A diamond for your engagement ring is a significant decision to make. For most of us, purchasing a diamond represents a considerable financial investment, and we want to make the best decision possible. To fully comprehend diamonds, it is necessary to possess extensive specialized knowledge, which most people do not possess (does anyone remember their refractive indexes from high school physics?).
Even more, regrettably, the diamond industry is plagued by a great deal of disinformation and paranoia, which is spread both within the sector and by observers from outside. Natural diamonds have a 400 percent markup, and most mined diamonds are conflict diamonds, among other things. I’ve heard these claims before (both wild falsehoods). However, I have heard some people in the industry refer to lab-grown diamonds as “fakes,” which I believe to be incorrect (also wholly false). To assist you in cutting through some of the hype, we’ve created this guide to help you make an informed and logical decision about what type of diamond is perfect for you.
What Are Lab Grown Diamond?
Diamonds created in a laboratory, also known as synthetic diamonds, artificial diamonds, engineered diamonds, or cultured diamonds, are diamonds that have been grown artificially in a laboratory. Given that diamonds are made up of carbon atoms organized in a crystal structure, scientists can produce diamonds by isolating carbon and piling it on top of itself.
There are two ways in which they accomplish this. HPHT (High Pressure/High Heat) is one method that mimics the conditions in that diamonds are formed deep beneath the surface of the earth, and CVD (Chemical Vapor Deposition) is another method that uses high heat to break carbon atoms free from their molecules, allowing them to settle like snow onto a flat surface until they crystallize into diamonds. To the naked eye, a mined diamond (on the left) and a lab-grown diamond (on the right) can appear identical. Can you tell the difference between the two?
Diamonds created in a laboratory have the same physical, chemical, and visual qualities as diamonds mined. However, even industry specialists cannot distinguish between the two without the use of specialized equipment that scans for crystal patterns and impurities. For example, if a diamond contains nitrogen, it is likely to have originated in the earth’s crust.
Pros & Cons of Lab-Grown Diamonds
Once we establish that lab-generated diamonds are not imitations, the question becomes whether there is a significant difference between spending less for a lab-grown diamond and paying more for a natural diamond. Yes, it is correct. When comparing lab-grown diamonds to their mined counterparts, the following are some advantages and disadvantages.
- The first and most frequently mentioned advantage of lab-grown diamonds is their ability to be environmentally sustainable. However, while this has not yet been thoroughly investigated, it is generally acknowledged that it takes significantly less energy to produce a diamond in a laboratory than mine a diamond from the ground. In addition, there is no need to remove a large amount of soil to generate a lab-made diamond.
- You will be able to determine the origin of your diamond with 100 percent certainty. The topic of conflict diamonds, sometimes known as “Blood” diamonds, is very prevalent in many customers’ thoughts. While the real-world situation is not nearly as dire as many people believe (over 99.9 percent of natural diamonds are conflict-free, and you can purchase verifiable Canadian diamonds of known origin if you so desire), it is reassuring to know that with lab-grown diamonds, you can be completely confident that your diamond did not benefit from war or child labor in any way whatsoever. More information on conflict diamonds can be found here.
- Another significant advantage of lab-grown diamonds is their lower cost. The price of a lab-grown diamond is currently comparable to a genuine diamond, thanks to recent technological advancements. In most circumstances, though, you can still save 10-30 percent by choosing a lab-grown synthetic versus a natural product. Additionally, if you are looking for a colored diamond, the discounts are far more significant (natural colored diamonds are scarce and very expensive).
- Lab-grown diamonds are a novel and fascinating development. The jewelry industry, to put it frankly, has been around for a long time. It is scarce that anything completely fresh appears on the scene. Even though artificial diamonds have been present for decades, it has only recently become apparent that they have reached a quality and size level similar to natural diamonds. Having one can elevate you to the status of a trend-setter.
- When you purchase a recycled natural diamond, you significantly reduce the environmental effect of your purchase. This isn’t necessarily a disadvantage of lab-grown diamonds, but it is something to consider before concluding that purchasing one will help save the environment. Our company has been in the diamond recycling business for more than 25 years, and we have seen a lot of changes in that time. The ability of a diamond to be passed down from generation to generation once it has been mined and cut considerably reduces the environmental impact of the diamond mining process.
- Many individuals are likely unfamiliar with the term “lab-grown diamond.” Of course, you are under no obligation to disclose that you purchased a lab-grown diamond (and even experienced gemologists might not be able to tell). However, due to the disinformation we discussed before, most of the population is unaware of what a lab-created diamond is. They might conclude that you were stingy and purchased a CZ or a fake diamond instead of the genuine article.
- In the same way that lab-grown diamonds benefit more developed economies, they also deprive poorer countries of employment opportunities. When operated appropriately, a diamond mine can be a significant source of revenue for the host country’s economy. Often, these countries are impoverished, and the mine’s employment and income generation can assist in lifting many people out of poverty in these countries.
- The same cannot be said about lab-created diamonds, which are not one of a kind in the same way that genuine diamonds are. Each earth-mined, natural diamond is a one-of-a-kind creation of nature’s artistic expression. On the other hand, diamonds generated in laboratories are mass-produced in diamond factories. As a result, the diamond’s mystique or glitz may have been lost.
- When you cut a natural diamond, you lose some of the mystique, the sensation of awe, and the “it factor” that comes with it. This one may sound ridiculous to some, but there is something unique about knowing that your diamond has a long and illustrious history and tradition to back it up. Our ancestors have worn natural diamonds for hundreds of years, by their ancestors’ ancestors, and so on. Before it was discovered and brought to light, a natural diamond is likely to have spent millions of years under pressure, being honed by the earth’s processes before it was discovered. When comparing this to the sterile setting of a modern laboratory, some of the romance is lost in the process.
How are Lab-Created Diamonds Made?
To comprehend how lab-generated diamonds are manufactured, it is necessary first to comprehend how naturally-mined diamonds are produced. During billions of years beneath the earth’s surface, pure carbon is subjected to extraordinarily high temperatures and pressures, resulting in the formation of natural diamonds. Centuries of ground movement have brought the diamonds to the earth’s surface, where they are found embedded in enormous chunks of rock. These natural diamonds are mined from the rocks by miners, who then sell them to the general public after being extracted.
The same as with naturally mined diamonds, the procedure for creating lab-grown diamonds begins with applying tremendous heat and pressure to carbon. When a single carbon “seed” (a tiny sliver of a natural diamond or a lab-created diamond) is taken to a lab, it is put through a process designed to mirror the earth’s natural mechanism for making diamonds. The carbon seed is slowly transformed into a crystalline structure by using one of two processes: High-Pressure High Temperature (HPHT) or Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD). Labs can “create” diamonds that are chemically, physically, and optically identical to diamonds extracted from the earth’s crust using modern technologies.
Why Choose a Diamond Grown in a Lab?
During the last two decades, diamond mining firms have made great strides toward being more environmentally and socially aware enterprises. Growing a diamond in a laboratory, on the other hand, has a significantly lower environmental impact.
To mine a single one-carat rough diamond, extracting a whopping 250 tonnes of soil is necessary. Destruction of ecosystems in the area surrounding a mine can also occur due to deforestation. Mining firms must conform to strict environmental rules in some nations, while mining companies in other countries are not subject to any regulations.
Another issue that has piqued the interest of buyers who are considering purchasing diamond jewelry is the subject of blood diamonds, sometimes known as conflict diamonds. These diamonds have been mined in war zones to fund armies and rebel groups fighting civil wars in their respective countries. Because of the Kimberley Process, which was established in 2003, most conflict diamonds have been removed from the jewelry market. It is the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme’s (KPCS) responsibility to enforce stringent standards on its member countries to certify shipments of rough diamonds as ‘conflict-free,’ so preventing conflict diamonds from entering the legitimate diamond trade.
On the other hand, the system has been criticized for failing to address the often deplorable working conditions experienced by mine workers. Other challenges persist, such as child labor and occupational health and safety. Lab-grown diamonds provide the buyer with the assurance that no employees were subjected to harsh working conditions during the production of the diamond. Also, assurance that the money spent on the project was not used to sponsor violence.
Is it Worthwhile to Invest in a Lab-Grown Diamond?
Lab-grown diamonds are precious and are worth investing in. Some of the world’s top-quality diamonds are produced due to the efforts of scientists, laboratories, engineers, equipment, time, effort, and expertise of a team of professionals.
Customers of traditional jewelers are frequently told that lab-created diamonds are worthless, yet this couldn’t be further from the truth. In addition to having a resell value, most Earth-Mined Diamonds will have a resell value comparable to that of Lab Created Diamonds.
Can You Tell if a Diamond is Created in a Lab?
Lab-created diamonds are almost impossible to tell apart from natural diamonds. It’s impossible for someone who isn’t trained to tell if you have an artificial diamond. Even many jewelers can’t tell the difference without doing a lot of tests. To ensure that lab-grown diamonds don’t get mixed up with natural diamonds, jewelers have to put laser inscriptions on the diamond’s girdle, the outside edge.
Are Lab-Grown & Mined Diamonds the Same?
Despite their reduced cost, lab-grown diamonds are inferior to mined diamonds in terms of quality or durability. Natural diamonds are also referred to as mined diamonds in some circles. Synthetic diamonds are more cost-efficient than natural diamonds since the makers can avoid the expense of long supply chains. Because there are no mining costs associated with this sustainable alternative, there is no need to sacrifice style or radiance when choosing this option.
Diamonds made in a laboratory are identical in look and structure to diamonds mined from the earth. They feature an internal structure that is nearly equal to that of genuine diamonds and hardness and durability. How the stones reflect light is also identical from one to the next.
Lab-grown diamonds, often known as ethical diamonds, are verified in the same way as mined diamonds are, using the same system and standards. So, much like natural diamonds, they are assessed individually according to the four Cs — carat, cut, clarity, and color – to determine their value.
The only distinction between mined diamonds and lab-grown diamonds is the source of the gems’ formation. One comes from deep inside the earth, while the other is ‘made’ in a laboratory by reproducing the same processes that occur in the earth. These are intense pressure and heat, which are the same conditions that natural diamonds are subjected to when found in the ground.
For the most part, lab-grown diamonds are bigger and have a higher shine than their naturally occurring counterparts. They share the same crystalline structure as diamonds. However, they did not originate naturally on the earth. This is, of course, a decision entirely up to you. If you are being pressured or guilt-tripped into purchasing a diamond you do not want, resist the temptation. There are plenty of people who will tell you that purchasing a natural, earth-mined diamond is morally incorrect or unethical, and the same goes for the opposite. Hopefully, you are aware that what you are looking at is (to use a technical term): bologna.
The goal is to determine what is essential to you in a diamond before shopping (peace of mind, romance, price, how you feel about the purchase, etc.). Now that you are aware of the genuine pros and downsides of lab-grown diamonds, you can decide whether or not to purchase one.