Lab-Grown Vs Natural Diamonds: Buying lab-grown diamonds remains a contentious matter. Over the years, lab-created diamonds have drawn a lot of buzz – both positive and negative. Some people think mined diamonds are better, while others believe otherwise.
Lab-grown diamonds feel and look like natural diamonds. They are also available in various sizes and shapes, and have almost the same chemical structures, making it impossible to tell the difference.
In fact, even professional gemologists require specialized equipment to figure out which is which. Through magnification, they can make out minor distinctions between lab-created and mined diamonds.
Basically, lab-grown diamonds differ from their mined counterparts in the way they are created. Instead of being naturally produced in the Earth’s crust, lab-created diamonds are human made in a laboratory.
Comparing lab-grown diamonds vs natural ones is something you need to do when shopping for your jewelry. After all, there is big gap in price, overall desirability, and resale value for lab-grown diamonds.
To make decision making easier, below is a comparison guide you can use as a handy reference.
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Lab-created diamonds are relatively affordable than their mined counterparts – and the price gap has been increasing recently.
About three years ago, lab-grown diamonds were just 25% less expensive than natural diamonds. But today, they can be cheaper by as much as 60%, or even higher in some cases.
For instance, you can get two diamonds for the price of one natural diamond from a reputable company providing ring builder services. Even when they have identical grades, lab-created diamonds can cost only 30% of the price of mined pieces.
The main reason for the huge price difference is supply. Mined diamonds are limited because it takes billions of years to create them, whereas synthetic diamonds don’t have any cap on their supply.
Lab-grown and mined diamonds look the same to the untrained eye. In fact, even with the help of typical gemologist tools, the differences between lab-created diamonds and mined ones won’t be visible unless they are subjected to tests and scrutinized using specific devices. So if you’re wearing lab-created diamond earrings and rings, no one would notice until you tell them.
Lab-grown diamonds will have the same shine and brilliance as natural stones. So if you are searching for stunning diamonds, lab-created options are a wonderful choice without the need to sacrifice appearance and quality.
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If you are concerned about the humanitarian and environmental consequences of mining natural diamonds, then go for lab-grown diamonds because they are more sustainable.
You need to excavate about 100,000 tons of rocks to yield a 1.00 D/flawless diamond. So imagine moving that much Earth regularly just to mine natural diamonds.
On the contrary, producing diamonds in a laboratory will take only about a week or few months, depending on the method used and preferred size. No digging is required. Instead, laboratories use the following two methods:
- High pressure, high temperature (HPHT) – Natural graphite is placed in a large machine, which crushes it using extreme temperature and pressure to transform it into diamond – like how the Earth naturally forms diamonds.
- Chemical vapor deposition (CVD) – A diamond seed crystal is placed in a small chamber full of common gases. Once the gases are heated, they start to form layer upon layer of carbon onto the crystal, causing it to grow.
Either of these methods will require less than a month for most sizes. But for those grown using the CVD method entails additional treatments like irradiation or heat to change or enhance their color.
The long-term value of lab created diamonds is still unsettled, unlike natural diamonds that can retain about 50% of their initial price. The price of lab-grown diamonds could decrease over time if technology advances rapidly in the future. But if the demand for them continues to increase, you can also expect them to increase in value.
With the regular creation of lab-created diamonds and the ever-changing needs of customers today, the demand for mined diamonds has significantly decreased.
Grading and certification
Lab-grown diamonds are appraised by the same rating system used in the industry for the 4Cs – cut, clarity, color, and carat.
Ring builders like Lovbe use third-party diamond ring laboratories to certify their products, assuring their customers that they are buying high-quality diamonds.
Generally, lab-grown diamonds remain limited in their size and weight, but as techniques and technology improve, bigger stones are now gradually becoming available on the market.
Lab-grown diamonds offer more room for customization than their mined counterparts. Since they are human-made, lab-created diamonds can easily be customized, depending on your preferred size, shape, and color.
Fortunately, you can turn to ring builders offering custom design services.
Lab-created diamond specialists provide expert advice, guidance, and support throughout the process. If you’re satisfied with the concept and cost estimate, they will initially ask for a design fee. After which, they will proceed to make a draft of the design.
Upon approval of the design and full payment, they will start with the production process, which can take 25 days or more, depending on the complexity of your specifications. Once finished, they will ship the finished product to your preferred address.
The choice is yours
When choosing between natural diamonds and lab-grown diamonds, there is no right or wrong answer. The choice is entirely up to you.
Remember, when it comes to appearance, it does not matter if you opt for man-made or natural diamonds. No one will notice their differences unless you tell them because both options have the same shine, sparkle, and brilliance. But if you want an affordable, sustainable option, lab-grown diamonds are clearly the better choice.