It seems there’s a new article about lab grown diamonds available on a daily basis, and recently, more people are interested in learning about lab grown diamonds and comparing them with natural, sustainably sourced diamonds. This is particularly true if you’re in the market for beautiful diamond jewelry. Learning more about both types of diamonds available is the key to understanding which choice might be right for you.
What are Lab Grown Diamonds?
Lab grown diamonds are literally diamonds created within a lab setting. Just as real diamonds are simply carbon in a rigid lattice pattern, lab grown diamonds are chemically the same thing - pure carbon.
Are Lab Grown Diamonds Fake or Synthetic?
Lab grown diamonds aren’t fake. Many people confuse them with stones like cubic zirconia, but lab grown diamonds have all of the same chemical properties as the diamonds that are mined across the world. While some refer to them as synthetic diamonds, that’s a misnomer. They’re just as real as any other diamond in the world today.
How are Lab Grown Diamonds Made?
They are created using two different processes. High-Pressure High Temperature (or HPHT) diamonds start with a small diamond seed in carbon. It is then exposed to extremely high temperatures (more than 1500 degrees Celsius) and high pressure (about 1.5 million pounds per square inch), forcing the carbon to melt. A diamond then grows around the starter seed, and once it’s cooled, a full diamond is formed.
The other process, Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD) starts with a tiny slice of an HPHT diamond. It’s put inside a chamber that heats as high as 800 degrees. Once that happens, Methane and other carbon-based gasses fill the chamber and are ionized into plasma. That forces the carbon to adhere to the seed and crystalize.
Are Lab Grown Diamonds More Valuable?
No, natural diamonds are the only diamonds that hold their value. There is something inherently special about sustainably sourced natural diamonds that lab grown diamonds will never have - they are truly unique. Real diamonds cannot be made, only found. Purchasing a natural diamond means purchasing something no one else will ever exactly have again. In their own way, all natural diamonds are one of a kind. The same can’t be said for lab grown diamonds, which can be mass produced by any company in the industry. It might chemically be the same as a natural diamond, but it won’t ever be as truly beautiful or long lasting as a real diamond.
Making Your Decision
So, are lab grown diamonds somehow a better investment than natural, sustainably sourced diamonds? Not really. While lab grown diamonds are similar in physical characteristics and properties, the simple reality is that most people want sustainably sourced natural diamonds, and there are many reasons to consider natural diamonds over almost any other purchase.
Natural diamonds really are rare, and that has a level of value lab grown options can’t match. They formed over billions of years in the earth’s crust, and while you can’t tell the difference without careful examination by the jeweler, knowing that your diamond is truly one of a kind matters to many customers today.
Maybe more important, though, is the importance of the natural diamond industry itself. When you choose sustainably sourced natural diamonds, you’re supporting an industry that is essential for many countries' economies.
Diamond mines provide jobs for thousands of people around the world, enhance the communities around them, and support the development of many nations, making each diamond a wonderful investment not only in a rare gem that will never be found again but also in developing economies. That’s a far cry from lab grown diamonds that only work to support the companies developing them.