Learn About Lab-Grown Sapphires
Chatham’s Lab-Created Gemstones & Diamonds
We’ve been absolutely smitten with Chatham’s lab-grown sapphires for years, and recently started offering their lab-grown diamonds. Not only are Chatham's gemstones gorgeous and budget-friendly, but they are the true ethical and conflict-free alternative to mined gemstones.
Grown gems have the exact same molecular & optical properties as mined gems
The first lab-grown emerald in the world was grown by Chatham’s founder
Up to 80% of the rough crystal is sacrificed in order to achieve the perfect cut
Chatham sapphires exhibit incredible color saturation and tone
Where it All Began
The Chatham company was started in a garage in California by Carrol Chatham over 85 years ago. Carrol was the first in the world to ever grow an emerald crystal in a laboratory. In the following decades, he perfected the growing process of other gemstones such as rubies, blue sapphires, and alexandrite. After Carrol’s passing in 1983, Carrol’s son, Tom, inherited the Chatham Company and Carrol’s passion for innovation. Tom ultimately fulfilled Carrol's most ambitious dream: To grow a lab grown diamond identical to those mined from the earth. 85 years later, Chatham is still the pioneer and a leader in the lab-created gemstone industry.
Recreating the Earth in a Lab
Chatham built a chamber in their laboratory that recreates the intense heat and pressure required for the gemstones to grow naturally in the earth. All of the properties of the lab-created gemstones are exactly the same as natural gemstones mined from the earth, including their molecular makeup and their optical properties. Lab-created are every bit as “real” as a gemstone mined from the earth. The only difference is these gemstones are grown in Chatham’s laboratory in a controlled environment.
Grown & Cut to Perfection
The process starts with a “seed” of mined gemstone in Chatham’s laboratory. Minerals and chemicals are then introduced at the right temperature and pressure to allow the gemstone to grow naturally over time into a jewelry-grade rough crystal. Once the rough crystal is grown, Chatham’s master stone cutters then orient the crystal to cut gemstones to perfect proportions, often times sacrificing up to 80% of the rough in order to achieve the perfect cut.
All About that Purity
Did you know that over 95% of mined sapphires are actually treated, usually via extreme heating, but sometimes via irradiation or filling as well? Treatments are a way to greatly enhance a sapphire's color and improve its clarity. Even though the vast majority of mined sapphires undergo treatments, many are falsely labeled as "natural" by suppliers and jewelers. (By definition, a "natural" gemstone means it must be free of any treatments.) Since natural sapphires fetch a huge premium, bogus claims of "natural" sapphires have flooded the market and are all too common in the industry. On the other hand, Chatham expertly controls their laboratory environment so that the crystals grow perfectly and never require any sort of treatment to enhance their color or clarity. They’re simply grown that beautifully. The clarity and color of Chatham’s grown gems are far superior to nearly all mined sapphires -- not to mention their master stone cutters produce higher quality cuts than the vast majority of mined or grown sapphires on the market!