Lab-created ruby, also called synthetic ruby is made by fusing specific minerals such as titanium, vanadium, rutile, and iron in slight concentration, which create extensive variety of red-colored lab crystals. The color produced in this process is a result of fusing aluminum oxide and chrome, producing a mineral called corundum, referred to as ruby.
It is hard to tell whether a ruby is lab-created or natural, and only a trained gemologist is able to differentiate between both. Just like lab created diamond rings, many people are found adorning ruby jewelry, ruby rings that are produced in the laboratories, which look extremely beautiful, and natural too.
How is Ruby Created in Lab?
Lab-created rubies are created in two ways; flame fusion process and flux growth process, that use various types of methods to create the red crystals. In both processes, basic minerals are a necessity to bring about the red tint that is the identity of this gemstone. In simple terms, when colorless aluminum oxide is made to fuse with chrome, ruby is made.
What's more, a pinch of minerals like titanium, iron, and vanadium play a small but critical role in providing profundity and lucidity to the gemstone. The following sections describe the creation of Ruby by means of two methods: Flame Fusion process and Flux Growth process.
Flame Fusion Process
This method involves melting of minutely pulverized alumina in a blowpipe kind of burner containing oxy-hydrogen. It is important to use extremely purified alumina, created by persistent crystallization and calcination of ammonium alum. The process begins with alumina put in a container, knocked above repeatedly and made to regulate the flow of powder.
When the powder starts melting on a pedestal (rotating) through the oxy-hydrogen flame, it changes its state, and solidifies. The flame temperature is generally set between 1000 °C to 2400 °C. The main reason behind this is the fact that the melting point of corundum is nearly 2050 °C.
In this way, different corundum varieties are created with the help of adding numerous metallic oxides to the alum prior to its calcination.
Flux Growth Process
Creation of synthetic rubies by flux growth process may take up to half a year to complete. However, in this case, the crystals produced possess attributes that are highly close to those of the real ruby. Flux growth is a process in which the conditions of high heat and restrained pressure facilitate a considerable growth source to the ruby crystals.
The flux created from minerals put into a mixture of particular chemicals, comprises ruby crystals formed in straight growth planes, which is exactly similar to the creation process of natural ruby. With the inclusion of titanium, the flux grown ruby can create the star-like pattern of reflection of light, also called asterism.
Lab Created Ruby vs Natural Ruby
What is the difference between lab created and real ruby? It is hard to say which is which, but these points need to be kept in mind while buying ruby.
◘ A real ruby has the aesthetic look naturally. However, gemologists make the color appear as they're expected to look. Whereas lab-created ruby will be flawless having no inclusions like a natural one.
◘ Secondly, the mineral composition, the heat, and the pressure can be effectively controlled while making a ruby in the lab, which is not possible in the case of a natural ruby.
◘ It is astonishing to know that prices of natural ruby go high solely due to its inclusions which are a proof of its purity. However, the rates of lab-created ruby may vary in context of its method of creation and the quantity and quality of minerals used.
◘ Ruby created in a lab may sometimes look fake as too much of perfection doesn't always seem good.
This was a detailed description of lab created ruby gemstones which are as natural as real ruby, but are still not considered as natural. The above segment is a profound example of that. So, before adding these flawless cherries to your jewelry collection, it is always recommended to assess, analyze, and then buy it.