Ruby Comparison - Natural v. Chatham Lab-Grown

What's the difference and which is better? Lab-Grown or Natural Ruby?

As mentioned in a previous blog: 5 Trending Colored Stone Choices, "Rubies have long been prized for their dark red color, with “blood-red” rubies being the most valuable. In fact, in the United States, if a ruby is not red enough, it’ll be classified as a pink sapphire. Rubies are also prized for its excellent hardness, falling behind only moissanite and diamond in that facet."

Ruby is originally known as a natural occurrence, a mined gem alongside many others of luxury such as diamond, emerald, amethyst, morganite, aquamarine, and etc. Until recently, natural gems could not be replicated in the lab, but after much R&D in gemology, they are now available on the market for those who wish to glam it up in color and reduce mining in the process!

Let's take a gander at what natural ruby looks like set on two different ring designs, cut into two different fancy shapes, on and off hand.

Dating back to ancient history, one cannot argue the fact that each natural ruby comes with a story. Natural ruby is a rarity because of its growth in nature. Oftentimes, we want the gift of jewelry to resemble the unique story of our own, and what better than with a crystal that has stood the test of time?

We love both variations natural and lab-grown! Scroll down below for a simple point by point breakdown of how each compares.

Lab-grown Ruby

While on the topic of comparison, we first want to give you a brief introduction to Proud Pioneer of Lab-Grown Gemstones, Chatham Laboratories.

Who is Chatham? Get ready crystal lovers. Founded 75 years ago, Chatham is recognized as the leader of laboratory-grown gemstones, with a large selection of rubies, blue, pink, white, and yellow sapphires, emeralds, padparadscha, alexandrite, aqua blue spinel, and diamond. So recognized that they are in the collection of the Smithsonian Institution and the collection of the Gemological Institute of America.

These gemstones have the same physical, chemical, and optical properties as mined gems do. Chatham does not “make” gems, but rather controls the environment so that crystals can grow naturally: recreating the conditions in which gems grow in the earth. So the reason why they look real is because they are! They're just grown in-lab.

One great benefit of owning a Chatham lab-grown gem is that it does not have the many "inclusions" that natural gemstones contain. Inclusions are known to create durability issues and may cause breakage and cavities. Chatham's master gemstone cutters actually cut away 80% of the rough crystals to select only the best color and clarity; less inclusions, more durability.

Because they're grown in-lab under a controlled environment, all of Chatham's gemstones produce the most vividly saturated color possible and are neither enhanced nor color treated as a result. 

See our example of the Lab-Grown Ruby below.

the breakdown


  • Natural means rare, unique in nature--such as one's love for another.
  • Inclusions are imperfections that some like to embrace as part of the mined gem culture, proof each gem is one of a kind
  • Classic, has an old world charm to it
  • Comes with a story


  • Grown with the same physical, chemical, optical properties as natural
  • Consistence in quality and color, not enhanced or color-treated
  • More durable, same hardness.
  • Little to no inclusions!
  • Cost savings--sometimes dramatic, other times modest
  • Smaller carbon footprint

Can you tell the difference visually from looking at both?