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There has been a lot of debate regarding what a lab-crafted (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. Here are some of the facts so you can decide what’s best for you!
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.
Lab-created 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.
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-crafted or natural diamonds.
The short answer: Yes, because they are real diamonds. Lab-crafted 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.
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.)
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.
All diamonds, lab-crafted 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.
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.”
There is no wrong answer. The decision is entirely up to you depending on which type of diamond you prefer.
The bottom line: Overall, lab-crafted, man-made gems share the same physical and chemical properties as natural diamonds. Lab-grown 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.