lab grown diamond engagement rings
Q. Can you tell a lab grown Diamond from a natural Diamond by looking at them?
A. No. Only a gemologist with a microscope can tell a lab grown Diamond from a natural stone. Lab grown Diamonds have exactly the same optical & chemical properties as a natural Diamond & are actually ten times more durable.
Q. How much cheaper are lab grown Diamonds?
A. Prices vary but they are usually around half the price of a natural Diamond of the equivalent carat, colour & clarity.
Q. What are lab grown Diamonds?
A. The original lab grown Diamonds were made by recreating the same conditions as those found in the nature when natural Diamonds occur in the Earth. These conditions are extreme pressure & temperature or HPHT (high pressure, high temperature). After this, the Chemical vapour deposition technique (CVD) was also introduced. Both techniques involve taking a “seed” of Carbon & adding either pure carbon graphite or a carbon rich gas which adheres to the seed & grows the Diamond.
Q. Are lab grown Diamonds more ethical?
A. Yes. When it comes to the energy used to mine/create the two types of Diamond results of studies vary with lab grown being shown to use between 2 & 3 times less energy. In other environmental factors though lab grown are far more ethical. 250 tonnes of earth are shifted for every 1ct of natural Diamond mined. Some natural Diamond mines are now so large they are visible from space. Also, CO2 emissions are usually a toxic byproduct of traditional Diamond mining. Traditional Diamond mining has also been linked with water pollution & other environmental damage. None of these things are an issue with lab grown stones but their production does require a lot of energy. There are already lab grown Diamond manufacturers that are certificated carbon neutral though & hopefully more will follow.
What are Lab Grown Diamonds?
In recent years, the demand for lab grown diamonds has grown exponentially, especially amongst millennials seeking an environmentally-friendly alternative to natural mined diamonds.
Many well-known A-list celebrities are now throwing their support behind lab grown diamonds as opposed to natural ones, with Megan Markle even opting to wear them at a recent outing. This shift in perception is primarily due to the ecological, ethical and humanitarian concerns being highlighted throughout the world as a result of commercial mining for these precious stones.
So, what are lab grown diamonds? How are they made and are they really more environmentally-friendly than natural diamonds? Are they “real” diamonds or cubic zirconia’s with little to no resale value?
Lab Grown Diamonds, also known as “man-made” or “cultivated” diamonds were first created in 1954 by H. Tracy Hall, a chemist working for the General Electric company in the USA. The first lab grown diamonds developed were minuscule in size and of poor quality, but they sufficed for industrial use. Today the technique has evolved to such a level that lab grown diamonds are now identical to natural diamonds. They are categorised as 100% real diamonds, used in engagement rings, pendants and earrings throughout the world.
There are two techniques which scientists use to create a lab grown diamond. The first is by using HPHT which stands for “high pressure and high temperatures”. During this process, pure carbon is subjected to electric pulses and extreme heat. The carbon is then continuously pressed between metal until it melts. The heat and pressure combined changes the physical structure of the carbon, eventually transforming it into a brilliant, sparkling diamond over the space of several days.
The second process used is called CVD – or “chemical vapour deposition”. During this technique, scientists place a tiny piece of an existing diamond chip - known as a seed crystal, into a growth chamber of carbon-rich gas. The chip is then heated at incredibly high temperatures. As the gases begin to ionise, they crystallise, attaching themselves to the original diamond chip, thus, “growing” a brand new diamond!
Lab Grown Diamond Prices
Lab grown diamonds have increased in popularity in recent years as more consumers become aware of environmental and humanitarian issues surrounding natural diamond mining.
Usually when products are in high demand, prices tend to rise, however with lab grown diamonds this is not the case. Over the past decade, lab grown diamond prices have actually become more affordable. This is due to the technology that is used to create them becoming cheaper to buy. The great news is that the cost savings are being passed onto consumers.
These real diamonds, although created in a laboratory, are certified and graded in exactly the same way as diamonds formed in the ground over billions of years, so why are lab grown diamonds so much cheaper to buy than natural mined diamonds?
If you’re looking for a forever piece of jewellery and are not too concerned about resale value, you can’t go wrong with a lab grown diamond.
These beautiful diamonds may not have the investment value of a mined diamond, but as they are of the same quality, clarity, colour and appearance as a natural stone, you can get so much more for your money.
The cost of a lab grown diamond depends on the size and quality you are looking for but you can save around 50% compared to a natural stone of an equivalent carat, colour & clarity.
Some may think that lab created diamonds are expensive given that they haven’t gone through the entire mining process. However, when you consider that to “grow” one of these sparklers requires knowledgeable scientists, special machinery, diamond cutters and large industrial premises, it begins to seem like a good deal compared to paying for a natural diamond.
As people are becoming more informed about global issues surrounding diamond mining and looking towards protecting our planet, its wildlife and people, it seems the jewellery market is shifting too. Lab grown diamonds are here to stay – and that can only be a good thing for everyone.
Lab Grown Diamonds v’s Real Diamonds
Our love affair with sparkling diamonds has spanned centuries, with this precious stone being one of the most valuable and desirable commodities in the world. The words cut, colour, clarity and carat are important to anyone purchasing diamond jewellery, therefore, it’s always wise to research before you set out to procure a diamond engagement ring, necklace or pair of diamond earrings.
With our ever-changing world turning its attention to sustainability, environmental and ethical concerns, there’s one question which jewellers are being asked more frequently and that question is “Which are best - lab grown diamonds v’s real diamonds”?
Are Real Diamonds more Valuable than Lab Grown Diamonds?
In monetary terms you can expect to pay between 30% - 50% more for a real mined diamond. Many purchasers and investors still believe it’s worth it for the romanticism – a representation of nature at work – an everlasting symbol of love and success which spans millennia.
However, jewellery lovers keen to protect the fragility of our planet will rest assured that a lab grown diamond will make them feel good about their choices. Not only are these stones much cheaper to buy, but they also look identical and nobody will be able to tell the difference. They are real diamonds and just as spectacular as natural stones.
From a resale point of view, it’s logical to say that if you’re paying 30% - 50% more for a real diamond, you’re likely to receive more back if you decide to sell your jewellery at some point in the future.
If resale value isn’t of interest to you, and you are purchasing a special forever piece, a lab grown diamond with the same physical properties as a natural stone will give you all the sparkle, clarity and carats you need to impress - at a significantly lower price!
A Short History of Real Diamonds
Real or natural diamonds are a rare and precious commodity. Each one formed below the surface of the earth billions of years ago – a result of changing environmental circumstances over time. Each precious stone displays its own heritage - an unspoken journey which has transported it from the earth’s crust to the store window in which you see it today.
Real diamonds were first discovered around 4th century BC in rivers and streams of the Indian subcontinent. They first made their way to Europe’s elite via travelling merchants trading along the famous Silk Road.
When India’s mining supplies began to deplete, attention turned to Brazil and during the gold rush of Minas Gerais in the 1700s, diamonds began to appear in pans as prospectors sifted for gold.
In the 1800s diamonds were discovered in South Africa and a century later, the country was dominating the market, controlling close to 90% of the world’s diamond production.
Many collectors believe there is no substitute for real or natural diamonds, however over the years, new resources and ethical concerns have dominated the press. Weak regulation in the mining sector, consistent damage to entire eco-systems, deforestation, humanitarian issues and corruption have tarnished a once glittering trade.
However, all is not lost, most reputable jewellers are able to track the origin of the diamonds they sell and verify that their stones come from ethical sources, so you can wear your sparkling gemstone with pride and a clear conscience.
The Grading Process of Real Diamonds v’s Lab Grown Diamonds
When you break it down, there’s only one real difference between natural diamonds and lab grown diamonds and that is their point of origin. Both of these diamonds are graded and certified in exactly the same way.
Firstly, the diamonds are weighed and measured - this is to determine the stone’s proportions and facets.
The next step is to grade the colour, clarity and finish of the diamond. This is done with multiple graders which gauge if the diamond has been treated or filled in any way.
At this stage the colour is assessed by placing the diamond against several “master stones” to give an accurate assignation of the colour grade. Each characteristic is evaluated separately – the polish, culet, thickness and symmetry, until a verdict is reached, and certification completed.
The great news is, that it’s very difficult to tell the difference between a natural and lab grown diamond, even by many jewellers and gemstone experts.
How Can You Tell if a Diamond is Lab Grown?
It’s virtually impossible for consumers (and most jewellers!) to tell the difference between a natural diamond and a lab grown diamond, as their physical attributes, clarity and colours mirror each other.
However, there are a few ways to tell if you are purchasing a genuine lab grown diamond. One way is to look under strong magnification for an inscription which has been lasered onto the girdle of the diamond – a jeweller can check this for you in-store.
If a Diamond has fluorescence a special machine can check the fluorescence for you by holding the diamond under the light. The colours of the stone can give a clue to their origin, with HPHT (High Pressure, High Temperature) lab created diamonds showing up as a turquoise blue and those created using the CVD (Chemical Vapour Deposition) technique glowing as orange.&