Sometimes on a website you will see the letters “cr” or the word created alongside a gemstone. So when looking at the description of the item you will see: 2 x cr rubies, or you might see: Two Created Rubies. This can be most deceiving and sometimes I suspect intentionally deceiving.

What this is telling you is that the Topas gemstones that you are buying are not natural gemstones but that they are man-made gemstones usually grown in a laboratory. They may have other descriptions which vary a little but essentially are saying the same thing, that they are man made stones.
To use opal as an example, although it applies to rubies, diamonds, sapphires and most other gemstones, you might see: lab opal, imitation opal, synthetic opal, man-made opal and created or cr opal.

What is the difference in the price of natural gemstones compared to created gemstones?

In most cases created gemstones are much less expensive than natural stones. After all, the scientists most likely had profit in mind when they started this exercise so the objective was to create cheaper gemstones which looked better than the real thing. However, some created stones are far more expensive than some poor quality natural stones.

How does the quality compare?

Well, if you buy a ruby or an emerald for 30,000 you are after the real thing and you can obviously afford to buy it. You would never be happy to pay 30,000 for a created stone no matter how good it is.

But, how do you feel about paying 200 for a lifeless, dull ruby which looks like a piece of glass bottle washed up on the beach? What if for 200 you can get a large absolutely, magnificent created ruby that your friends are going to want to have a look at?

Nature just creates stones without the gem market in mind but scientists in laboratories create them specifically with the market in mind so they don’t want to make failures and because of that, the quality is mostly extremely good.

As a jeweller I have a choice. I can pay 1,500 for a ruby and make it into a great piece of jewellery for my wife or one of my three daughters, or I can give them the same piece with a created ruby which costs me 120 and I can go on a holiday to Hawaii! If you want to know what I would do then I’ll talk to you when I get back!