With crystal growing techniques having been around for many years, be spokeman-made gems now drive innovations in a range of industries. This has however not translated into the jewellery industry, where innovations with man-made gem shave remained limited, and most are still produced to replicate mined gems. This paper documents my PhD study which is investigating the design implications, possibilities and limits of utilising man-made gems in the development of jewellery designs. As part of the research, and whilst conducting experiments and developing planned collaborations, the changing role of the designer is explored in relation to the amount of control and input the designer has had in the material development stage. Furthermore, the appreciation of these man-made gems and the context in which they are appraised is explored as part of the contextual review.