Natural Diamonds vs. Labgrown Diamonds- A Guide

Everything you need to know about the different types of diamonds

Natural Diamonds Vs Lab-grown Diamonds: A Guide

In recent years gemmologists, jewellers and customers have extensively debated about lab-grown diamonds and their quality. People in the industry keep talking about its impeccable visual and physical similarities to mined natural diamonds.

But what is a lab-grown diamond and how do jewellers and gemmologists differentiate them from the original ones? Let us learn what industry experts have to say about natural lab-grown diamonds, and how different they are from each other.

Lab Diamonds:

Key points to know:

  • Lab-grown diamonds are real diamonds.
  • Both natural and lab-grown diamonds own similar physical and chemical properties.

How are they produced?

Lab-grown diamonds are produced under highly regulated conditions inside laboratories.Here, environmental conditions similar to the earthen depths of high temperatures and extreme pressure are reproduced.

They have the same and exact chemical and physical features as original diamonds. It displays the same qualities as crystal structure, hardness, genuine scintillation, and sparkle of natural diamonds.

The lab-grown diamonds fall into two categories which are:

(High-Pressure High Temperature) HPHT Diamonds

(Chemical of vapour deposition) CVH Diamonds

The acronyms represent the methods implemented to have them manufactured in a laboratory.

Natural diamonds:

Most people think that all jewellery stores sell natural diamonds. However, good quality natural diamonds are rare and hard to find. Natural diamonds are created after millions of years in the mantle of the earth.

Extreme physical and geothermal underground conditions will create a natural diamond. Once the diamond is created it is pushed to the surface of the earth by upward thrusts of molten rock from the mantle. They are later mined, refined, and polished into the most beautiful jewellery and made available for sale in the market.

So, What Is the Actual Difference Between Natural And Lab-created Diamonds,  How To Recognize Them?

Practically, the differences between a natural and lab diamond are trivial, characteristically they are the same. Any visual difference between a natural and lab-grown diamond cannot be noticed by the untrained eye. They both own the same clarity, colour, size, and shape, likewise, lab-grown diamonds come with the same hardness as a natural diamond.

However, if you ask a trained gemmologist, he may be able to explain to you the internal differences after having them studied under a microscope. Today’s consumers like to compare and evaluate all different types of diamonds to ensure it is of the best quality. Many clients often notice the difference in appearance and sparkle in them. Therefore, it is recommended that they need to be instructed and given clear reviews of lab diamonds on a personal level.

Carbon is the main element in both lab diamonds and natural diamonds. The only possible difference that can be chemically found and confirmed is those tiny amounts of nitrogen in naturally created diamonds. The lack of nitrogen in lab diamonds is the only way for a gemmologist to see that it has not formed naturally. Another unique way to identify a lab diamond is the presence of unique fluorescence and laser inscription (inscribed after manufacturing) within it.

What Is the Price of Buying a Lab Diamond Over Natural Diamond?

When it comes to pricing, lab diamonds come at a reasonable price, compared to natural diamonds.

The cost of lab diamonds is significantly less because natural diamonds are prized for their uniqueness, rarity, and characteristics which it acquired through billion years of change.

Even though both have the same size, shape, cut, clarity and quality, lab diamonds sell at a price from 30-50% less than natural diamonds. This makes lab diamonds a popular choice among many millennials and new couples.

Is Diamond Mining More Sustainable than Lab Diamonds Manufacturing:

Mining natural diamonds is not a sustainable practice. Natural diamonds are awfully expensive due to the cost of mining and the mercantile effects associated with this. What is more, the actual quantity of pure gem-quality diamonds mined is extremely limited compared to the abundance of lesser quality diamond rocks. This is because gem quality diamonds must be exceptional quality. Most diamonds mined are only industry drill bit quality. When one imagines the amount of rock and earth excavated and piled up to find a single crystal, it is clear that this industry has a lot of problematic impacts on our environment as compared to its benefits.

Lab-grown diamonds will take either a week or sometimes a month to manufacture, of course, depending on the size. One such method involves taking pieces of graphite and exposing them to high pressure and high temperature which transforms the graphite piece into a diamond, the HPHT (High-pressure High Temperature) process.

The second method is the CVD process which involves putting a seed crystal (a small piece of the diamond) into a chamber with common gases. When heated, it will be layered up with carbon many times which will make it grow.

Though they can be expensive and time consuming, these methods are for more environmentally conscious and affordable in the long run than mining, which makes lab diamonds the most sustainable method available for manufacturing diamonds.

What Value Does Each Kind of Diamonds Offer?

Key Points:

  • The higher quality natural diamonds remained consistent and valued for so many years.
  • Lab-grown diamonds are yet to prove their long-term value in the market.

Due to advancements in technology, manufacturing and production of lab diamond have improved consistently, which made its pricing more accessible. With the changing needs of millennials and their modern views, the demand for natural diamonds has decreased.

However, new diamond grading tools such as ASET Scopes have helped hugely in the identification and grading of high-quality natural diamonds. For the past few decades, the values of natural diamonds have remained greatly consistent due to these improved methods and tools.

Lab Diamonds vs. Cubic Zirconia Moissanite

Diamond stimulants like CZ (Cubic zirconia) and Moissanite are known substitutes for real diamonds. Lab diamonds possess the same quality and strength as natural diamonds, therefore the substitutes like CZ and moissanite are no match for them. CZ and moissanite are unreliable and softer than lab diamonds and over some time they lose their quality and scratches develop on them with wear and tear.

Why Should People Choose Lab-Grown Diamonds Over Natural Diamonds?

Since there is no visual difference between a lab-grown and natural diamond. It is wise to own a much better and sustainable piece of a jewel at half the price of the naturally formed diamond.

Besides, there is a huge range of designs, colours, and sizes which consumers can choose from. It will also help the growing industry and create huge possibilities in the future for creating superior quality jewels without hurting the environment.

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