones can only be obtained in very dangerous environments - either through the treacherous mining conditions in which they are obtained or through the trade itself which is often shrouded with conflict and smuggling.  By the time a gemstones reaches your hand, it can be very difficult to know it's pedigree and history.  If you have ever visited a mine or watched videos of mining operations, you will notice the mass destruction of the land.  Responsible mining operations spend a great deal of money attempting to restore the environment after an area has been mined, but a lot of times the damage to the ecosystem cannot be repaired.  As an example, for every single carat of a diamond, an average of 86 square meters of land surface and 6 tons of earth are excavated.  This alters the ecosystem by introducing toxins into the ground from the mining operation, removing vegetation and animal habitats, exposing the earth to unnatural erosion, etc.

Synthetic, or man-made, gemstones on the other hand do not cause the destruction of earth and wildlife to the extent mining does.  Minerals can be grown in controlled laboratory settings and produce gemstones with virtually identical composition to their naturally occurring counterparts. Typically, laboratory grown crystals are flawless or near flawless due to the strict control over the crystal growth process, and they have the best and most beautiful colors.  In many cases, an earth-mined "seed" crystal is needed to kick off the crystal growth process.

Creating minerals in a laboratory is not an easy endeavor but it has been evolving for decades. In the 1950s, the USSR was a leader in this industry because of their use of these materials in military and space applications. Lasers, for example, originally used synthetic rubies. Later, a new material called YAG, was developed for application in lasers and has no natural counterpart, but it makes a gorgeous gemstone. YAG is short for yttrium aluminum garnet.

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Belle and Dandy ™ is a family owned and operated jewelry business that's been making and selling jewelry since 2007. We are proud to live and work in the USA and are grateful to the many veterans and service men and women who have made it possible for us to be here today. We are also animal lovers and share our home with many rescued pets. Read more

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