7 Reasons to Love Lab Created Diamonds
By Stephanie Dore
If you’ve started shopping for diamond engagement rings, chances are you’ve found some scary headlines about lab created diamonds and why you should steer clear. And for good reason. The staunch and stodgy diamond industry benefits from consumer confusion. They want you to keep things as they are, sticking to natural diamonds, so they can continue to rake in the dough without having to answer, you know, questions. Questions about diamond sustainability, diamond prices, diamond realness. But lab grown diamonds are here to stay, baby. And we love ‘em. In fact, we’re so obsessed we’ve come up with 7 reasons you should love ‘em too. Let us convince you, won’t you?
Lab created diamonds are real diamonds
At the top of the frequently asked questions list is “are lab grown diamonds real diamonds?” or “aren’t lab grown diamonds fake?” However you ask it, the answer is the same. Lab grown diamonds are, in actual fact, real diamonds. They have the exact same chemical, physical, and optical properties of diamonds grown deep within the Earth, only they’re made with fancy tech in a science-y lab instead of by, well, nature.
Think of it like ice. You know, the kind you’re currently popping into some fizzy drink. Nature makes ice. You make ice. You can buy ice at the nearest bodega. It’s still ice. Same goes for lab created diamonds. And the technology is only getting better! Today, there are more companies getting into the lab grown diamond game, with improved processes and finer stones. That means more selection for you to choose from. Even the staunch old school retailers are starting to cave to the lab grown diamond appeal. I mean, not everyone can be an early adopter, right?
Lab grown diamonds are as unique as mined diamonds
Some people swear that the beauty of a natural, mined diamond is in its utter uniqueness. And that lab created stones just don’t have that. But they couldn’t be more wrong. 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. But every lab diamond is grown individually, just like diamonds from mother nature, and has its own personality, inclusions, color, everything. No two are exactly alike. And we love them for that.
And because of this awesome individuality, you should purchase lab grown diamonds just like you would a natural diamond, paying attention to the 4Cs and all, because their prices will still fluctuate based on their unique qualities. Also, lab grown diamonds that have been graded (yes, the grading labs, including GIA, evaluate lab created diamonds too!) will typically note that they are lab grown in the laser inscription on their girdle, so don’t worry too much about someone trying to pull the wool over your eyes. On that note, no matter what kind of diamond you’re buying, you should always do your own research and work with a reputable jeweler!
Lab created diamonds are great for the environment
The traditional natural diamond industry will try to tell you that lab grown diamonds aren’t all they’re cracked up to be. That they consume tons of energy to pop out a tiny little stone. But what they won’t tell you are all the nitty gritty details of how natural diamonds aren’t so sustainable themselves. Here’s the breakdown.
While today’s diamond mining is very different from the old days, it still involves moving large quantities of earth, siphoning or sieving diamonds from rock, soil, and sand. In fact, every carat disrupts nearly 100 square feet, and creates thousands of pounds of mineral waste. Mined diamonds also consume more than 126 gallons of water per carat, whereas lab grown diamonds consume just under 20! And speaking of carbon footprints… mined diamonds produce more than 125 pounds of carbon for every single carat, while lab grown stones produce less than 10 pounds. And back to that whole energy bit. The reality is that mined diamonds use a whopping 500 million joules per carat, whereas lab stones use about half that.
Some lab growers are going even further by using entirely renewable forms of energy including solar and hydropower. This doesn’t apply to every lab across the globe, but there are some US lab diamond creators building carbon-neutral factories that run on sustainable energy. If this is important to you, just ask!
You can buy big lab grown diamonds
It used to be the case that if you wanted a gobstopper of a diamond, you had to go natural. But that was then. And now? Lab grown diamonds are getting bigger and better every day. In fact, in 2017, the team at Ausburg University grew a 155 carat diamond in disc form, putting an end to this rumor once and for all. You can find small diamonds, big diamonds, diamonds in every shape and color, all grown in a lab.
The lab can even be your best resource if you’re looking for a super unique stone color or cut. How so? Well, it’s a lab! If you really want to go all out, you can have a lab grown diamond custom made. It might not be ready to ship tomorrow, but it’s not out of the question.
Lab created diamonds are affordable
Okay, okay, so all diamonds, including lab grown diamonds, are a luxury item. Especially when you compare them to the cost of groceries or the new iPhone (tho, that’s also pretty pricey!). But in a straight comparison lab grown diamonds can save you about 40-60% in cost against a comparable natural, mined diamond. In their early years (which wasn’t all that long ago), lab grown diamonds were about 20% less expensive than natural diamonds, but that price has been dropping fast.
Lab created diamonds are an investment
While the drop in lab grown diamond pricing might scare some people off — what with the traditional thinking of diamonds being an investment purchase and all — it’s certainly not scary for your wallet. And let’s just break this whole way of thinking right here and now. No diamond, natural or otherwise, is a financial investment. Unless you’re buying museum-worthy rarities or haunting the halls of the big name auction houses, of course. Actually, diamonds are kind of like cars. They lose major value as soon as you buy them. Or as soon as your return period runs out, at least. Really though, resell prices for diamonds will always be way less than what you paid, because capitalism. Yes, many companies buy back diamonds but they also have to resell them to someone else, and make a profit doing so, which means they’re going to offer you significantly less for it. And there’s even less of a buy-back market for lab grown diamonds. So darlings, don’t buy diamonds as a financial investment. They’re only an investment in your love.
You can get lab created diamonds appraised
It used to be the case that diamond grading labs wouldn’t grade lab created diamonds or issue diamond grading certificates. Following suit, jewelry appraisers wouldn’t appraise lab grown diamonds, because they were kind of deemed worthless. But the industry is finally catching up to the technology and now even the most reputable grading labs accept and issue certificates for lab grown diamonds and appraisers are doing the same.
What’s the difference? A diamond grading certificate identifies your diamond and its qualities. You know, those 4Cs everyone’s always talking about. A jewelry appraisal takes all of those qualities, and the current diamond market, into account and estimates how much it would cost to replace the item with something comparable if, say, it were lost or damaged. If you’re getting your engagement ring insured (you better be!), the insurance company will often want an appraisal of the item to determine what you have and what it will cost to replace it.
Need help finding a lab grown diamond?
We got you, boo. To explore what they really look like (yes, with your own two eyes), 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 salon to view certified lab-grown and natural diamonds in person.
Not finding what you’re looking for? Email us with what you’re looking for at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll curate a list of 5-7 exclusive stones that are just right for you.