What is a Lab-Grown Diamond?
A synthetic diamond is known in the trade as a lab-grown diamond. Synthetic diamonds and natural diamonds have the same optical and physical properties. They both share the same chemical composition of one single element, carbon. The only difference is that one was grown in a laboratory while the other was grown in nature.
There are two known processes that are currently used to produce high-quality synthetic diamonds:
At BRIAN & NICK, we have had a few clients who question the difference between the two. Our most common question is, “Can you tell the difference between a natural versus a synthetic diamond?” Side by side, natural and synthetic diamonds appear identical. They both have the same optical, physical, and chemical components that make up a diamond. However, there are ways to tell the difference internally. Gemologist have found that the Clarity characteristics of the crystals tend to form irregular in shape compared to how they do in nature. The best way to distinguish a synthetic from a natural diamond is by sending it to the Gemological Institute of America.
Are synthetic diamonds as valuable as natural diamonds? Currently, lab-grown diamonds are priced at about 30% less than natural diamonds. They are not as valuable as a natural diamond due many factors. The biggest is rarity, as it typically takes only a few weeks to grow a synthetic diamond. A natural diamond however is in the Earth’s mantle for 1-3 billion years until volcanic activity forces the diamond closer to the surface within reach to then mine.
Recently, DeBeers launched their Light Box Campaign where they are selling round brilliant cut diamonds starting at $800 per carat. For comparison, a round brilliant
If you are in the market to get engaged I recommend choosing a natural diamond. Since lab-grown diamonds are new to the industry we don’t exactly know where their value will end up. However, if you are shopping and long-term value is not a priority but rather price and style, lab-grown diamonds may be an option. Always be sure to educate yourself, be aware of which stone you are purchasing, and why there is a difference between the two.