August 11, 2023
Lab-Grown Diamonds Vs. Mined Diamonds: What you should know
Are lab diamonds real diamonds? YES! Are lab diamonds worth anything? YES!
There has been a lot of debate regarding what a lab grown (also known as lab-created) diamond is and if it’s a “real” diamond.
Let’s dive into what sets these stones apart (or doesn’t) from naturally-mined diamonds. Of course, it’s a personal preference, but we don’t think lab grown diamonds are a fad, in fact, we think they’re here for the long haul. They are becoming an increasingly popular choice for promise rings and wedding bands. Here are some of the facts so you can decide what’s best for you!
What is a lab grown diamond?
The main difference between a lab grown diamond and a naturally-mined diamond is simply the way it is created. A mined diamond is formed naturally deep beneath the Earth’s crust where temperatures and pressures are very high. These diamonds can only be mined when rare volcanoes erupt and bring them close to the surface.
We imitate that same process in our lab using a High-Pressure High Temperature (HPHT) or Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD) process. What starts as a diamond seed— a minuscule slice of a diamond— blossoms into a large, rough diamond as carbon atoms grow around it. These elegant pieces are grown in certified labs that use very limited energy and emit next to no emissions.
DIAMONDS FROM THE LAB
- Lab grown diamonds usually cost about 30% less than natural diamonds of similar size & quality.
- The grown diamond process duplicates what occurs naturally- making it impossible for the human eye to identify the difference of lab-grown or earth mined.
- They are certified & graded to the same standards as mined diamonds.
DIAMONDS FROM THE MINE
- There is a large selection readily available of designs, sizes, and shapes to choose from.
- Diamonds formed from earth’s crust with incredible quality are rare, and that’s part of their appeal. Formed under the earth’s crust over billions of years
- Those mined today formed billions of years ago, giving them an unprecedented historic charm.
Frequently Asked Questions About Lab-Grown Diamond Jewelry
1. Why are lab grown diamonds cheaper?
Lab grown and natural diamonds have the same costs when it comes to cutting, polishing, and inspection. The difference in price stems from the difference in the costs and processes leading up to that point, the heavy cost of mining.
2. Is a Cubic Zirconia (CZ) the same as a lab grown diamond?
Absolutely not. A diamond is made of carbon and cubic zirconia has zero carbon, making it much weaker and with different light performance than lab grown or natural diamonds.
3. Are laboratory-grown diamonds real diamonds?
Yes, they are real diamonds. Lab grown and natural diamonds cannot be differentiated with the naked eye. They also have that same sparkle you’d look for in a natural diamond. You can’t tell the difference between lab-created diamonds and real diamonds without specialized equipment, even if you’re a professional gemologist! The best way to tell the difference between lab-grown diamonds and real diamonds is to look at the grading report.
4. Are lab grown diamonds GIA Certified?
A lab-grown diamond is graded and certified using the same process as a mined diamond. Just like our mined diamonds, our lab-crafted diamonds are sent to a gem lab that specializes in grading diamonds. Each diamond is graded using the 4C’s (cut, clarity, color, and carat). Both are held to the exact same standards. (Learn more about the 4Cs.)
5. Do lab grown diamonds have flaws?
Both mined and lab-crafted diamonds are at the mercy of science, and there is no way to guarantee a perfect diamond. All diamonds will inevitably include different amounts of flaws and inclusions, which is why they are graded and certified. It is important to note that lab grown diamonds are already about 30% less expensive than mined diamonds. That means you can get a much better diamond, with fewer flaws and inclusions, for the same amount you would for a lower graded, mined diamond.
6. Do lab grown diamonds retain value?
All diamonds, lab grown and mined, are priced at wholesale and retail based on an internationally accepted pricing system known as the Rapaport pricing method. This system prices diamonds based on their 4Cs, whether they are lab-grown or mined. Wholesale, retail and resale prices are determined based on a discount percentage of the Rapaport price, regardless of the origin of the diamonds. That being said, you will probably still get more return for a natural diamond since you’re likely to pay an estimated 30% more for it upfront.
Regardless, any diamond shouldn’t be viewed as an investment. It’s likely the most you can get for your diamond will be roughly 30% less than what you initially paid for it since the buyer needs to be able to make a profit.
7. Can you insure a lab grown diamond ring?
Lab grown diamonds may cost less, but there is no difference when it comes to insuring your precious piece of jewelry, even lab grown diamond bracelets. As long as insurers know it is a lab grown diamond and not a mined diamond, it’s not a big deal. They need to know because if anything happens to your diamond, a standard policy replaces your diamond with something “substantially identical.”
Should I buy a lab grown or naturally-mined diamond?
There is no wrong answer. The decision is entirely up to you depending on which type of diamond you prefer.
You should buy a lab grown diamond if:
- You’re looking for a budget-friendly option (lab grown diamonds cost 30% less, on average than their mined counterparts)
- A lab grown diamond can represent modern love
- Maybe you appreciate the latest advances in modern technology
You should buy a naturally-mined diamond if:
- Having a mined diamond made naturally in the Earth is important to you
- Maybe you have a classic approach to love
- A mined diamond can also be a representation of nature’s miracle surrounded by mysterious origins
The bottom line: Overall, lab grown stones share the same physical and chemical properties as natural diamonds. Lab grown diamonds are real diamonds that last forever but are an estimated 30% less expensive than mined diamonds. Overall, neither diamond is “better.” They are not in competition with one another. What matters is the significance you put on your diamond and what it means to you.
Still not sure? Rogers & Hollands and Ashcroft & Oak have been a leading voice in lab-grown diamonds for more than 10 years. You can check out our online collection of lab grown diamond jewelry here, or see them in person at one of our store locations (call first to make sure we have them available for you to compare side-by-side!).
We’re willing to bet you won’t be able to tell the difference, but the price variance will be hard to overlook.