Lately, we're getting a ton of questions about lab grown diamonds, so in this blog we are going to compare them to natural diamonds and see the differences.
To start with it would be useful to briefly explain the makeup of these diamonds. Both natural and lab grown diamonds are identical down to a molecular level. They are both the same visually, they are both made of carbon, both are considered the hardest substance on Earth and they both have the same density. So scientifically, lab and natural diamonds are identical but there are some differences which we are going to explain.
We are going to start off with the biggest difference, the one I think everyone really wants to know more about. At the moment there is a significant price difference with lab grown diamonds costing anywhere between 30% - 50% less than natural diamonds. As the diamonds get larger the difference in price gets bigger.
So where do both of these diamonds come from. As we know a natural diamond can be millions of years old as it came out of the ground formed by mother nature. They form deep within the Earth's crust under conditions of intense heat and pressure that cause carbon atoms to crystallise forming diamonds. These natural diamonds are found at a depth of approximately 150-200km below the surface of the Earth. Whereas lab grown diamonds are essentially made in a lab, from a diamond seed, instead of being pulled from the earth and only take a few weeks or months to form depending on its size. The seed is placed in a controlled environment under two different methods, CVD, meaning chemical vapor deposition or HPHT which is high pressure. This is not massively important to know but I know some of the diamond enthusiasts reading this would want to know.
A common question people want to know is ‘can you see the difference’. Plain and simple the answer is NO! You absolutely cannot see the difference. They have the same chemical make-up and the lab grown diamonds are made under the exact same conditions as the natural diamonds so you would expect them to be identical. Can you tell for certain which of the following is a natural diamond vs a lab grown diamond.
There are environmental political issues with natural diamonds that people have a right to be concerned about. Any jewellers that claim to be ‘sustainable’ are fundamentally incorrect as mining raw materials from the earth’s surface is environmentally damaging. However you have to decipher for yourself what type of consumer you are: are you environmentally conscious of your buying or do you desire that rare natural gemstone.
Natural diamonds are certified by GIA, short for the Gemmological Institute of America, the HRD and many more (these are just the primary organisations that certify our diamonds). These have the strictest standards of grading diamonds into the 4 C’s carat, colour, clarity and cut. Very recently, they have begun certifying some lab grown diamonds which is a big move for the lab grown diamond industry as before this the organisations rejected them as being diamonds. However most commonly, the lab grown diamonds are going to be certified by the IGI, which causes confusion because it sounds similar to the GIA but they are independent of each other.
I think there's definitely an argument for buying a lab grown diamond. If you're looking to maximise the size of diamond with a specific budget you would be able to get a larger lab grown diamond because they cost nearly half of what natural diamond costs. Personally, I prefer natural diamonds because of their rarity factor so their values are going to hold in time. There is an undeniable lust for an original natural gemstone, so if I had to compromise on size to go for a natural diamond then I would.
We recently started incorporating some lab grown into our stock so that we have a small selection to show for comparison if a client is interested in viewing. If you have any more questions or want to discuss more you can always reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com . Thanks for reading!