The pros and cons of lab grown diamonds

25. February 2024

If you’re in the process of choosing an engagement ring, one of the questions you need to decide on is what type of diamond to choose. Will you opt for natural diamonds or the lab-created ones that have recently become so popular? Our detailed article will give you a better understanding of the advantages and disadvantages of these diamonds, the differences between them, as well as their properties. And by the time you finish reading it, we know that it will help choose the stone that best suits your needs.

Lab-created diamonds, also known as man-made or lab grown diamonds, are created in strictly controlled laboratories using advanced technology. The popularity of these gems has skyrocketed due to their ethical and sustainability credentials, when compared to natural diamonds.

The process of creating lab grown diamonds

A lab grown diamond is created in one of two ways:

  1. with the help of high pressure and high temperatures (HPHT)
  2. or through chemical vapor deposition (CVD)

The HPHT method mimics the process of diamond formation in nature by exposing a “diamond seed” to thermal pressure, something that was first used for industrial purposes in the 1950s. The CVD method works by placing this initial “germ crystal” into a vacuum chamber filled with heated hydrogen and carbon gasses. Once they break down at a set temperature, crystallization begins around them, causing growth that results in the formation of a diamond.

The difference between lab-created and natural diamonds

How do lab-created gemstones differ from their naturally occurring counterparts? And what differences in terms of appearance and quality are evident between the two types? In terms of their physical and optical properties, lab grown diamonds are indistinguishable from their natural counterparts. They are practically identical. As a result of the latest technological processes, their formation cycle is far shorter, only a few weeks instead of billions of years. But where the diamonds differ is in their value. While traditional diamonds tend to naturally appreciate in value over time, lab created diamonds couldn’t be considered as an investment. The reason is simple – the amount of natural diamonds has been decreasing over time, but lab-created diamonds will continue to be produced.

The benefits of lab grown diamonds

Man-made diamonds represent an ethical and sustainable solution and are more affordable than traditional mined diamonds. Why is this? The appeal of these gemstones stems from the fact that their mining does not disturb wildlife habitats the way that mining natural diamonds does. This makes them much more environmentally friendly than conventionally mined gemstones.

1. They are ethical and sustainable

Mining diamonds in either open-pit or underground mines puts a strain on nature, particularly since it results in deforestation, water pollution and a large carbon footprint created by energy-intensive mining processes. In addition, mining can threaten wildlife and disrupt ecosystems, which in turn has a detrimental impact on biodiversity and negatively affects local communities. In contrast, lab grown diamonds are created in a strictly controlled process which results in a lower carbon footprint. The way they are made eliminates the need for destructive mining practices and reduces energy consumption and carbon emissions. It is important to note, however, that lab grown diamonds still require large amounts of energy to be created and their sustainability can vary depending on each lab’s production practices. Lab grown diamonds are therefore also a more sustainable option for jewelers who prefer an ethical approach when it comes to their jewelry and customers.

2. They are more affordable

Due to their affordability and quality, lab grown diamonds have become increasingly popular in the diamond industry since they typically cost 40-95% less than natural diamonds of a similar size and quality. For example, a one carat lab-created diamond can sell for around $1,200, whereas its natural counterpart would be far more expensive. Prices for lab grown stones can vary depending on size, as well as color, clarity and cut.

3. The variety and color of lab grown diamonds

Colored lab grown diamonds are produced using advanced technological processes that mimic the natural conditions under which diamonds are created. These diamonds acquire their vibrant colors when trace elements such as boron for blue or nitrogen for yellow are added during their growth cycle. As opposed to natural diamonds, this allows for an infinite number of color variations. In terms of clarity, lab grown diamonds usually exhibit excellent clarity due to the controlled environment which they are created in and often show minimal internal flaws or inclusions compared to their naturally occurring counterparts.

The disadvantages of lab-created diamonds

But even with lab grown diamonds, you need to consider a few potential drawbacks before you buy them. These include their value, acceptance, and market saturation in the coming years. It would be advisable to think about these issues before making a final decision.

1. Preserving value

Lab grown diamonds are considered to be affordable and very popular gemstones due to their ethical provenance. However, when compared to their natural counterparts, there is still some uncertainty around them preserving their value in the long term. This can be mainly attributed to the larger supply of lab grown diamonds that is currently available. So if you are planning to purchase a diamond as an investment, then lab grown diamonds are not the right choice for you. Their number and supply will increase over time, but the availability of natural diamonds will decrease more and more.

2. The perceived authenticity of laboratory diamonds

Diamonds made in laboratories have been gaining increasing recognition due to their identical physical, chemical and optical properties when compared to natural diamonds. But for many customers, the perceived lack of authenticity associated with lab-made diamonds may detract from their value. While some may not consider them to be genuine gemstones, they are still a sought-after choice for engagement rings and other jewelry. These sparkling alternatives have all the same elements as the naturally formed specimens found beneath the surface of the earth, but in comparison, they are far more affordably priced.

Lab-cultivated diamonds vs. other synthetic options

When choosing diamond jewelry, it’s important to distinguish between lab grown diamonds and other rare gemstones such as cubic zirconia or moissanites. Lab grown diamonds are comparable in terms of chemical composition and qualities to natural diamonds, while the others only look similar but are made of completely different substances.

Their composition and properties

Laboratory diamonds are created with the same arrangement of carbon atoms as natural diamonds, giving them identical physical properties, including a high degree of hardness and durability. In contrast, diamond alternatives such as cubic zirconia or moissanites have a different chemical composition that results in them being much softer.  This is one of the main reasons why lab diamonds are a better choice for everyday wear, as they are more durable compared to other synthetic imitations.

Appearance and durability

Laboratory and natural diamonds are indistinguishable to the naked eye. Due to their durability, both are an ideal choice for engagement rings as well as all other jewelry. In contrast, their synthetic imitations can often be recognized at a glance. Over time, cubic zirconia give off a cloudy feel, lose their sparkle and scratch easily.

Finding a reputable source

But whether you choose lab grown or natural diamonds, it’s essential to find a trustworthy source to buy them from. Do your research and choose an online retailer or jeweler that provides diamonds certified by top gemological laboratories such as the GIA (Gemological Institute of America) and IGI (International Gemological Institute). Be sure to thoroughly check customer reviews and assess the company’s reputation and trustworthiness, so you can make an informed decision when sourcing either type of diamond.

Choosing the right stone

When deciding on the type of diamond, consider factors such as personal preference and budget and evaluate the pros and cons of natural diamonds mined from the ground vs lab-created stones. If you consider all of these factors, you’ll no doubt be able to decide which stone is best for you.

Read more:

Discover the unique beauty of lab grown diamonds

Discover the unique beauty of lab grown diamonds

Lab-made diamonds have revolutionized the jewelry industry and provided designers with the opportunity to create unique and innovative jewelry. From unusual shapes and vibrant colors through to modern gemstone cuts, lab grown diamonds have been redefining trends. So...

Lab diamonds in engagement rings – should you get on board?

Lab diamonds in engagement rings – should you get on board?

There is a quiet revolution taking place in the world of engagement rings. Gone are the days when diamonds were solely the product of natural geological processes. A new trend is emerging that is all about innovation and sustainability: lab-grown diamonds. These...