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Lab Grown vs Natural Diamonds

by Sally
Last updated on September 19, 2023
lab grown diamond ring

As a leading producer of lab grown diamonds, Clean Origin is no stranger to the topic of lab grown diamonds vs natural diamonds. The most frequent question we receive from customers is, “Are lab grown diamonds real?” If you want to learn more, join us as we dive deep into the “lab grown vs natural diamonds” debate. We’ll guide you through the facets of this sparkling dialogue and help you make an informed choice that resonates with your values and desires.

Are Lab Grown Diamonds Real?

diamond rings on a plant

These questions are somewhat misleading. This is because they are based on the assumption that there is a significant difference between natural diamonds and lab grown diamonds. Many people automatically believe that a diamond made in a lab is a fake diamond.

The truth is that no such distinction exists. Lab created diamonds are identical to natural diamonds in chemical makeup, physical properties, and visual appearance.

Lab created diamonds are real diamonds. So when presented with the question, “Can you spot the difference between lab grown diamonds vs natural ones?” the best answer we can give is, “You tell us.”

See for Yourself

multiple diamonds laying down

There’s no real difference between mined natural diamonds and lab grown diamonds.

If you are skeptical or don’t understand how lab diamonds can be real, let us compare a lab diamond with a natural diamond.

We are the experts on lab grown diamonds, but we want you to put these diamonds to the test!

Below is a photo comparison between a lab grown diamond and a natural diamond from the Earth. Can you tell which is which?

comparison between a lab grown and natural diamond

How to Determine if Your Diamonds Are Real

lab grown diamonds on a white cloth

If you are buying loose diamonds and are concerned that they may not be real diamonds, you may try a diamond tester. While a lab created diamond is a real diamond, there are diamond simulants– sometimes known as “fake diamonds”– in existence as well. These include things like cubic zirconia and white topaz, both of which are distinct from lab diamonds.

You can use this device on loose stones and diamonds to ensure that your diamond is not cubic zirconia or white sapphire. Using this tool, you will weed out the fake diamonds.

Synthetic diamonds, also known as lab grown diamonds, will pass the test because a man-made diamond is a real diamond.

Cubic zirconia or white topaz will not pass the test. Weeding out fake stones when buying a used piece of jewelry is especially important. Unintentionally purchasing fake diamonds is understandably disappointing.

Cutting-edge technology replicates the diamond growing process by which natural diamonds form. The result is a diamond that is chemically, physically, and optically the same as those produced beneath the earth’s surface.

Properties Comparison of a Lab Diamond vs. Natural

“[Lab created diamonds] are not fakes. They’re not cubic zirconias. They have all the same physical and chemical properties of a mined diamond.”

– Stephen ­Morisseau, a spokesman for the Gemological Institute of America, a nonprofit organization that oversees the international diamond grading system.

Another term for lab created diamonds is synthetic diamonds. While not technically inaccurate, the term “synthetic” contributes to why people believe lab created diamonds’ worth to be lower. A lab grown diamond is real, not fake.

Comparing the physical and chemical properties of lab grown and natural diamonds, lab grown diamonds are, in fact, the real deal.

Lab diamonds shine just as bright as natural mined diamonds. Whether you’re using diamonds for industrial drill bits or eye-catching engagement rings, there’s really no substitute for a diamond.

Difference Between a Lab Grown Diamond vs. A Natural Diamond

While you can’t identify lab created diamonds versus natural diamonds by looking at them, they have some minor differences. Diamonds grown in a lab may have metallic inclusions and weak strain patterns. The physical difference is tough to notice after cutting and polishing diamonds for fine jewelry like a diamond ring. 

Diamond Simulants

Diamond simulants such as cubic zirconia, moissanite, and other natural stones may look similar to diamonds to the untrained eye. However, as Stephen Morisseau said, they don’t have the same chemical properties as lab created and mined diamonds.

How Is It Possible to “Grow” Real Diamonds in a Lab?

someone looking at a diamond with a loupe-like instrument

Before we talk about how lab created diamonds are made, it’s crucial to understand how real diamonds are formed. The processes are similar — one just happens naturally, while the other occurs in a lab. 

Mined Diamonds

Geologists believe diamonds form naturally deep within the Earth, most having formed between 1 billion to 3 billion years ago. While they don’t know precisely how those diamonds came to be, they believe the process starts with carbon dioxide buried roughly 100 miles beneath Earth’s surface.

The carbon dioxide is exposed to temperatures that are more than 2,200 degrees Fahrenheit and pressures of roughly 727,000 pounds per square inch. The diamonds are transported from deep within the Earth’s core to the surface through deep volcanic explosions.

These natural diamonds are then mined from deep under Earth’s crust.

Lab Created Diamonds

There are two processes labs use to grow most lab grown diamonds — High Pressure-High Temperature (HPHT) and Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD).

High-Pressure High-Temperature (HPHT)

There are three manufacturing processes that result in HPHT diamonds: the belt press, the cubic press, and the split-sphere (BARS) press. These processes create intense heat and pressure conducive to diamond growth.

An HPHT diamond begins as a small diamond seed placed into carbon. Using one of the manufacturing processes above, the seed is exposed to temperatures of about 1500 degrees Celsius and pressurized to approximately 1.5 million pounds per square inch.

The pure carbon melts and forms a diamond around the starter seed. Then, it cools and forms a pure carbon diamond.

Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD)

CVD diamond begins as a thin slice of diamond seed, often an HPHT-produced diamond.

A small chamber filled with carbon-rich gas, such as Methane and other gases, contains the seed crystal. The gases are ionized into plasma using technology similar to microwaves or lasers. The ionization breaks the molecular bonds in the gases, and the pure carbon adheres to the seed crystal and slowly crystallizes. The products are chemical vapor deposition diamonds. 

To the naked eye, distinguishing a lab grown diamond from a natural one is impossible. It’s highly unlikely a jeweler in the professional diamond industry could determine whether a diamond is a lab grown or mined with the naked eye.

While processes can identify one from the other, it is incredibly complex and typically only performed in diamond certification labs.

No, You Can’t Tell the Difference Between a Lab Grown Diamond and a Real Diamond.

a row of multiple lab grown diamond tennis bracelets

However, you can get a larger diamond within your budget and make a more ethical and environmentally-friendlypurchase with a lab grown diamond.

So if you are looking for an engagement ringwedding ring, or any other diamond jewelry, it often makes more sense to buy a manufactured diamond rather than a natural diamond — both for the benefit of your wallet and the Earth. A lab created diamond engagement ring will have the same shine and sparkle as naturally mined diamonds. The main difference between the two is their origin. 

If you want to learn more about the difference between lab created diamonds and traditionally mined diamonds, as well as the various benefits in terms of the environment, ethical sourcing, and budget, you can read more about it here. And for a more exact estimate of what a specific lab grown vs mined diamond would cost, you might want to use a diamond price calculator.

Lab diamonds offer a real ethical alternative to the traditional diamond market. Few people know the option, but it can benefit those who take advantage of it. After all, when the only difference is the origin, choosing a lab grown diamond over a traditionally mined one makes sense. 

Click here to learn more about Clean Origin and how our lab grown diamonds compare prices, return policy, warranty, and more.

Other Frequently Asked Questions About Real Diamonds

How Can You Tell that a Diamond Is Real at Home?

A female hand holding three diamonds with the back of her hand

There are many different ways to differentiate between a real diamond and a fraudulent one. One of the easiest ways to tell is through a simple water test. 

Grab an ordinary drinking glass and fill it up three-quarters of the way with water. Place the loose gemstone in the water with care. 

The gemstone is a real diamond if it floats to the bottom. It is a fake diamond if it hovers at or below the surface. This is a simple test to see if you might have a real diamond on your hands. Remember, it will only work for loose diamonds. If the stone is in a metal ring, it will alter the test.

How Can You Tell if a Diamond Is Real or Cubic Zirconia?

a row of lab grown diamond stud earrings

Diamonds sparkle because they can bend and refract light. This occurs when light strikes the angled sides on the lower half of the gemstone. To the observer’s eye, the light refracts up through the flat surface on top of the stone. A diamond has “brilliance” when it refracts radiantly. 

Due to a lack of brilliance, substitutes for diamonds, such as cubic zirconia, are easily distinguishable. They cannot refract light well and may not even give off any sparkle at all.

Do Real Diamonds Sparkle Rainbow?

a bracelets with colored lab grown diamonds

Some people think a sign of naturally occurring diamonds is their characteristic sparkling resembling a rainbow. This is a misconception.

Natural diamonds give off a sparkle, but it is white, not colorful. Learning to recognize the brilliance of a diamond will be a good indication that the diamond is real. A trained professional can tell a fake diamond from a real diamond. They will not be able to distinguish a lab grown diamond from a natural diamond because both are real diamonds.

Shop for Lab Grown Diamonds at Clean Origin

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Explore our stunning collection and discover the perfect diamond for your story today!

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