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The popularity of lab-grown diamonds has quickly skyrocketed, and for good reasons. Lab-grown diamonds are an eco-friendly and ethical alternative to mined diamonds and come at a much lower price tag. Learn everything you need to know about choosing a lab-grown diamond engagement ring.
- What is a lab-grown diamond?
- Are lab diamonds real?
- Is growing diamonds in laboratories a new invention?
- What's the difference between a lab diamond and a mined diamond?
- What are the benefits of buying a lab-grown diamond?
- Why are lab-grown diamonds cheaper than mined diamonds?
- Will lab-grown diamonds lose their value?
- Is the lab-grown selection as good as mined diamonds?
- Are lab-grown diamonds popular?
- Should you choose a lab-grown diamond engagement ring?
Are you considering a lab-grown diamond engagement ring, and are you wondering whether it’s the right choice? Many people are choosing lab-grown diamonds for ethical considerations. If you’re thinking about getting a lab-grown diamond engagement ring but are unsure, then read on as we’ll answer the most frequently asked questions about lab-grown diamonds.
We’re here to go through everything you want to know before deciding on a lab-grown diamond engagement ring.
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What is a lab-grown diamond?
Lab-grown diamonds, also known as lab-created, cultured, or man-made, are created in a high-tech laboratory. This is opposed to mined diamonds, which were created in nature billions of years ago and are extracted from the earth through mining.
There are two different ways of creating lab-grown diamonds for lab-grown diamond engagement rings:
- The first method, and most common way to create lab diamonds, is by using “High-Pressure High Temperature (HPHT).” In short, the process replicates the high pressure and high temperature found under the earth’s surface where mined diamonds are formed. Grossly simplified, heat and immense pressure squeeze pure carbon atoms together to form a diamond.
- The second method is a more recently invented technique called “The Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD).” A diamond seed is placed in a sealed chamber and heated to around 800 degrees Celsius, and then the chamber is filled with carbon-rich gasses that are used to stimulate and grow the diamond.
Both methods create sparkling and very real diamonds, and you will not be able to tell the difference between an HPHT and CVD diamond – or a mined diamond, for that matter.
Interested in learning more? Read our intro to lab-grown diamonds.
Are lab diamonds real?
Although lab-grown diamonds are grown in a lab, they are indistinguishable from their mined counterparts and have the exact same physical, chemical, and visual properties as mined diamonds. That means that just like mined diamonds, lab-grown diamonds also develop their own unique characteristics, such as inclusions and clarity.
Lab-grown diamonds are real diamonds, which The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) rightly ruled in 2018, and lab-created diamonds go through the same 4C inspection and grading processes as mined diamonds, and the same reputable laboratories carry them out. They come with the same grading certificates (most lab-created diamonds are certified by IGI, International Gemological Institute, or by GIA, the Gemological Institute of America).
Not even trained gemologists can see the difference with the naked eye and without employing very advanced equipment (the only true tell-off is in the laser inscription that all diamonds, mined or lab, have).
Is growing diamonds in laboratories a new invention?
Growing diamonds in a laboratory is not a recent invention. Diamonds have been created in laboratories since the 1950s. However, gem-quality lab stones didn’t become available to the general public until a few decades later. The high-quality lab-created diamonds we see today are the result of decades of research and development by scientists, and the popularity of lab diamonds has only recently made it into mainstream retail.
For long, the traditional diamond industry heavyweights fought long and hard to keep lab diamonds out of the billion-dollar diamond market, fearing competition and the hefty margins on mined diamonds disappear.
But times have changed, and in 2021 the world’s biggest jeweler, Pandora, announced that they would shift from mined to lab-created diamonds. Even DeBeers, the world’s largest diamond mining company, launched its own lab-grown diamond jewelry brand Lightbox Jewelry.
What’s the difference between a lab diamond and a mined diamond?
Lab-created diamonds are 100% identical to mined diamonds. The only difference between a lab diamond and a mined diamond is its origin.
- Mined diamonds were created billions of years ago and are sourced deep below the earth’s surface. It requires extensive mining operations to extract them from the ground.
- Lab-grown diamonds are created in an advanced lab from tiny carbon “seeds” in a controlled process that lowers the total cost and energy consumption.
What are the benefits of buying a lab-grown diamond?
Lab diamonds are 100% identical to mined diamonds, and the fact that they are also better for the environment and more ethical is a massive plus. In contrast to minded diamonds, lab-grown diamonds are guaranteed conflict-free, so you can have peace of mind knowing that there haven’t been any unethical work practices, harmful deforestation, or corruption involved in the process (as opposed to mined diamonds).
Additionally, lab-grown diamonds are 30-40% cheaper than their mined counterparts. So you’ll either be able to save money or get a much better and bigger diamond for the same budget!
Why are lab-grown diamonds cheaper than mined diamonds?
Mined diamonds’ production and supply chains are extraordinarily long, whereas the process of growing diamonds uses fewer resources than the process of mining diamonds. Simply put, growing a diamond in a lab is less expensive than mining a diamond from the ground, resulting in significantly lower pricing. That means that you can get a bigger and better lab-created diamond.
Will lab-grown diamonds lose their value?
The value may decrease over time, but this is also true for mined diamonds. That’s why we don’t recommend buying a diamond (engagement ring) with the intention of selling it in the future, whether it’s mined or made in a lab, because it won’t be a good investment.
It’s a common misconception that mined diamonds become more valuable over the years. The fact is that unless the diamond is very very rare, it’s nearly impossible to make a profit from a mined diamond that was purchased years ago. The truth is that, much like when buying a brand new car, a diamond’s resale value drops significantly the second the person walks out of the store.
Is the lab-grown selection as good as mined diamonds?
Yes! A-list celebrities and even royals have become ardent supporters of lab-grown diamonds. Accordingly, retailers such as James Allen, Clean Origin, and Ritani provide a diverse selection of lab diamonds and jewelry. All popular diamond shapes, such as brilliant, oval, princess, cushion, emerald, and more, are available as lab-grown diamonds.
If you want a fancy-colored lab-grown diamond, don’t worry; lab diamonds are available in a variety of colors, including pink, red, yellow, blue, and green. In particular, Brilliant Earth and Clean Origin have great selections of colored lab diamonds. And they’re much cheaper than colored mined diamonds because these are exceptionally rare. With lab diamonds, fancy-colored diamonds are no longer reserved for the rich!
Read our guide to fancy colored lab-created diamond engagement rings and learn all about buying a colored diamond ring.
Are lab-grown diamonds popular?
The popularity of lab-grown diamonds has skyrocketed as more people are becoming aware of lab-created diamonds and their advantages over their mined counterparts. Many find lab-grown diamonds appealing because lab-created diamonds are a more sustainable and ethical choice. On top of that, lab diamonds are 30-40% cheaper than mined diamonds.
Should you choose a lab-grown diamond engagement ring?
When it comes down to it, your significant other’s preference should be the most important factor in your decision-making process.
Is your soon-to-be someone who would prefer an ethical and sustainably lab diamond over a mined stone that was created in nature over a billion years? And would the person prefer a better diamond than you would otherwise be able to buy? Then yes, you should choose a lab-grown diamond engagement ring.
Here are four reasons we think you should go for a lab-grown diamond.
- Lab diamonds are real diamonds. They are 100% like mined diamonds, and they are nothing like the diamond alternative moissanite.
- Lab-grown diamonds are 30-40% cheaper than mined diamonds. That means you can get a much bigger and better diamond for your money – or keep a large chunk in your pocket.
- Lab-grown diamonds are the more sustainable and ethical choice. In fact, lab diamonds are the only diamonds that are guaranteed conflict-free!
- There’s nothing romantic about a “traditional” mined stone extracted from grueling underground and underwater mines, sometimes using forced labor, causing human rights violations, exploiting local communities, damaging the surrounding environment and wildlife, fueling conflict, and benefiting abusive armed forces.
After you’ve learned everything you need about lab-grown diamonds, the next step is to find the best and cheapest diamond.
Luckily, we have reviewed all the best places to buy lab-created diamond engagement rings. You can also read all our lab-grown diamond jeweler reviews and compare lab diamond jewelers.
3 of our favorite lab-grown diamond jewelers
Need help buying your first lab-grown diamond?
Read our guide to purchasing lab-grown diamonds and get the best diamond for your budget using our top tips to finding the perfect lab diamond engagement ring.
Looking for more ring inspiration? Check out our guide to the best lab diamond anniversary rings, which easily double as engagement rings.