The subject of lab-grown diamonds is a touchy and contentious one. In recent years, there has been a lot of buzz about them, both favorable and unfavorable. But to make an informed decision, you should do your research about what lab-grown diamonds are, how they differ from those naturally found, and which of the two you should buy for your partner for the special occasion.
Lab diamonds differ from natural diamonds because they are manufactured in a laboratory rather than being extracted from the soil, as natural diamonds do. In essence, this is the only distinction. Lab-grown diamonds have the same appearance and feel like their natural counterparts. They come in various forms and sizes, and it would be nearly impossible to tell the difference between a lab diamond and a natural diamond if you have one of both in front of you. They even have almost identical chemical structures.
Natural diamonds are generated over billions of years due to extreme heat and pressure. On the other hand, lab-grown diamonds are made in a laboratory and can be made in as little as a few weeks. In addition, natural diamonds frequently contain a trace quantity of nitrogen, whereas synthetic diamonds do not. The sole intrinsic distinction is that lab-made diamonds are classified as “genuine” diamonds by the US Federal Trade Commission, or FTC, according to their carbon-based chemical makeup.
Despite their similarities, the differences between lab-made and natural diamonds can be notable, particularly regarding price, resale value, rarity, and general appeal.
In this article, we talk about some important reasons you should not buy lab-grown.
The price of lab-grown diamonds is still fluctuating. For example, they were 23-25 percent more expensive than natural ones 3-4 years ago, though they are substantially less expensive now. Today, it is safe to assume that lab diamonds are between 50 and 60 percent less expensive—or even more in some circumstances.
Take two diamonds from James Allen as an example of the pricing disparity between natural and lab-grown diamonds today. The first (natural, 1.01-carat G VS1 round) goes for $6,440, while the lab-grown 1.00-carat G VS1 round diamond is priced at $1,920. Despite having virtually comparable grades, the lab-created diamond costs 30% less.
The supply differential is the reason for the disparity. Due to the billions of years that it takes for nature to make a diamond, the natural diamond supply is restricted. However, because there is no supply limit on synthetic diamonds, prices fall as supply increases.
The price of lab-grown diamonds is plummeting at an alarming rate, with no indications of slowing or reversal in sight, so industry experts are doing their best to ensure that customers do not feel obliged to buy natural diamonds. We suggest you consider an essential element while making your purchase: the identical lab diamond purchased for $1,000 today could be worth a fraction of that in just one or two years.
The difference in resale value between natural and lab-made diamonds is more significant than the variation in their prices. Lab-created diamonds are hard to market without accepting cents on the dollar, whereas natural diamonds maintain roughly 50% of their initial value. It is noteworthy here as a general rule of thumb that when you buy something, you lose a significant portion of its worth the instant you buy it.
We must also consider how the prices of natural and lab-made diamonds fluctuate over time. Before you factor in the difference in resale value, your lab-grown diamond will most likely be worth less than a natural one of equal grade. The reason is simple: lab-created diamonds decline in price, whereas mined ones gain in value, as seen historically.
Some people may be concerned about the environmental and humanitarian consequences of natural diamond mining, but it is not to argue that buying them is always unethical. However, it is reasonable to assume that lab-made diamonds are more sustainable in the long run than those mined from the earth.
This topic has sparked some debate among gemologists and experts. Indeed, the Federal Trade Commission has warned several jewelers against making false claims about their jewelry being sustainable or environmentally beneficial.
According to a report by the Diamond Producers Association, natural diamonds are better for the environment than those manufactured in labs due to the carbon-intensive process of making the latter.
Be that as it may, aside from electricity, lab-grown diamonds use substantially less water per carat than mined diamonds (18 gallons vs. 126 gallons) and emit significantly less carbon dioxide. Thus, if you believe in global warming, there is no better way to show your support than with a large, gleaming rock produced in a lab.
Overall, we can conclude that there is still no consensus on whether lab diamonds are a more sustainable option.
Lab-made and mined diamonds look nearly identical; it is almost probable that no one will notice if you buy a ring with a lab-created diamond unless you tell them. But the feeling that a synthetic diamond has to it is incomparable to one that has spent billions of years inside the earth, especially given that you will always know that it is lab-made and has inclusions, even if they are not visible to the naked eye.
As observed and widely reported, lab diamonds can have very minute inclusions not usually found in natural diamonds. However, it is sometimes impossible to discern the differences between the two with the naked eye, even for jewelers. On the other hand, a gemologist may detect microscopic inclusions using sophisticated equipment in a diamond that indicates that it is lab-created.
The good news is that a lab-made diamond will almost always have the same brightness and shine as a mined one. Therefore, if you are primarily searching for a diamond that looks gorgeous, lab diamonds can be a cost-effective option without sacrificing quality.
All lab-grown diamonds are alike
They are not manufactured with a cookie cutter or even an assembly line, believe it or not. While improvements on the technical end of the production procedure will never cease, lab-created diamonds still have their own dispositions and are one-of-a-kind.
Each lab diamond is developed from a single seed, similar to the apartment garden you may be currently cultivating. CVD diamonds and HPHT diamonds are the two varieties of lab-created diamonds. The source imparts its features to the newly created diamond in both stages.
In addition, lab-grown diamonds have the same inclusions as natural diamonds and can even fluoresce. Because their prices change based on the 4Cs in the same manner that mined diamonds do, you should treat them with the same care and attention to detail.
The difference between lab-made diamonds and natural diamonds is not in the way they look. Lab-grown diamonds are actual diamonds with the same brilliance, sparkle, and shine as natural ones and are an option to explore if you want a cut-price diamond that appears just like the real thing. However, please remember that choosing a lab diamond over a natural diamond reduces your long-term value. Their value is unknown, making their resale worth suspect. On the contrary, natural-mined diamonds have a steadier value and, hence, are a more stable investment at present.
Lastly, we highly recommend that you keep in mind the rarity aspect: lab-grown diamonds can be mass-produced because they are made, so unlike those mined from the earth, yours will not be “one-of-a-kind.”