What is a lab diamond? We have all heard the word in recent years but what are they?
With their increasing popularity in the jewelry industry, many wonder if they are a real substitute or a cheap imitation.
Dive deeper as we explore the science behind this new technology.
The truth: are lab-grown diamonds real?
Yes, lab-created diamonds are real. They are made of the same material as natural diamonds and have the same chemical, physical, and optical properties. The only difference is that they are created in a laboratory environment.
Understanding lab-created diamonds: what are they and how they're made?
The process of growing lab-created diamonds begins with a seed crystal of carbon. This seed crystal is placed in a controlled environment with high temperature and pressure. This process is called chemical vapor deposition (CVD). It mimics the natural conditions deep within the earth where diamonds form.
Over weeks or months, the diamond grows larger as more carbon atoms attach to the seed crystal. The diamond is then cut and polished into a finished gemstone once it reaches its desired size.
Diamonds can be made from any source of carbon. Ashes of loved ones and pets can now be used as the carbon seed for a laboratory-grown diamond.
How are they different from mined diamonds?
mined diamonds are formed over millions of years underground, where extreme heat and pressure cause them to form.
Besides the origin of the diamonds, the biggest difference between mined and lab-grown diamonds is their cost. On average, lab-grown diamonds cost 30% to 40% less than mined diamonds, since they don't need the same investment in mining costs.
Also, lab-grown diamonds are less included than mined diamonds and have a higher clarity grade due to how they're grown.
Finally, ethical considerations also play a role in the difference between these two types of diamonds. Lab-created diamonds are more eco-friendly since they don't need mining, which can harm the environment. They do require large amounts of energy to power the machines so they are not as environmentally friendly as a reclaimed mined diamond which requires zero energy or mining to source.
Differentiating between natural and synthetic stones
- Formed over millions of years deep within the earth's crust
- Mined from the earth using heavy machinery and explosives
- Highly valuable due to their history as an investment
- maintain their value over time, possibly increasing with an investment quality stone.
Synthetic (Lab-Grown) Diamonds
- Formed in a few weeks or months in a controlled environment
- No mining required
- Often less expensive than natural diamonds
- There is no resale market for laboratory diamonds. The investment is not as stable.
The advantages of lab-created diamonds over natural diamonds
- Lab-grown diamonds are typically much less expensive than natural diamonds.
- They are more eco-friendly since they aren't mined.
- They can be created in different colors and with different clarity ratings.
- Some people prefer knowing exactly where their diamonds came from and how it was made.
The disadvantages of lab-grown diamonds over natural diamonds.
- Lab-grown diamonds can have impurities, but so can natural diamonds.
They are energy intensive to create.
- Some people believe that lab-grown diamonds are not "real" diamonds.
- They do not have the same resale value as a natural diamond.
The impact of lab-grown diamonds on the environment and sustainability
While neither process is completely environmentally friendly, lab-grown diamonds are much more sustainable.
Lab-grown diamonds use less energy and emit fewer carbon dioxide emissions during production than mined diamonds.
Large-scale production of lab-grown diamonds is also faster and does not require risky deep-mining activities that frequently cause environmental disruption.
They offer an increasingly attractive option for consumers looking for conflict-free stones.
The future of the diamond industry with the rise of lab-grown diamonds
Some experts predict that lab-created diamonds will eventually take over the market completely (with a projected growth rate of 15% to 20%) as they are more affordable and earth-friendly than mined diamonds.
But, others believe that there will always be a demand for natural diamonds, as they are seen as a symbol of love and rarity.
Only time will tell what the future of the diamond industry holds. But one thing is for sure, lab-grown diamonds are here to stay.
Reclaimed mined diamonds are the most responsible choice
In our opinion, the best purchase for an investment-worthy diamond is to choose a reclaimed mined diamond. The billion-year-old history and origin of the stone combined with the zero energy footprint makes them the best choice. The price will compare to a newly mined diamond, but that investment is protected. The historical resell market on mined diamonds can be trusted. There is no resale market on lab diamonds, meaning your low initial investment in a lab-grown stone is not something you would be able to recoup if needed.