7 Reasons Not to Buy a Lab Grown Diamond
By Stephanie Dore
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 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. Tl;dr We LOVE lab created diamonds!!
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 lab created 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.
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, lab created 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). Lab created 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.
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.
Side note: please, please, puhhhhleasssse get your precious jewelry appraised and insured. 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, lab created 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.
Still unsure on lab grown diamonds? These are questions everyone’s asking
Still with us? Still unsure. We hear you. You’re not alone — trust us. So, we’ve rounded up the most frequently asked questions we hear when couples asking when considering a lab grown diamond.
Are lab created diamonds worth anything?
They’re worth what people are willing to pay, which, at the moment is about 60% less than natural diamonds. Are they an investment? No, and neither are natural diamonds. Are they a pretty, sparkly symbol of your love story? Absoutely.
Are lab grown diamonds real?
Absolutely. As we’ve said before lab grown diamonds are real diamonds. Atomically, optically, and physically. While the diamond industry might refer to them as microwave diamonds, fake diamonds or any other string of insults the reality is that they are real diamonds – just born of a different origin.
Are lab created diamonds good?
As good as natural diamonds. Lab-created diamonds come in the same range of quality characteristics as natural diamonds. You can buy a cheap, heavily included warmer color lab diamond or a super white internally flawless one — the choice is yours.
Is a lab grown diamond worth it?
We think so! It’s all about what’s going to get you the look you want, for the price you want to pay. Some couples prefer to trade clarity and color for provenance, others prefer to double down on carat. There’s no right or wrong answer here — only what’s right for you.
Are all lab grown diamonds the same?
While we’d love it if all lab grown diamonds were D flawless, the reality is that’s not the case. Lab grown diamonds are not all the same. They’re grown, or formed in a way that is similar to how diamonds are formed in nature. That means inclusions and variations in color are the name of the game.
Need help finding a lab grown diamond?
Check out our diamond search where you can view 360-degree images of more than 10,000 diamonds and don’t forget to zoom out (because size can be deceiving), or book a virtual or offline appointment at our New York or San Francisco studio to view certified lab-grown and natural diamonds in person.