Charles Rose

The popularity of lab-grown diamonds is on the rise. People are becoming more conscious about the impact their buying decisions have on the environment, which has resulted in a higher demand for diamonds that are more eco-friendly. But despite the rising popularity of lab-grown diamonds, there are still a lot of misconceptions about them. In this article, we'll answer all your questions about lab-grown diamonds. We'll tell you how they are made, how they differ from natural diamonds, and how they compare carat for carat.

What are lab-grown diamonds?

Lab-grown diamonds are exactly that—diamonds that are grown in a laboratory. A lab-grown diamond is created using one of two methods: high pressure, high temperature (HPHT), or chemical vapor deposition (CVD). The CVD method starts with a small diamond “seed” that is placed in a chamber full of heated carbon, which causes the carbon to crystallise around the seed and form a diamond.

The HPHT is a less popular method and entails the use of graphite that is heated and crushed in a large machine until the graphite turns into a diamond. 
Once the diamond has been grown, it undergoes the same cutting and polishing process as a natural diamond. This ensures that the lab-grown diamond is just as exquisite as its natural counterpart.

Lab-grown Diamonds

Lab-grown diamonds vs natural diamonds-how do they differ?

There are five fundamental ways in which lab-grown diamonds differ from natural diamonds: price, environmental impact, how the diamond is made, nitrogen content, and inclusions.

Lab-grown diamonds are typically 30-50% more affordable than natural diamonds of similar quality. This is because they do not require the same amount of mining and processing as natural diamonds. In addition, lab-grown diamonds have a much lower environmental impact than natural diamonds. The diamond growing process is energy-intensive, but it does not require the same amount of water or land as diamond mining.

Another difference between lab-grown diamonds and natural diamonds is that lab-grown diamonds are man made, while natural diamonds are formed naturally over millions of years. Additionally, lab-grown diamonds do not contain any nitrogen, however, this can’t be seen by the naked eye.

Last, the inclusions found in natural diamonds differ from the inclusions found in lab-grown diamonds, which we’ll discuss in-depth later in the article.

Other than that, they are almost identical in every way. Lab-grown diamonds have similar physical and chemical properties as natural diamonds, and they are just as hard and durable. In fact, both types of diamonds are identical in colour and clarity, which makes it impossible for jewellers to identify the type of diamond without specialised equipment.

The pros and cons of lab-grown diamonds vs natural diamonds 

Lab-grown diamonds offer a few advantages over natural diamonds. They are more affordable, can have a lower environmental impact, and are man-made, which means that they can be grown to order.

There are also some disadvantages to lab-grown diamonds. They are not as rare as natural diamonds, which influence their market value and their ability to hold value. Furthermore, they may not have the same emotional value as some people may feel that they do not have the same romance as natural diamonds.

Natural diamonds in contrast are incredibly rare and unique and have been treasured for centuries. Due to the rarity and the prestige endowed upon diamonds, they have a certain kind of romance that lab-grown diamonds lack. Additionally, they also hold their value better and may increase in value over time depending on the demand and supply. However, natural diamonds are more expensive and have an impact on the environment.

How to tell if a diamond is lab-grown or natural?

The only way to be sure if a diamond is lab-grown or natural is to take it to a qualified jeweller or gemmologist who will examine it under magnification and with specialised equipment.

To the naked eye, however, natural and lab-grown diamonds are identical, and it is impossible to tell them apart. If you’re considering a lab-grown diamond, be sure to do your research and work with a qualified jeweller to find the best option for you.

Why are lab-grown diamonds cost-effective?

Lab-grown diamonds are more affordable than natural diamonds for a few reasons. First, they do not require the same amount of mining and processing as natural diamonds therefore, they have much lower “production costs”.

Second, lab-grown diamonds can be grown to order. This means that you do not need to wait for millions of years for a natural diamond to form—you can have one grown in a matter of weeks or months. This also means that lab-grown diamonds can be mass-produced and are therefore not as rare as natural diamonds.

A diamond’s price is determined by the market, which means higher demand and lower supply will cause higher diamond prices. Since lab-grown diamonds can be mass-produced in a short amount of time, they are not as valuable as natural diamonds and are more affordable. Although lab-grown diamonds lack the romance and rarity associated with natural diamonds, their lower cost means you’ll be able to purchase a larger diamond for a fraction of the price. However, if you feel that lab-grown diamonds lack the charm you want then natural diamonds would be more suitable.

Are lab-grown diamonds more environmentally friendly and ethical?

Lab-grown diamonds can be a more environmentally friendly and ethical option than natural diamonds. Natural diamonds are sourced through mining which is an environmentally intensive process that can cause pollution, damage to ecosystems, and, in rare cases, social conflict. To combat the issue of conflict diamonds or “blood diamonds”, the diamond industry has created the Kimberley Process, which ensures that diamonds are procured in an ethical manner. As of today, 99% of diamonds available on the market are ethically sourced.

In contrast, lab-grown diamonds are made in a lab using extreme heat and pressure generated by electricity. Although the diamond growing process does not require the use of land and water resources, the labs still require a significant amount of energy for the diamond growing process. Since we largely rely on electricity generated by fossil fuel, an energy-intensive process such as diamond growing still has an impact on the environment. Therefore, it is unclear whether lab-grown diamonds are a better choice for the environment.

What is a GIA certification?

GIA is the Gemological Institute of America, and they are a leading authority on diamonds, diamond research, and education. In the jewellery industry, diamonds are often referred to as having a GIA certification. This simply means that the diamond has been assessed and graded based on its
colour, cut, clarity, and carat weight

. A diamond that has a GIA certification has undergone an assessment to determine its quality and receives a report to describe its grading results. It does not mean that the diamond has been appraised, as the GIA only assesses the quality of the diamond and not the value or the price.

Are lab-grown diamonds GIA certified?

Lab-grown diamonds can come with a GIA report. According to the GIA, they have been
grading lab-grown diamonds since 2007

and the traditional grading scales for cut, colour, and clarity are used to assess lab-grown diamonds. Additionally, the report will include what method was used to grow the diamond and whether there were any additional treatments used to further whiten the diamonds.

Are lab-grown diamonds worth the money?

This is a difficult question to answer, as the value of diamonds is subjective. Some people believe that lab-grown diamonds are just as valuable as natural diamonds, while others believe natural diamonds are more valuable because of their unique history and scarcity. Another factor to consider is how well lab-grown diamonds can hold their value. Since a lab-grown diamond can be grown in a matter of weeks, they lack the scarcity that natural diamonds have. Second, it is easier to have lab-grown diamonds made-to-order, which makes repurchasing existing lab-grown diamonds futile.This affects their total value and may influence whether they are worth the money. Natural diamonds are lower in supply and are more sought after, which is why they hold their value better than lab-grown diamonds.

Ultimately, whether to buy a lab-grown diamond is a personal choice and comes down to your own preferences and budget. If you are interested in diamonds and want to save money, then lab-grown diamonds may be a good option for you. However, if you place a high value on the history and uniqueness of natural diamonds, then you may want to opt for those. Another factor to consider is the intended recipient and the purpose of the diamond. For special occasions, such as an engagement or an anniversary, a natural diamond may be a better choice since they have a romantic value. In contrast, if you want to expand your jewellery collection to add more variety, then lab-grown diamonds may be a good option.



Do lab-grown diamonds test as real diamonds?

All diamonds, whether they are lab-grown or natural, will test as genuine diamonds provided that the right equipment is used.This is because they are made of the same material (carbon) and have the same physical and chemical properties. The only way to tell the difference between a lab-grown diamond and a natural diamond is through magnification, testing with specialised equipment, or by asking about the diamond’s history or GIA report.

The fundamental difference between lab-grown diamonds and natural diamonds is the method through which the diamonds were made, that is, through nature or man.  

This also means that lab-grown diamonds cannot be referred to as synthetic diamonds, as this is technically inaccurate. Synthetic diamonds or diamond simulants are gems such as moissanite and cubic zirconia which are not as hard and durable but look very similar to genuine diamonds. They are not made of carbon but are made of zirconium dioxide or silicon carbide instead and are significantly more affordable than diamonds.

Are lab-grown diamonds as strong as natural diamonds?

Lab-grown diamonds are just as hard and durable as natural diamonds. They can be used in all the same ways, for jewellery, industrial applications, and more. Through the HPHT and CVD methods used to grow natural diamonds, diamond makers can grow diamonds that are as hard as natural diamonds with both natural and lab-grown diamonds registering a 10 on the Mohs scale.

Do lab-grown diamonds have resale value?

Though many factors impact the price of lab-grown diamonds, one of them is their resale value. Because lab-grown diamonds are not as uncommon and do not maintain their value as natural diamonds do, it would appear that they have no resale value. Some jewellers think that laboratory diamond resale value exists because there is a rising interest in diamonds that have the potential to be environmentally friendly and sustainable, which bodes well for the future of lab-grown diamonds. However, it is difficult to confirm whether the interest in lab-grown diamonds will continue to grow as jewellers cannot predict the future trends of diamond shopping.

Keep in mind that diamonds are generally acquired for important occasions and are frequently passed down through the generations as family heirlooms. As a result, their value is determined by their symbolism to the owner rather than as an investment.

What are inclusions in diamonds?

Inclusions are impurities, or flaws that are found in diamonds. They can be anything from small dark spots to large cracks. Inclusions affect a diamond's clarity, and are present in both natural and lab grown diamonds. Natural diamonds can have different types of inclusions when compared with lab grown diamonds, which is one way experts may be able to tell them apart. However, not all inclusions are visible to the naked eye, and many do not affect a diamond’s durability or beauty.

There are many types of inclusions found in natural diamonds, but the most common inclusions are pinpoint inclusions, feathering, and cavities.

Pinpoint inclusions are the most typical sort of diamond inclusion. They are little black spots that can be seen on a diamond’s table.

Feathering is the second most common inclusion. These are small cracks inside the diamond and could affect the durability of the diamond.

Finally, cavities are the least common inclusion. A diamond cavity is a small hole in the diamond that significantly reduces the quality of the diamond. Diamonds with this type of inclusion are usually reserved for industrial use, such as making drill bits.

Lab-grown diamonds can have inclusions, just like natural diamonds. However, because they are grown in a controlled environment, the number and type of inclusions found in lab-grown diamonds are often different from those found in natural diamonds. This is one way that experts can tell lab-grown diamonds apart from natural diamonds. Lab-grown diamonds will contain either metallic inclusions or graphite inclusions, depending on the method used to grow the diamonds. Diamonds grown through the HPHT process will contain metallic inclusions, whereas diamonds grown through the CVD process will contain graphite inclusions. 

Bottom line

Choosing between natural and laboratory-grown diamonds is a difficult choice. They appear identical, but they differ in price, overall value, and reputation. When shopping for your next diamond, consider the occasion and purpose, your budget, the future value of the diamond, and how you feel about both types of diamonds before deciding. This will ensure that you buy a gem that is perfect for you.

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