In today’s world of sustainable choices and conscious consumerism, lab-grown diamonds have emerged as the modern alternative to traditional mined diamonds. These gems offer a tantalizing promise of being wallet-friendly and environmentally conscious, yet their arrival on the market has stirred debates, especially among traditionalists. Questions swirl: How do lab-grown diamonds hold up in terms of value? What’s their real environmental impact? Are they genuinely as ‘real’ as their natural counterparts? And how does the appraisal process for these innovative jewels compare?
As you ponder the possibility of owning a shimmering lab-grown diamond or just wish to satiate your curiosity, this article will illuminate the intricacies of this fascinating topic. Whether you’re deliberating an engagement ring purchase or simply intrigued by the intersection of science and luxury, delve in to uncover the multifaceted truths of lab-grown versus mined diamonds.
The trend on the tip of everyone’s tongue—lab diamonds. Rapidly gaining traction as an ethical, wallet-friendly alternative to mined diamonds, especially when it comes to cashing in on a major engagement ring purchase, are lab created diamonds or man made diamonds too good to be true? Are lab created diamonds worth anything? Are lab grown diamonds real? Everyone has an opinion. So we’re just here to try and break it all down so you can feel super comfy with whatever you choose.
In no particular order, here are eight of the reasons we hear to not buy a lab grown diamond, and make your decision when comparing lab diamonds vs. real diamonds a little bit easier.
1. Lab grown diamonds are worthless
It’s no secret that the price per carat of lab created diamonds has been dropping, and fast. But like with any technological innovation—the more competitors enter the market and the more we learn about making these stunning stones—it’s only natural to see them get more affordable. At the same time, they’re also getting more available, more beautiful, and more varied.
Once about 20% less than the price of natural, mined diamonds, today you can find lab diamonds for 40-50% less. Wallet already feeling better? We expect this trend to continue a bit before pricing stabilizes, but man made diamonds are definitely going to save you dollars. Does that mean they’re a terrible investment? Are lab grown diamonds worth anything? Are we talking love story or stock purchase? But seriously, while the diamond market is relatively stable, unless you’re buying investment-grade fancy color diamonds, no diamond is an investment.
Purchasing a diamond (natural or lab grown) is like buying a new car and driving it off the lot, meaning 90% of the time you will not be able to resell it for more than you paid! There is really no comparison in the environmental impact of lab diamonds vs. a brand new mined diamond. Tl;dr If you are eco-conscious, go lab.
2. Lab diamonds are bad for the environment
Hello, carbon footprint. We’re all trying to do a little better these days, and the diamond industry isn’t historically known for being super transparent—so it’s good to know what you’e getting into.
First thing’s first: Lab grown diamonds are made with electricity. Electricity is bad for the environment. Lab created diamonds use 250 million joules per carat. Seem like a lot? Mined diamonds use 538.5 million. But some lab diamonds, like Diamond Foundry’s, are grown with 100% renewable energy. If that’s important to you, just ask!
Beyond electricity, man made diamonds consume significantly less water per carat than their mined counterparts—18 gallons vs. 126 gallons—and have startlingly lower carbon emissions. Bottom line, if you believe in global warming, there’s no better way to flaunt your support than with a big, shiny, lab created rock.
3. Lab diamonds aren’t real diamonds
Is ice real if it’s made in your freezer? Hello chilled rosé on a hot summer day. Same goes for lab grown diamonds. They’re au naturale, just made in a different way (by machines instead of mother Earth). Man made diamonds are atomically, physically, and optically identical to natural diamonds. And you don’t have to take our word for it. In 2018, the FTC ruled, “A diamond is a diamond no matter whether it is grown in a lab or comes out of the ground.” Enough said. Still wondering if lab grown diamonds are real? We’ve got all the deets on how lab diamonds are grown.
With lab created, you can get double the ring for less than half the price! So if bigger is better for you, a lab diamond is the way to go. This custom 4.5 CTW lab grown diamond three stone engagement ring is an absolute knockout at about 1/2 the price of its’ natural equivalent.
4. You can’t get lab grown diamonds appraised
A diamond is a diamond is a diamond, no? Just as some grading labs have started offering certification for lab created diamonds, jewelry appraisers will also appraise them—as they would any natural diamond—in line with their current market value. Yes, your appraisal might say “lab created” on it. That’s what it is. Just remember, an appraisal isn’t the value of your diamond, or what you paid for it. It’s meant to evaluate the cost of replacing it, for, you know, insurance purposes.
There’s nothing worse than damaging or losing the symbol of your love to teach you this lesson. And as diamond values fluctuate, consider getting your diamond reappraised from time to time to make sure you’re not overpaying on your insurance.
5. All lab diamonds are the same
Look, they’re not made with a cookie cutter, or even an assembly line. While we’re getting better at the tech side of the process, lab created diamonds still have a mind of their own and each one is unique! Are all lab created diamonds good? Absolutely not.
In fact, each lab diamond is grown from an individual seed, kind of like that apartment garden you’re rocking these days. There are two types of lab created diamonds—CVD diamonds and HPHT diamonds. In both processes, the diamond seed passes on its characteristics to the newly formed diamond.
Plus, man made diamonds possess the same inclusions as natural diamonds and can even emit fluorescence. You should purchase them with the same care and attention to detail as a natural diamond, as their prices fluctuate based on the 4C’s in precisely the same way as mined diamonds’ do.
6. You can only buy small lab grown diamonds
This one definitely used to be true. But it’s also been rapidly changing. Check out the team at Ausburg University, who, in 2017, grew a 155 carat diamond in disc form, putting an end to this rumor once and for all. It’s only a matter of time until you can swing that 15-carat J.Lo look alike on your pretty little paw.
7. Lab grown diamonds are expensive
Wait, didn’t we just discuss how cost-effective they can be? Well, there’s still plenty of rumblings out there. While lab grown diamonds are still expensive compared to, say, an iPhone, they sell for ~70% less than a comparable mined diamond. A 2-carat lab created round diamond might cost around $5,000 vs. $20,000 for a mined diamond. The savings is more than enough to put towards a wedding, your Instagram-worthy honeymoon, or, well, a brand new iPhone.
As a jewelcraft master, I have spent years honing my craft and perfecting my skills in creating beautiful, high-quality fine jewelry. I take great pride in my work, and I am always striving to create pieces that are unique, elegant, and timeless. In addition to creating jewelry, I also love to share my knowledge and passion with others through writing. That’s why I enjoy blogging about fine jewelry, where I can provide insight into the design process, share interesting industry news and trends, and offer tips on how to care for and style jewelry.