Ever wondered how lab-grown Diamonds stack up against natural and diamond simulants? Our guide demystifies everything about these sparkly, well-loved gems.
What Are Lab Grown Diamonds?
Lab-grown diamonds are lab-created diamonds and not those found by mining the earth. This makes the main difference between natural and lab-grown diamonds simple. One is a geological specimen while the other is manufactured in a lab.
All of this considered, let’s look at what lab-grown diamonds are. We’ll also look at how they’re created, and the real difference between them.
How Are Lab Grown Diamonds Created?
In case you don’t already, diamonds form when a tremendous amount of pressure and heat is applied to coal within the earth’s surface. When it comes to creating an artificial diamond, powerful machinery replicates this force. In doing so, it creates a beautiful diamond.
To go into more detail, when making most lab diamonds a carbon diamond seed is used. These seeds are exposed to tremendous amounts of pressure and heat. This replicates the natural diamond formation process. As a result, gemstones have the same physical and chemical properties as natural diamonds. It is thus difficult to tell the difference between a lab or a natural diamond.
What Is The Origin And History Of Lab Grown Diamonds?
There are so many rumours about the origin of lab-grown diamonds that it can be hard to keep track. There have been multiple reports that it was first created between 1897 and 1928. But there is evidence that General Electric (GE) created the first batch in 1954. By 1970, lab-made gemstones became available. Fast forward to the 1980s and high-quality synthetic stones were available to the public.
In the last decade or so, the quality of these stones has improved. They are now used in manufacturing high-end jewellery and even engagement rings. The cost savings associated with these diamonds are one of the reasons people are investing in them.
Can A Jeweller Tell If A Diamond Is Lab-Created?
No. Due to technological advancements, it can be tricky to determine whether a diamond is natural, or lab-grown. This is because there are no real differences between the two. A diamond lab will be able to analyse the stone in question and provide an accurate assessment.
You can also ask to see the stone’s certification before making your purchase. Unfortunately, due to the nature of lab-created stones, the grading is not uniform. Natural diamonds have a standard grading system to state the quality.
What Are The Pros And Cons Of Lab Grown Diamonds?
Let’s start with the pros, the first being that this is a more sustainable way of producing diamonds. It is also a more cost-effective way of doing so. In fact, in the lab vs natural debate, lab-grown diamonds are often the winner as they cost half the price of natural diamonds. Diamond industry trends have even found that the popularity of lab-created diamonds has skyrocketed as a result.
Having said this, this cost-effective, accessible nature means that the value of these stones will depreciate. The energy needed to power the tools to make these lab diamonds is also taxing on the environment.
Are Lab Grown Diamonds Expensive?
While the stones are expensive, they are a lot cheaper than natural diamonds. This is because they’re more available and cheaper to produce. These stones were a lot more expensive back in the day. However, due to the marvels of modern technology, this has since changed quite a bit.
Are All Lab Grown Diamonds The Same?
Of course, the quality of the diamonds will depend on the technology used to manufacture the gemstones. However, other than this, all lab-grown diamonds are the same and share the same physical and chemical properties as their natural counterparts.
Are Lab Grown Diamonds Worth It?
Contrary to what you may have heard, lab-grown diamonds are definitely worth the investment. In recent years, the quality of the stones manufactured has improved exponentially. With the chemical and physical properties the same as that of a mined or naturally sourced diamond, there’s no reason not to consider it.
In addition to this, lab-created diamonds can cost up to 50% less than natural diamonds which is an impressive cost-saving. As new technologies become available, we can expect this price to continue to drop. The only downside to this is that it impacts the value of the stone, as it is no longer a rare purchase. Instead, the market may become flooded, and without a true test to determine the difference between lab and natural diamonds, it also runs the risk of the two becoming confused.
Lab Grown Diamonds Vs Diamond Simulants
Unlike lab-grown diamonds, simulated diamonds do not have the same physical or chemical properties as a natural diamond. These stones have been created to look like a diamond, however, the manufacturing process is not as labour intensive. Moissanite and cubic zirconia are two of the most common examples of simulated diamonds and offer a fierier sparkle.
This technology has made the manufacturing process a lot more affordable, and as such, synthetic diamonds as well. This means that instead of searching for diamond alternatives, you can rather invest in a lab-grown option. It offers the same properties as the naturally occurring form at a fraction of the price, and unless you take it to a lab, no one will know that it’s a lab-created diamond.
Lab Grown Diamonds Vs Natural Diamonds
We’ve already referred to this topic quite extensively. So, for a quick recap and some additional information, we’ll unpack it a bit more.
In terms of the physical and chemical properties of the two stones, they are identical. This means that they’re equally hard and durable. This has even led to lab-grown diamonds being classified as real diamonds by the Federal Trade Commission.
According to the Gemmological Institute of America, when put to the test, the results return as “real.” They have been testing the stones since 2009 and by 2019, they even decided to stop referring to the stones as synthetic.
There is, however, one way gemmologists can identify the difference between lab vs natural diamonds. Natural diamonds contain trace amounts of nitrogen while lab diamonds do not. Of course, this is not visible to the naked eye and will require lab testing to identify.
When it comes to the production process, natural diamonds take millions of years to form because of pressure in the Earth’s crust. Once formed, they are mined, processed, and polished, and then sold. Lab diamonds on the other hand take only a few months to form using a similar process. The only difference is that it is done in a lab setting and not with the help of Mother Nature. Once grown, they are cut, polished, and sold.
What Is The Future Trend Of Lab Grown Diamonds?
As innovative technologies make high-quality stones more readily available at an affordable price, we can expect to see their popularity increase. The stigma attached to these stones may still exist, however, with no one able to tell the difference without lab testing, we’ll hopefully see this change.
Unfortunately, due to the affordable nature of these stones, the value will continue to decrease. This means that while more people can wear diamonds, they are no longer a rare commodity. In addition to this, you may find people trying to pass off lab stones as natural stones. This is going to be a tricky process to manage as it’s hard to tell the difference. As a consumer, your best bet would be to ask for the stone’s certification before making your purchase.
Circling back to the main topic at hand, lab-created diamonds are real diamonds and their quality is impeccable. The only real difference between lab vs natural stones is the production process that results in a substantial price difference.
How Are Lab Grown Diamonds Used Outside Of Jewellery And Fashion?
Much like their natural counterparts, diamonds can be used for a lot more than jewellery and other fashionable items. In fact, these stones are often used in creating industrial drills capable of cracking through hard rocks in the Earth’s surface. This form of drilling is often used when looking for a new gas or oil line and can even be used when mining diamonds. The reason for this is the hardness and durability of the diamonds. Lab-grown diamonds can assist in reducing the costs of making and purchasing this equipment.
Lab diamonds can also be used in dental tools that need to drill into cavities as well as building durable speakers that do not wear out over time. Diamond domes are used in this case and help to protect the components from damage caused by vibration. Some supercomputers also feature diamonds in their components as they are more durable and able to withstand heat.
Taking a step back to the world of jewellery, diamonds are also used in engraving tools. The hard nature of the stones assists the engraver in carefully crafting your heartfelt message.
A Diamond By Any Other Name…
Diamonds will always be seen as a symbol of class and wealth. By making this stone more accessible, more people can invest in a high-quality stone at a fraction of the price. It’s for this very reason that the lab-grown diamond market has started booming and is showing no signs of slowing down.
Chermaine’s journey into the world of gemstones and crystals began as a child, collecting shimmering stones on family vacations. Today, she’s a certified gemologist and spiritual healer, intertwining the physical beauty of jewels with their metaphysical properties.
Chermaine has traveled to mines in Africa, marketplaces in India, and spiritual retreats in Bali, always seeking to deepen her understanding.
Jump To a Section Below
- What Are Lab Grown Diamonds?
- How Are Lab Grown Diamonds Created?
- What Is The Origin And History Of Lab Grown Diamonds?
- Can A Jeweller Tell If A Diamond Is Lab-Created?
- What Are The Pros And Cons Of Lab Grown Diamonds?
- Are Lab Grown Diamonds Expensive?
- Are All Lab Grown Diamonds The Same?
- Are Lab Grown Diamonds Worth It?
- Lab Grown Diamonds Vs Diamond Simulants
- Lab Grown Diamonds Vs Natural Diamonds
- What Is The Future Trend Of Lab Grown Diamonds?
- How Are Lab Grown Diamonds Used Outside Of Jewellery And Fashion?
- A Diamond By Any Other Name…