Earth vs Lab Grown Diamonds

Earth vs Lab Grown Diamonds

Deciding Between Lab-Grown And Natural Diamonds? Here's What You Should Know.

Is there anything more classic than a diamond? When it comes to engagement rings, they've been in vogue since the 1930s. Symbolic of love and commitment and touted as rare, these dazzling gemstones usually come with hefty price tags.

Enter lab-grown diamonds. Unlike their mined counterparts, these alternatives are the result of technology that synthesises the natural creation process. The best part - they cost significantly less.

Finding a budget-friendly option is always a bonus. But is this a case of getting what you pay for? Does the lower price mean lab-grown diamonds are a cheap knockoff?

Lab-grown diamonds are just as real as natural stones

Good news. Unlike the counterfeit handbags you see in Asian markets, lab-grown diamonds are the real deal. They share the same carbon structure, chemical properties and optical characteristics as those made by Mother Nature.

Regardless of source, both types are genuine diamonds and are objectively interchangeable. In fact, it is virtually impossible to tell one from the other without specialised gemologist equipment. Rest assured, even your most eagle-eyed friend would be unable to determine which kind you're wearing. Unless of course you tell them.

So why is there such a difference in cost?

If you compare a lab-grown and a natural diamond of the same size and quality, the latter will (on average) be 20-40% more dear.

Mining diamonds is more labour and resource-intensive than creating them. On top of which, finding jewellery-quality stones is relatively rare. Add to that the high status placed on these gems, and you've got yourself a pretty big spend.

On the other hand, cultivated diamonds are manufactured in controlled environments. While they go through the same cut and polish processes as natural stones, the supply chain is much shorter. Less effort translates to a more affordable price.

An undeserved bad rap

For all intents and purposes, lab-grown diamonds function identically to their natural counterparts. Both types come in various grades of quality, shapes and cuts, offering the same versatility in design and use.

Despite this, there are some (even within the industry) who remain sceptical. And there's a reason for that.

Cultivated diamonds are relatively new on the scene, in the world of fine jewellery. When they first appeared, some considered them simulants (like cubic zirconias) or sub-par imitations.

Even though there have been significant improvements in quality, this misinformation continues to taint the reputation of lab-grown stones today. Fortunately, as consumers become more familiar with created gems, you're likely to see the "inferior" label go the way of the dodo.

However, there is one aspect where the sceptics may be justified: value over time.

Resale value is a divisive issue

If you're buying a diamond for an engagement ring, gift or family heirloom, you may not be too concerned about resale value. But it is a question that pops up more frequently as lab-grown diamonds become more popular.

As technology continues to improve and more manufacturers enter the market, the affordability of cultivated stones will continue to increase. Which unfortunately means the diamond you purchase today may actually cost less in the future. And this will continue to be the case until the lab-grown market stabilities.

It's worth noting, however, that jewellery, in general, is not the best investment. Unless you have a substantially historic or rare specimen, even natural diamonds drop in value soon after purchase. Much like a new car once it's driven off the lot.

What remains to be seen is how much that drop is for lab-grown diamonds. This will be easier to estimate once the market has matured and prices have stabilised.

Till then, keep in mind value is not the same as worth. The sentiment behind your purchase is what's important. As a symbol of your love, the diamond you choose will be priceless, regardless of how it was created.

Environmental and social impacts are worth considering

In our experience, consumers who prioritise ethical sourcing opt for lab-grown diamonds. This variety provides 100% traceability, allowing you the peace of mind of knowing they are conflict-free.

The social impact, however, isn't as clear cut. While advanced economies can prosper from new manufacturing facilities, jobs in responsible mining operations in developing economies (e.g., Africa) may be lost.

Nonetheless, cultivated stones do reduce the effects of mining on the environment. Even though the production process does require substantial power, developments in technology (such as Chemical Vapor Deposition) are proving more energy-ecient.

Pros and cons of lab-grown and natural diamonds

Still not sure which diamond you should choose? To help make your decision easier, we've summarised the key factors in a side-by-side comparison.

So, which should you pick?

At the end of the day, the choice is yours. And it depends on your priorities. If you have a limited budget but want a large stone, lab-grown diamonds offer you more options. Conversely, if posterity and tradition are more important, then opt for a natural gemstone.

In our opinion, you really can't go wrong. Because when all is said and done, the real value of a diamond is the emotion you attach to it. If you find a stone you absolutely adore, then that's the one for you.

We carry both lab-grown and natural diamonds. Explore our range online, or get in touch, and we'll help you find the perfect stone for you.