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Should I Buy a Lab-Grown Diamond?

Lab-grown diamonds are rapidly gaining traction as an ethical, wallet-friendly alternative to their mined counterpart. What started as an industrial grade technology, capable of growing small, yellow-tinted stones in a microwave has quickly developed into, what many believe, is the future of the diamond industry. Atomically identical, the FTC announced in a groundbreaking ruling late last year that lab-grown diamonds, are indeed, real diamonds, which begs the question — what should you buy and why, and if you do decide to go the science route, is there anything you need to watch out for?

In no particular order, these are some of the reasons we hear not to buy lab-grown. Let’s dive in.

The price is going to go to zero.

False. It’s no secret that the price/carat of lab diamonds has been dropping steadily over the past five or so years as the technology has improved and more growers have entered the market. While lab-grown diamonds once traded a mere 20% under the price of natural diamonds, today they sell for 40-50% less. We expect this trend to continue a bit further before pricing stabilizes.

Does that mean they’re a terrible investment? Only if you plan on getting divorced. But seriously, as we discuss in a separate post, while the diamond market is relatively stable, unless you’re buying investment grade fancy color diamonds, no diamond is an investment. You’re purchasing a symbol of your love, not stock.

You can’t even get them appraised.

False. Diamond appraisers appraise lab-grown diamonds as they would natural diamonds in line with their current market value. As diamond values do fluctuate, we recommend getting the diamond reappraised from time to time to make sure you’re not overpaying on your insurance.

Electricity is bad for the environment too.

True. Electricity is bad for the environment. Mined diamonds use 538.5 million joules per carat, while lab-grown ones use 250 million. So less, but not significantly. The difference being that much of the electricity used in creating lab-grown diamonds is renewable forms of energy such as solar power.

Beyond electricity, lab-grown diamonds consume significantly less water/carat than their mined brothers-in-law — 18 gallons vs. 126 gallons — and have startling 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.

They’re not real diamonds.

False. The FTC ruled, “A diamond is a diamond no matter whether it is grown in a lab or comes out of the ground.” That said, they also put strict rules in place to mitigate consumer confusion in the market place. There’s a lot of terms thrown around for “lab-grown diamond” and not all of them mean the same thing.

You may hear: synthetic diamonds, lab diamonds, cultured diamonds, above ground diamonds, etc. and while some of these are lab grown, others are not. When shopping, make sure to buy from a retailer clearly disclosing the product they are selling and not trying to obfuscate it under confusing terminology.

They’re not unique, each one is the same.

False. Lab-grown diamonds are grown from individual diamond wafers (like a cookie) that pass on their characteristics to the newly formed diamond. Lab-grown diamonds possess the same inclusions as natural diamonds and can even emit fluorescence. They should be purchased with the same care and attention to detail as a natural diamond, as their price fluctuates based on the four C’s in precisely the same way a natural diamond does.

They’re not high quality enough.

False. Historically lab-grown diamonds often emitted a yellow-ish or blue-ish tinge and could only be grown in the less desirable color grades. Today’s lab-grown diamonds come in a wide range of colors, all the way up to D (colorless).

I want a big diamond. You can only get small lab diamonds.

False. While it used to be true that only smaller diamonds could be lab-grown, this has been rapidly changing. 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.

They’re still expensive.

True. While lab-grown diamonds are still expensive compared to an iPhone, they are 50% less than mined diamonds which means a 2-carat lab-grown diamond might cost around $10,000 vs. $22,000 for a mined diamond. The savings is more than enough to put towards a wedding or your Instagram-worthy honeymoon.

It’s a lot to keep in mind, we know. When you’re ready, we’re here to help. We do the digging for you — it’s our humble contribution to your special story — and it’s our pleasure to lend a hand.

Ready to get started? See that window in the bottom right? Send us a note and while you’re waiting, or visit our diamond selector. No pressure, diamonds have enough of that.