If you’re looking to buy a diamond, you’re probably wondering if you should buy a natural stone or a lab-grown one. The truth is, both types of stones are identical, so there’s no need to worry about the difference. While there are some differences, the overall quality of either type is the same. However, different buyers have different priorities. While most people don’t notice a difference between a lab-grown diamond and a natural stone, if you’re looking to save money on an engagement ring, you’ll want to purchase a natural one.
The topic of lab-grown diamonds is a bit of a contentious one. Lab diamonds have drawn a lot of hype, positive and negative, in recent years. Whether to buy lab-created or natural is a question you should, at the very least, pay some consideration to when shopping for a diamond. Lab diamonds, such as this 1.02ct princess cut from Clean Origin, differ from natural diamonds in that they are man-made in a laboratory rather than naturally occurring in the soil, as natural diamonds are.
In essence, this is the only distinction. Lab diamonds have the same appearance and feel as real diamonds. They come in a variety of forms and sizes, and it would be nearly impossible to tell the difference between a lab diamond and a real diamond if you had both in front of you. They even have nearly identical chemical structures. Despite their similarities, there is a widening gap between lab-created diamonds and real diamonds in terms of price, resale value, and general appeal.
Natural diamonds are generated over billions of years as a result of extreme heat and pressure. Lab-grown diamonds are made in a laboratory and can be made in as little as a few weeks. Natural diamonds frequently contain a trace quantity of nitrogen, whereas synthetic diamonds do not. The sole intrinsic distinction is that man-made diamonds are classified as “genuine” diamonds by the US Federal Trade Commission, or FTC, according to the gem’s carbon-based chemical makeup.
How Do You Tell The Difference Between A Lab-Created Diamond And A Genuine Diamond?
There isn’t much of a distinction between the two. To distinguish which is which, even a skilled gemologist will need sophisticated equipment. A specialist can see minor differences in the inclusions of lab-grown vs. mined diamonds under magnification.
Checking the diamond’s certification is the best way to detect the difference. Jewelers are required to declare whether a diamond was made naturally or synthetically, so if you shop at a respectable store, you will always have this information. Pay close attention to this information because it will affect the price and resale value of your diamond.
Should You Purchase A Lab-Created Or Natural Diamond?
It’s difficult to give a universal response to this topic because various buyers have different objectives. If the appearance of a diamond is all that matters to you, it doesn’t matter whether it’s man-made or natural. Unless you tell them, no one will notice.
There are, however, some significant distinctions that should make you reconsider your selection.
The price of lab diamonds is still fluctuating. We discovered lab diamonds were 23-25 percent more expensive than genuine diamonds just 3-4 years ago. Lab diamonds are now substantially less expensive than real diamonds. Between 50 and 60 percent less expensive, or even more in some circumstances.
Take two diamonds from James Allen as an example of the pricing disparity between natural and lab-grown diamonds today. The first is a 6.440-dollar natural 1.01-carat G VS1 round diamond. It costs $1,920 for a lab-created 1.00-carat G VS1 round diamond. Despite having virtually comparable grades, the lab-created diamond costs 30% less. The supply differential is the reason for the disparity. Due to the billions of years, it takes for nature to make a diamond, the natural diamond supply is restricted. However, because there is no supply limit on synthetic diamonds, the price continues to fall as supply increases.
The price of lab-grown diamonds is plummeting at an alarming rate, with no indications of slowing or reversal in sight. Consider this while making your purchase: the identical lab diamond purchased for $1,000 today could be worth a fraction of that in just one or two years. While natural diamonds are more valuable, lab-grown diamonds are much cheaper than natural diamonds. They can cost anywhere from 50 to 60 percent less than natural ones. A lab-grown, synthetic diamond has the same chemical composition as a natural diamond. Hence, it’s important to know the difference between the two. While natural diamonds are more expensive, a lab-grown diamond is much more affordable. The price difference between the two types of diamonds depends on your budget and the preferences of your significant other.
The price difference between natural and synthetic diamonds is greater than the difference in resale value. Lab-created diamonds are nearly hard to market without accepting cents on the dollar, whereas natural diamonds maintain roughly 50% of their initial value. When you buy something, you lose a significant portion of its worth the instant you buy it.
We must also take into account how the price of real diamonds vs. synthetic diamonds fluctuates over time. Even before factoring in the difference in resale value, your synthetic diamond will most likely be worth less than a natural diamond of equal grade, with lab-created diamonds declining in price and natural diamonds historically gaining in value.
Some people may be concerned about the environmental and humanitarian consequences of natural diamond mining.
That isn’t to argue that buying natural diamonds is always unethical. However, it goes to reason that man-made diamonds are more long-term sustainable than those mined from the ground.
This is a topic that has sparked some debate. Indeed, the Federal Trade Commission has warned several jewelers against making false claims about their jewelry being sustainable or environmentally beneficial.
Natural diamonds are better for the environment than synthetic diamonds, according to a report by the Diamond Producers Association, due to the carbon-intensive process of making lab diamonds.
Overall, it appears that there is still no consensus on whether lab diamonds are a more sustainable option.
The difference between a 1.01ct F/VS1 lab-created princess cut (on the left) and a 1.00ct F/VS1 natural princess cut (on the right) (on the right)
To the naked eye, lab diamonds and mined diamonds look nearly identical. It’s almost probable that no one will notice if you buy a ring with a lab-created diamond unless you tell them.
Lab diamonds can have very minute inclusions that aren’t found in real diamonds. These inclusions are rarely apparent without the use of magnification instruments.
A lab diamond will almost always have the same brightness and shine as a real diamond, so if you’re primarily searching for a diamond that looks gorgeous, lab diamonds can be a cost-effective option without sacrificing quality.
Which Diamond Should You Purchase?
While diamonds should not be considered an investment, acquiring a piece of jewelry that is expected to retain its value over time makes sense. Natural diamonds are the way to go if this is important to you.
Don’t rule out the possibility of using synthetic diamonds. Couples on a tight budget may be able to obtain a lovely ring that might otherwise be out of their reach by opting for a lab-created diamond. However, keep in mind that the same diamond may be available for a fraction of the price in the future.
Is Lab-Grown Diamond Real?
Many people mistake lab diamonds for “fake” diamonds, although this is not the case. Unlike cubic zirconia or moissanite, lab diamonds have a carbon-based chemical composition, indicating that they are “genuine” diamonds. These diamond simulants are likewise manufactured in a lab, however, they do not contain carbon atoms and hence are not actual diamonds. There is a distinct dropoff from a lab-created diamond to a stimulant like cubic zirconia or moissanite, unlike lab diamonds vs. genuine diamonds, which are inherently equal in look, feel, and hardness.
Simulants lack the brightness and radiance of genuine diamonds. Cubic zirconia has a lower refractive index than diamond, 2.2 vs. 2.42. Moissanite has a higher refractive index (2.65–2.79) than quartz. Moissanite’s higher refractive index results in a brilliant tinted reflection in dazzling colors that may be a touch too much for some.
In addition, there is a difference in hardness. On the Mohs scale of hardness, diamonds are a perfect 10, moissanite is 9-9.5, and cubic zirconia is 8.
Are GIA-Certified Lab-Grown Diamonds Available?
Natural diamonds are rated on the same scale as lab diamonds in terms of cut, clarity, color, and carat weight. The GIA certifies lab-grown diamonds, although there aren’t many of them yet because they’ve only recently begun. For lab diamonds, we favor IGI certifications because they provide a specific color and clarity grading and are considerably easier to come by.
Are Diamonds Made In Lab Good?
Lab-created diamonds are nearly equivalent to “genuine” or natural diamonds in appearance, feel, and chemical composition. They are also less expensive, and some consider them to be a more environmentally friendly option. Lab diamonds, on the other hand, have a far lower long-term value than natural diamonds.
Is It Possible To Know If A Diamond Was Made In A Lab?
It’s sometimes impossible to discern the difference between a natural and a lab-created diamond with the naked eye, even for jewelers or experienced gemologists. A gemologist, on the other hand, may be able to detect microscopic inclusions that indicate a lab-created diamond using sophisticated equipment.
Natural diamonds are cheaper than lab-grown ones. Usually, lab-grown diamonds cost 50% less than natural diamonds. The difference is even more pronounced when it comes to carat weight since the former is more affordable. When you’re shopping for a new diamond, make sure to weigh the pros and cons of each before buying. When you’re choosing a stone for your engagement ring, the best way to compare the two is to look for the one with the highest price tag.
Lab-created diamonds are actual diamonds that have the same brilliance, sparkle, and shine as natural diamonds. Lab diamonds are an option to explore if you want a cut-price diamond that appears just like the real thing. However, keep in mind that choosing a lab diamond over a real diamond reduces your long-term value. Because of the diminishing value of lab diamonds and their low resale value, it’s easy to have buyers’ regret.