Lab-grown diamonds have become increasingly popular in recent years due to the many ways they are not only comparable but superior to mined diamonds. I was at the forefront of offering lab diamonds to my customers and whenever possible use lab-grown diamonds as the default in all of my designs. I’ve done extensive research on lab vs. mined diamonds, so let’s explore what lab-grown diamonds are, how they differ from mined diamonds, and the advantages of choosing lab-grown diamonds.
What are Lab-Grown Diamonds?
Lab-grown diamonds are diamonds that are grown in a laboratory rather than being mined from the earth. They are created using advanced technological processes that mimic the conditions necessary for diamond formation in the earth’s mantle. These processes use a small diamond seed and a carbon source to grow a larger diamond. The resulting diamond is chemically, physically, and optically identical to a natural diamond.
How Do Lab-Grown Diamonds Differ From Natural Diamonds?
The only difference between lab-grown diamonds and natural diamonds is their origin. Both types of diamonds have the same physical, chemical, and optical properties. Lab-grown diamonds are made up of the same crystal structure and have the same hardness, brilliance, and fire as natural diamonds. The only way to tell the difference between the two is through specialized testing equipment.
Advantages of Choosing Lab-Grown Diamonds
- Ethical and Sustainable Production:
Lab-grown diamonds are produced in a controlled laboratory setting, eliminating the need for environmentally destructive and ethically questionable mining practices. (Source: United Nations Environment Programme, “Environmental Impacts of Mining”, 2016)
- More Affordable:
Lab-grown diamonds are typically less expensive than natural diamonds of comparable size and quality, making them a more accessible option for those on a budget. (Source: Gemological Institute of America, “Lab-Grown Diamonds”, 2021) In my experience, especially when searching for larger diamonds, you can almost always find a higher graded lab diamond for less than a lower graded mined diamond. Check out my IG page for examples of lab diamonds I’ve sourced for customers and used in my designs.
- High Quality:
Lab-grown diamonds are created in a controlled environment, allowing for greater precision and consistency in their characteristics. This means that lab-grown diamonds have fewer inclusions and blemishes than natural diamonds, making them more visually appealing. (Source: Diamond Producers Association, “Laboratory-Grown Diamonds”, 2019) Just like mined diamonds, each lab diamond is unique and those over 1/4 ct come with certificate from a national body that attests to its authenticity and unique characteristics.
- Viable Diamond Alternative:
Lab-grown diamonds are still diamonds and have the same physical, chemical, and optical properties as natural diamonds, making them a viable alternative for engagement rings, wedding bands, and other jewelry. (Source: Natural Diamond Council, “The Modern Love Study”, 2021) Absolutely no one will know whether or not your diamond is mined or lab grown unless you tell them. You CANNOT tell the difference simply by looking at them – because basically there is not physical, structural or optical difference. Indeed, you should be proud to tell people that your diamond is lab-grown because it means you have thought about and care about how your choices impact the environment.
The production of lab-grown diamonds has a significantly lower environmental impact than natural diamonds, which are associated with soil erosion, water pollution, and other environmental issues. (Source: Carnegie Institution for Science, “The Environmental Impact of Diamond Mining”, 2021)
More about lab-grown diamonds from one of my sources.
The long and short of it is that there is really no reason to choose a mined diamond unless you have a very specific shape or cut that is not available in lab diamonds. I will no longer use natural white diamonds in my work unless I cannot find the shape/cut necessary in which case I will only use diamonds that I can reliably trace to a reputable mine (such as one certified Canadian) or that is recycled. While there is a lot of hype and marketing around diamonds, they do have inherent superior qualities to other stones in their hardness and durability over time and their ability to be re-used, recycled and passed down through the generations. However, with lab-diamonds you get all of what is great about diamonds with far less environmental impact so you can wear them with pride.