-lab Everything You Need to Know Before Buying Lab-Grown Diamonds
Lab-grown diamonds are man-made in a laboratory under highly controlled conditions with the help of diamond seeds. Diamond growers use advanced technology processes including high-pressure high temperature (HPHT) to duplicate how diamonds naturally develop under the earth’s crust. Just like “real” diamonds, these lab-created diamonds consist of pure carbon atoms.
Lab-Created Diamonds vs Diamond Simulants like Zirconia
You need to know that there is a huge difference between lab-grown diamonds and simulated diamonds, like cubic zirconia or moissanite. Diamond simulants may look very similar to real diamonds, but they are not made of carbon crystals. Simulated diamonds lack the chemical makeup and properties of naturally formed diamonds and this is why they are priced much lower than lab-grown diamonds. You can see the difference between the two just by looking at them with the naked eye. You can find additional information about diamonds vs. moissanite here.
|Lab Grown Diamonds||Authentic Diamonds|
|Can be created in just a few weeks in a lab||Takes billions of years to form beneath the earth’s crust|
|Made of carbon atom structures||Consist of carbon atom structures|
|Created in bulk quantities||Each one is uniquely formed|
|Priced much lower with negligible resale value||Priced much higher with a resale value of 50% or more|
|Available in a variety of shapes and sizes||Available in a variety of shapes and sizes|
|Marginally desired for an engagement ring||Highly desired for an engagement ring|
Telling the Difference Between a Lab-Grown Diamond and a Natural One
There is no way to tell the difference between a lab-grown diamond and an authentic diamond. Especially not without the proper equipment. Even a trained gemologist cannot tell the difference, even when looking at it through a loupe. Therefore, what you need to see is the grading report.
If a skilled gemologist is trying to determine whether a diamond is authentic or created in a lab, they look at it under magnification. The inclusions in a naturally formed diamonds look a little different than those in lab-created diamonds. Also, real diamonds reflect light differently than synthetic diamonds.
Generally speaking, when you compare a lab-grown diamond side-by-side with an authentic diamond, you really can’t see any difference.
What are lab-grown diamonds called in the marketplace?
Lab-grown diamonds have a variety of names in the marketplace, depending on the source. You will see them being marketed as lab-created diamonds, engineered diamonds, cultured diamonds, man-made diamonds, and synthetic diamonds. If you come across stones labeled with such names, you know they’re selling man-made diamonds created in a lab.
Are lab-grown diamonds considered fake or are they real?
Even though they’ve been scientifically grown in a lab rather than forming naturally in the earth, lab-grown diamonds are very real.
This is because they exhibit the same chemical as well as optical properties as naturally formed diamonds. Look at the engagement ring sets on this page. Each set shows one with a lab-grown diamond and one with a naturally formed diamond. Can you tell the difference?
Lab-grown diamonds are identical, in their chemical and physical makeup, to naturally formed diamonds. They are also just as hard. It takes billions of years for diamonds to form naturally in the earth’s crust, whereas it can take as little as a few weeks to create diamonds in a lab.
Do lab-created diamonds last as long as naturally formed diamonds?
We have seen many ad campaigns using the phrase, “A diamond is forever.” This slogan has become famously synonymous with diamonds. But people are now debating the truth of this claim.
As lab-grown diamonds have become more common, some have started worrying that perhaps only natural diamonds that took billions of years to form deep within the earth could live up to this claim. Fortunately, those with lab-grown diamonds can rest easy knowing that your stone will last just as long as any diamond mined from the earth, which is forever.
Are lab-grown diamonds cheaper?
Yes. Synthetic diamonds are less expensive than mined diamonds. But don’t forget that the 4 Cs still apply when it comes to price: cut, clarity, color and carat weight. Lab-created diamonds are 20%-30% cheaper than mined diamonds. You have far more flexibility with the 4 Cs and should be able to get a higher quality stone for your money.
There will be fewer and smaller inclusions in a lab-grown diamond than you would get for the same amount of money if you were buying a naturally formed diamond. For example, a 1-carat round diamond, excellent cut, VS2 clarity, and G color will cost less than a lesser quality 1-carat round diamond, ideal cut, SI1 clarity with H color from an online diamond retailer of naturally formed stones.
Do lab-grown diamonds have inclusions?
Yes. They occur in lab-grown diamonds, just like they do in almost all naturally formed diamonds. The same processes that occur when diamonds form in the earth are mimicked in the laboratory to create diamonds. So, inclusions will occur due to the extreme pressure, heat and unique growth patterns, etc.
Are there obvious differences in a lab-created diamond?
No. The differences are far from obvious, but some physical distinctions need clarification. For example, on the surface diamonds that grow in a lab have the same physical appearance and properties as naturally formed diamonds. Hence, most jewelers find it very difficult telling the difference.
Does the GIA grade Lab-Grown Diamonds?
Yes. The GIA has been grading them since 2007 and issuing GIA Laboratory-Grown Diamond Reports. As of July 1, 2019, the GIA stopped using the term “synthetic” in describing these diamonds. The GIA laboratory-grown Diamond Reports has the standard GIA cut, clarity and color grades for reference purposes, using descriptive terms for clarity and color.
They also state, “This is a man-made diamond produced by CVD (Chemical Vapor Deposition) or HPHT (High-Pressure High Temperature) growth processes and may include post-growth treatments to change the color.”
How do you grow diamonds in a laboratory?
Using advanced technology, jewelers like James Allen grow diamonds in the lab from tiny carbon seeds derived from pre-existing diamonds. Extreme heat and pressure or an innovative Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD) process duplicates how diamonds naturally form. Some jewelers also treat CVD lab-grown diamonds with pressure and heat after they reached their full size.
Fancy colored diamonds grown in a lab are formed when certain trace elements get involved while they’re growing, just like with naturally formed diamonds. With lab-grown diamonds, either white or fancy colored, the precise composition of trace elements may be different than exists in naturally formed diamonds. The only way you can distinguish lab diamonds from natural diamonds is with special equipment designed to detect tiny variations in trace elements and how the crystal formed.
Lab-Created Diamonds vs. Natural Diamonds
As lab grown diamonds become more popular, consumers will be curious about the differences between those and diamonds mined from the earth.
The main difference, of course, is in how they are each formed. But if you’re trying to determine which one is better; it is a matter of opinion. For some people, a mined diamond represents one of nature’s mysterious miracles. Others may prefer a lab diamond as the product of highly advanced technology.
The truth is that lab-created diamonds are not competing with naturally formed diamonds. No matter what their origin, diamonds represent love and commitment. The significance is not in its size, GIA grade or cost, it is in the deep and abiding love it’s meant to represent.
Advantages of Lab Grown Diamonds
Creating diamonds in a lab is far gentler on Mother Earth than mining diamonds. For example, for every single carat of diamond weight pulled from the earth, just under 100 sq. ft. of land is dug up, creating nearly 6,000 lbs. of mineral and other waste.
Ethically & Safely Sourced
Moreover, one injury occurs each year for every 1,000 workers in the diamond mining industry, whereas zero injuriecos are associated with lab-created diamonds.
Additionally, because lab-grown diamonds have a shorter supply chain, they can cost 20% – 30% less than naturally formed mined diamonds.
Lab-Created Diamonds are Guaranteed Conflict-Free
In summary, many diamond mines across the world are involved in serious human rights and social issues. People are now more aware of this than ever before and as a result, many are only looking for conflict-free diamonds. Fortunately, several diamond vendors proudly sell ethically sourced, conflict-free loose diamonds and engagement rings.
When you buy a conflict-free Kimberley Process certified diamond, you can be sure that it is not associated with any rebel groups. However, we would recommend that you go even further to make sure that any diamond you buy has been mined and shipped as ethically as possible. I ask you to consider shopping at James Allen for ethically sourced diamonds. You can be certain that their diamonds are conflict free.
James Allen has many beautiful conflict-free diamonds to choose from. You can feel good about yourself knowing that you’re not only protecting the environment but also making a socially conscious purchase. Every diamond that James Allen sells complies with the Kimberly Process and is conflict-free certified.