The Most Frequently Asked Questions About Lab Grown Diamonds
Here we strive to give you the most comprehensive answers to questions surrounding a lab grown diamond purchase. If you are seeking an alternative to mined diamonds you can feel good about now and forever, check our Clean Origin's selection of lab diamonds.
What Is A Lab Grown Diamond?
"Grown" inside a lab using cutting-edge technology, a lab created diamond replicates the natural diamond growing process, with a result that is chemically, physically, and optically the exact same as those produced beneath the Earth's surface.
Rest assured that lab diamonds have the same optical properties, chemical composition, and appearance as diamonds mined from the Earth's crust. The only difference is their origin. You get a mine free alternative with the same fire, brilliance, and desired shape. They are chemically identical to natural diamonds without sacrificing quality.
Are Lab Grown Diamonds Real?
The number one question we get is, "Are lab grown diamonds real?"
The answer is a straightforward yes! Lab grown diamonds, otherwise known as man-made or lab diamonds, are indeed real diamonds. In fact, the only thing that makes lab created diamonds different from natural diamonds is their origin.
"Lab created diamonds are not fakes. They're not cubic zirconias. They have all the same physical and chemical properties of a mined diamond," says Stephen Morisseau, a spokesman for the Gemological Institute of America — a nonprofit organization that oversees the international diamond grading system. (Source.)
Are Lab Grown Diamonds The Same as Synthetic Diamonds?
Lab grown diamonds are sometimes referred to as synthetic diamonds. However, while this term is not technically inaccurate, the use of "synthetic" may be why people believe lab grown diamonds are "fake" or not "real diamonds." But this couldn't be farther from the truth!
Lab grown diamonds are not the same as cubic zirconia or other diamond simulants, as they are chemically, physically, and molecularly identical to natural diamonds from the Earth's crust. When compared to other popular diamond simulants, it's clear that lab created diamonds are, in fact, real diamonds with no mining involved.
What Are The Benefits Of Lab Created Diamonds?
Lab grown diamonds make for gorgeous engagement rings and fine jewelry — at a fraction of the cost of traditional diamonds and with substantially less environmental impact.
There is no way to distinguish between natural and lab diamonds with the naked eye. Trained professionals use specialized equipment. Diamond testers will verify that they are real diamonds.
How Are Diamonds Made?
Before we talk about how lab grown diamonds are made, it's crucial to understand how natural diamonds are formed. The processes for natural and lab grown diamonds are incredibly similar — only one is a natural occurrence, while the other takes place in a lab.
Geologists working with mined diamonds believe that natural diamonds formed deep within the Earth between 1 billion to 3 billion years ago. While they don't know precisely how each natural diamond came to be, they believe it starts when carbon-rich material is subjected to extremely high temperatures and pressure beneath the Earth's surface. Natural diamonds begin to form as the carbon atoms in the material rearrange and bind to create a diamond's particular crystal lattice structure. A diamond forms as this stunning crystal structure develops over a long time.
In the creation of natural diamonds, carbon dioxide is exposed to extreme heat over 2,200 degrees Fahrenheit and put under extreme pressure of roughly 727,000 pounds per square inch. Diamonds are transported from deep within the Earth's core to the surface through volcanic explosions.
What Processes are Used to Make Lab Grown Diamonds?
There are two processes to produce lab grown diamonds: High Pressure-High Temperature (HPHT) and Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD).
High Pressure-High Temperature (HPHT) lab grown diamonds are made using one of three manufacturing processes: a belt press, the cubic press, and the split-sphere (BARS) press. These processes create an environment of extremely high pressure and high temperature conducive to diamond growth.
What is High Pressure-High Temperature (HPHT)?
An HPHT lab grown diamond begins as a tiny diamond seed that is 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, forming a diamond around the starter seed. It is then carefully cooled to form a pure carbon diamond.
What Is Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD)?
A CVD lab grown diamond also begins as a thin slice of diamond seed, often an HPHT-produced lab grown diamond. The diamond seed is then placed in a sealed chamber and heated to around 800 degrees Celsius. The chamber is filled with carbon-rich gas, such as methane — thus the name Chemical Vapor Deposition. 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 diamond seed and slowly crystallizes. An incredible amount of science goes into your lab grown diamond engagement ring!
How Are Diamonds Certified And Graded?
Most diamond certification labs grade using the 4c's (cut, clarity, color, and carat — more on those later!). However, a select few use their own criteria as it is not standardized in the diamond industry.
The diamond grading process is roughly the same for all diamond certification labs: Each diamond is graded independently by several gemologists at the lab. The individual grades are compiled and analyzed to determine the final grade.
Are Lab Grown Diamonds The Same Quality as Natural Diamonds?
Both lab and natural diamonds are sent to a gem lab that grades all kinds of diamonds. Their processes are designed to provide each diamond with an unbiased grade. However, it's common for a diamond to get a different grade if sent back for a second grading, not only from a different lab but even within the same lab.
For this reason, there are a lot of differing opinions amongst consumers and diamond retailers as to which lab is the "best." But it's essential to remember that those opinions are entirely subjective. Each lab, much like anything in life, has its pros and cons. When shopping for lab grown diamonds, the best way to ensure a trustworthy grade is to make sure your retailer uses a reputable certification lab.
How Are Lab Grown Diamonds Graded?
Grading lab grown diamonds is the same process used to certify natural diamonds. A diamond grader uses the 4 C's to evaluate the gem. A lab created diamond's worth is related to how well it scores. Rare diamonds, such as fancy colored blue diamonds, will always be more valuable, lab diamond or not.
A diamond retailer, whether for natural diamonds or lab grown diamonds, chooses which lab they use because they trust that lab to grade diamonds fairly. If diamond certification is an important factor in your purchase, you should have a candid conversation with your jeweler about which lab they use and why. More than anything, jewelers want you to be confident in your purchase, so don't be afraid to ask questions to find the best lab created diamonds for your engagement ring or jewelry. This conversation will help ensure you make the most educated decision about purchasing an engagement ring or diamond jewelry.
A diamond is evaluated using the 4c's: cut, clarity, color, and carat. When grading, they are looking to judge the diamond on how well it has been cut down from the raw form into a jewel, how flawless and clear it is, and its size.
Learn more about each of the 4 C's of diamonds and the different measurements used for each.
Why Are Lab Grown Diamonds Less Expensive Than Natural Diamonds?
Lab grown diamonds usually have substantially lower prices than natural diamonds. You get more sparkle for your money! Also, if the cost to the environment is an important factor in your decision, lab grown diamonds make for a win-win situation.
This does not mean that lab grown diamonds are "cheap" — in fact, the capital required for processing lab grown diamonds and mined diamonds are relatively similar. Natural and lab created diamonds have the same costs when cutting, polishing, and inspection and a great deal of care and craftsmanship goes into preparing diamonds for engagement rings.
However, the costs and processes are very different up to that point. Lab grown diamonds offer a shorter supply chain than mined stones. Getting a natural diamond from its raw form to a retail-ready gemstone requires miners, distributors, cutters, polishers, jewelry manufacturers, and retailers.
Whether you are in the market for lab diamond stud earrings or engagement rings, you save money when you choose lab grown diamonds. To put it simply, a lab created diamond touches fewer hands, making it ultimately less expensive.
The most considerable benefit of a lab grown diamond is you get a bigger stone at a lower price. All the while you are not sacrificing quality. This alone has made lab diamonds surge in popularity in recent years.
Are Lab Grown Diamonds a More Ethical Choice for Engagement Rings?
Several years ago, the mined diamond industry came under scrutiny when unethical production practices were exposed. These diamonds, sometimes referred to as blood or conflict diamonds, funded violence and exploited miners and their families. No one wants blood to have been shed for their engagement ring.
Thanks to the Kimberley Process, established in 2003, these unethical practices subsided some. It's estimated that 99.9% of natural diamonds are now conflict-free. However, the only to be absolutely sure your diamond is conflict-free is to opt for a lab grown diamond.
If avoiding conflict or blood diamonds is important to you, lab created diamonds provide peace of mind that natural diamonds often cannot. You may find reassurance in the transparency of lab grown diamonds and the ability to know the exact origin of your diamond.
Are Lab Diamonds Good For The Environment?
As with the mining of any natural resource, diamond mining has a significant impact on the environment. While diamond mining companies are fully aware of that impact and have taken steps to minimize their effect on the ecosystems around them, mining processes are still harmful to the planet.
Choosing a lab grown diamond ensures that your engagement ring is more environmentally friendly. Lab created diamonds are inherently and significantly less detrimental to the environment, as it takes considerably less energy to grow a diamond in a lab than it does to dig it out of the ground. Minimizing energy use is incentivized, as it can help growers save money and decrease costs.
Lab Created Diamonds Vs. Mined: Which is Better?
As lab created diamonds continue to grow in popularity, diamond shoppers will ask themselves to decide between lab grown and mined. But the only one who can answer the question of mined vs. lab diamonds is the shopper.
There are many reasons to prefer a lab grown diamond or a natural diamond when seeking the perfect engagement ring. You may choose a mined diamond because you feel they hold a particular significance and are one of nature's miracles with a mysterious origin, a magical stone dug from the Earth.
Or, you may be attracted to a lab created diamond because you feel they signify modern love and the incredible progression of technology. You may be in awe of how lab grown has changed the diamond market or see the value in getting more sparkle for the price.
Should I Buy a Lab Grown Diamond?
While some may want to debate which type of diamond is "better," in reality, mined and lab created diamonds aren't in competition with one another. Diamonds represent love — and love is love.
The true significance of the diamond you choose isn't in its origin. It's not the carat weight or the price you paid. It's not how it's graded. It's not its size or potential resale value.
The significance of the diamond you choose is the love it represents.
Why Choose Clean Origin for Lab Grown Diamonds?
Collectively, we've been in the jewelry business for over 100 years. From the beginning, our passion has always been diamonds, jewelry, and caring for our planet and our customers. Because of this, we have chosen to design all of our jewelry using lab created diamonds.
Whether it's for a diamond engagement ring, a unique wedding band, or any other kind of diamond jewelry, we believe lab created diamonds offer the opportunity to choose a diamond that you can trust to be high quality, affordable, ethical, and environmentally friendly — all backed by a 100-day return policy.
Are Lab Created Diamonds Worth Anything?
Both lab created and natural diamonds are beautiful, high-quality gemstones, each with an intriguing history that represents the best feeling in the world: love. Neither natural nor lab diamonds have much in the way of resale value, but you are investing in your future with the love of your life. You're investing in a legacy, a family heirloom that will be cherished now and forever. Concern about future pricing may be the wrong answer, as you can't put a price on an expression of love.
Regardless, we understand that diamonds are a significant investment, and you want (and deserve) the knowledge needed to make an informed purchase, even if you are not interested in a lab created diamond.