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Should I Buy Lab Grown Diamonds?

by Hunter Kemp
Last updated on October 30, 2023

You’ve probably come across lab grown diamonds in your search for engagement rings, and you may be wondering whether or not you should buy them. Lab grown diamonds have been on the rise for a while now. More and more couples are choosing them every year, showing that this is more than just a trend. Some people find themselves drawn to the affordability of lab grown diamonds, while others select them for reasons such as ethical concerns with the mined diamond industry. But what exactly are lab grown diamonds? How do they compare to earth mined diamonds? And most importantly, are they right for you?

Lab grown engagement rings.

Are Lab Grown Diamonds Real?

What Are Lab Grown Diamonds?

Yes, lab grown diamonds are real diamonds; they are chemically and physically identical to mined ones. The only thing that separates a lab grown diamond and a mined diamond is its origin. Lab grown– or lab created– diamonds are formed in a laboratory, whereas mined diamonds come from the earth. In these special labs, scientists replicate the growing process of a natural diamond using one of two processes. The first of these is High Pressure-High Temperature (HPHT). A diamond seed crystal is placed with a carbon seed and subjected to extreme heat and pressure, causing the carbon to melt and form a diamond around the seed. The second is Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD). With this, a diamond seed is placed in a chamber with hydrogen and methane gas. Once the methane gas has broken down, the carbon atoms bind to the diamond seed, which grows in size.

Regardless of whether a diamond is formed in a lab or in the earth, the process is the same. Carbon atoms must bind together under very specific conditions to produce the diamond. As such, lab created diamonds are certified and graded just like natural diamonds: they are certified by America’s leading diamond grading laboratories, including IGI and GIA.

Lab Grown Diamonds vs. Diamond Simulants

It’s important to distinguish between lab grown diamonds and diamond simulants– cubic zirconia, for instance. While many diamond simulants look very similar to real diamonds, the chemical properties and composition are completely different. Also, cubic zirconia tends to have a telltale “rainbow effect,” which true diamonds do not have. Finally, diamonds are significantly harder and more durable than fake diamonds. While diamond simulants certainly have their time and place, keep in mind that they aren’t the same as mined or lab grown diamonds. A lab grown diamond is a real diamond, and a diamond simulant is not.

Lab grown diamonds vs. diamond simulants. Should I buy lab grown diamonds.

Pros of Lab Grown Diamonds

Ethical Considerations

If you pride yourself on being a conscious consumer, there are a number of reasons why lab grown diamonds might appeal to you more than natural diamonds. First of all, earth mined diamonds– and the mined diamond industry as a whole– carried associations with corruption and unsavory labor practices for years. The nickname “blood diamonds” was given to diamonds mined in war zones, as their profits were often used to fund the brutal, bloody wars that gripped these regions. Also, the miners themselves were consistently underpaid and expvloited through forced labor.

Fortunately, after demands for industry-wide reform, we saw the establishment of the Kimberley Process for diamond certification in 2003. This significantly reduced the use of unethical practices. Yet even today, it’s difficult to determine the exact conditions under which any natural diamond was produced. With lab grown diamonds, you can have complete peace of mind knowing that your gorgeous stone is ethically sourced and has entirely traceable origins.

Environmental Considerations

In terms of environmental impact, lab grown diamonds take the prize as well. Diamond mining takes a huge toll on the environment, and the lab grown route eliminates the majority of that. Take water usage, for example. Earth mined diamonds use over 126 gallons of water per carat, while lab grown diamonds use only 18. And the difference in carbon footprint is even more staggering: each carat of mined diamond produces 125 pounds of carbon, whereas each carat of lab grown diamond produces only 6 pounds. Mining natural diamonds also contributes to soil erosion, deforestation, and the destruction of ecosystems. So if you’re an eco-conscious individual and you care a lot about the world around us, know that lab grown diamonds are the most environmentally sustainable option.

Lower Cost

One of the biggest things to consider is the cost. A diamond engagement ring– or any diamond jewelry, for that matter– isn’t cheap. With lab grown diamonds, though, you can purchase a diamond for 20-40% less than a natural diamond. Nicole Wegman, an accredited fine jeweler with GIA, told that for the same price, you can typically get a lab grown diamond that is one to two carats larger than a diamond mined from the earth. And the cost difference is even greater for bigger diamonds. This lower cost comes from lab grown diamonds’ shorter supply chain, meaning that fewer hands have to touch the diamond before it reaches you. Lab grown diamonds also use less energy and take less time to produce than mined diamonds, further reducing the costs. For you, these savings mean that you have more money to put towards something else on your wishlist!

Cons of Lab Grown Diamonds

Misperceptions of Them as “Fake”

While lab grown diamonds are, without a doubt, real diamonds, people don’t always perceive them that way. Some unfortunately hold misconceptions of lab grown diamonds as being “fake” or “artificial,” though this is certainly beginning to change. Even just over the past few years, people have begun to learn more about lab grown diamonds and recognize their value as real diamonds. And as a result, their popularity is going up– more and more people are buying lab grown each year. However, you may certainly come across people who see a lab grown diamond as less of a true diamond.

Lower Resale Value

What about lab created diamonds’ worth? It’s true that lab grown diamonds typically have a lower resale value than natural diamonds– they depreciate more over time. But think carefully about whether or not this should be a factor in your decision. When you’re looking for engagement rings, you want something that represents your love and commitment to your partner. The lower cost of a lab grown diamond may make this more accessible to you, and it’ll leave you with more money to spend on other things that will make you happy. So do you really want to start thinking about giving away this beautiful and deeply significant engagement ring? The resale value is something to consider if you think it’ll be important for your particular situation, but in most cases, it’s best to focus on what is best for the relationship you have right now.

Lab grown diamonds are not fake.

Is a Lab Grown Diamond Best for Me?

When choosing a stone for your engagement ring, there are countless reasons why a lab grown diamond could be best. It’s important to take a look at what’s important to you and your partner when making a decision. Maybe the two of you have big plans and would love to have a little extra money to put towards them. Maybe the murky history of the natural diamond industry bothers you. Or maybe you’re concerned about the issue of climate change. Whatever the case, keep in mind as well that you won’t be sacrificing quality with lab created diamonds. A lab grown diamond engagement ring will look just as beautiful as ones featuring natural diamonds. Engagement rings are about look, of course, but they’re also about so much more. This is what may help you come to a decision about purchasing a lab grown diamond engagement ring vs a mined one. 

More and More People Are Saying “I Do” to Lab Grown

If you do choose a lab grown diamond, you won’t be alone. Over the past few years, lab grown diamonds have surged in popularity and the demand for natural diamonds has fallen. CNN Business reported that from March 2021 to March 2022, lab grown diamond engagement ring sales rose 63%. Over that same time period, mined diamond engagement ring sales declined 25%. This shift is largely due to two factors. First, the cost difference between lab grown and natural diamonds, and second, increased consumer awareness, especially among the younger generations.

Say "I do" to lab grown.

Even many celebrities have been wearing lab grown diamond jewelry in recent years. A number of them are environmentally conscious and passionate about human rights, making their choice of a lab created diamond even more appropriate. Lady Gaga, Emma Watson, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Megan Markle are just a few of the celebrities who have consistently worn and supported lab created diamonds. And they’ve shown us that a lab grown diamond is beautiful in either an engagement ring or in other jewelry, too.

If you’ve determined that a lab created diamond is the best choice for you, or even if you’re just exploring your options, Clean Origin is a perfect place to start. Whether you’re looking for an engagement ring or other diamond jewelry, we offer an exquisite and diverse collection of lab diamonds.