The LMJ Diamond Buying Guide Vol. 2 | Lab Created Diamonds
Hi all! In this installment of the Diamond Buying Guide I'm breaking down lab created diamonds. There's a lot of stigma on these stones because there's a common misconception that they are synthetic. These stones have identical properties to diamonds. They are composed of the same material, require the same cutting and polishing techniques, and exhibit the same properties and appearance to earth mined diamonds. All that means that the same principals I talked about in my last post apply here. The 4 C's are used to grade and price lab created diamonds, just like earth mined ones.
So, how are lab diamonds created? There are two main ways to create a diamond in the lab. The first is not unlike nature, only we've sped up the process. Scientists use high pressure, high heat (HPHT) in combination with a carbon "soup" to create single diamond crystals. The other way to create diamonds is using a chemical vapor deposition CVD). This process quite literally grows the diamond- scientists start with a small seed diamond and grow it layer by layer in a chemical chamber.
The process has evolved a lot in recent years, and scientists are making strides in creating larger, colorless and near perfect stones, where before they were limited to smaller or more yellow results.
Lab created diamonds have the propensity to be 20% - 40% cheaper, however this varies greatly with clarity, carat, and color. As I mentioned above, larger, near colorless stones are still a rarity in the lab and will demand a higher price.
So, what are the benefits to a lab created diamond? I get a lot of clients that are concerned about the social and ecological impact of earth mined diamonds. The beauty of lab created is that you know absolutely where it came from. They are not newly mined stones, and are created without the environmental burden. Another bonus is the potential for lower prices, giving you more diamond for the same amount.
Perception plays a big role in the debate for earth mined vs. lab created stones. The newly launched "Real is Rare" marketing scheme by the Diamond Producers Association (a conglomerate of all the main diamond miners) would have you believe that an earth mined diamond is intrinsically more valuable and special. For some people that's true- I believe a large part of the market will continue to prefer earth mined stones for their perceived rarity and the thought that lab created diamonds aren't "real."
The thing is, they are real- nearly indistinguishable from earth mined diamonds save for putting them under complicated scientific tests. I think that as consumers become more and more invested in sustainable and ethical products, lab created diamonds will have a surge in popularity.
So there you have it folks. Lab diamonds- just as good- if not better- than their earth mined cousins! I'd love to hear your thoughts/perception of lab created diamonds. Feel free to leave a comment below or email me directly!
See you next time for diamond alternatives!