WHAT ARE LAB-GROWN DIAMONDS?
Lab-Created or Lab-Grown diamonds are physically, optically and chemically identical to mined diamonds, the main difference is their origin. It is commonly known that mined diamonds are formed over millions of years under the earth’s extreme heat and pressure, lab-grown diamonds can be subjected to similar conditions, however they are ‘grown’ in a matter of weeks in a laboratory. Lab-grown diamonds are also graded in the exact same way as mined diamonds and are ranked on their cut, colour, clarity and carat.
Unlike Moissanite and Cubic Zirconia which are considered simulants, laboratory diamonds have the same chemical substance to mined diamonds so should not be considered fake. These simulants both have different optical properties to diamonds, however lab-grown diamonds have no visual difference between them and mined diamonds.
HOW ARE LAB-GROWN DIAMONDS MADE?
One method uses natural graphite, which is placed in a large machine that crushes it with extreme pressure and temperature in the same way the earth forms natural diamonds. This high pressure, high temperature (HPHT) process causes the graphite to turn into diamond. In the more common chemical vapor disposition (CVD) method, a small diamond crystal “seed” is placed in a small chamber filled with common gases. When the gases are heated, they begin to form layers of carbon onto the seed crystal, growing a diamond.
LAB-GROWN VS MINED
Optical Properties - Visually you would not be able to tell the difference between a lab-grown diamond and a mined diamond, the only way anyone would know would be if you told them. It takes expensive specialised equipment to recognise if a diamond was grown in a lab, however all our lab-grown diamonds come with a certificate which clearly states its origin. Lab-grown diamonds are available in a wide variety of different cuts and fancy colours just like mined diamonds.
Sustainability and Ethics - Even though mined diamonds go through the Kimberly Process there is often no way of knowing exactly where the diamond was mined. Each lab-grown diamond is laser inscribed with a certification number on the girdle which identifies them as lab made. It's estimated that 100,000 tonnes of earth have to be extracted to mine natural diamonds fit for an engagement ring but the energy used to grow a lab-grown diamond is a fraction of this, making them a much more sustainable choice.
Cost and Value - Lab-grown diamonds cost significantly less than mined diamonds, the main reason for this is rarity. Although lab-grown diamonds are fairly new to the jewellery world, they’re readily available and as more diamond laboratories open the less rare they become. Jewellery grade mined diamonds on the other hand are much harder to obtain giving them a hefty price tag. In comparison, a lab-created diamond with exactly the same specifications as a mined diamond can be between 30-50% cheaper. The rarity of a diamond also influences the value; mined diamonds are more likely to hold their value than lab-grown ones so if you are looking for an investment piece, mined would be the better option.
WHY CHOOSE LAB-GROWN?
If cost is an important factor when choosing an engagement ring, then lab-grown diamonds make a great choice. You can get a bigger diamond that has the wow-factor for much less money. Another reason would be sustainability, having the assurance that the diamond is conflict-free and has less impact on the environment might make your purchase that little bit more special.
If you want us to help find the perfect lab-grown diamond, then book an appointment with us.