Many consumers - especially millennial customers - want to get behind the synthetic diamonds movement. They believe these stones are not only more budget-friendly, but also more ethical and honest. But is the public being sold a false bill of goods? Let’s take a look at the fiction and fact of manufactured diamonds.
Claim: Synthetic diamonds are less expensive than mined diamonds.
This is often cited as a major selling point. After all, who could resist a stone that looks and acts like a diamond at a 30-40% lower price point? Tempting to be sure - if it were true.
Often, labs use a more forgiving grading agency; while GIA is stringent in its grading (and renowned the world over), other labs may skew their results. Ira Weissman, founder of independent education site Diamond Pro, says, “[W]hen you compare apples to apples, they’re actually more expensive.” A synthetic diamond may cost up to 20% more than a mined diamond.
Another factor to consider is the resale value of synthetic diamonds versus mined diamonds. There can be no comparison. A quality diamond will retain its value for generations; synthetics simply do not stand up to the test of time.
Claim: They are just like diamonds.
Let’s parse this out: yes, on a molecular level, synthetic diamonds are identical to natural diamonds. They look and feel like the real thing. The difference is the real thing is formed over billions of years; lab grown diamonds are formed in hours.
Nature ensures that its products have its own unique sets of inclusions and imperfections; but man-made diamonds are not blemish-free. They just have man-made inclusions. Experts can spot the differences right away. If your goal is to purchase a flawless diamond, you are not going to have a better shot with synthetics.
As techniques are refined, synthetics will be produced faster and more cheaply. The market may well become inundated, and according to some, these manufactured stones will be slightly more valuable as cubic zirconia.
Claim: Synthetics are more ethical.
It plays into the marketing of synthetic diamonds: of course they’re “conflict free.” They’re grown in a lab - how could there by conflict? Just dig deeper. There are over 1.5 million diamond miners, and they support over 7 million people with their work. Lab-grown diamonds can divert vital work from artisanal diggers in the poorest regions of the world.
Remember, your reputable loose and melee diamond supplier adheres to the Kimberley Process. This process ensures that the stones you purchase are sourced ethically along each step of the supply chain.
There is nothing inherently wrong with synthetic diamonds - just as there is nothing wrong with cubic zirconia either. They’re just not diamonds. Real always has cache; real always has value; and real always has pride of place in the luxury jewelry market.