Lab vs natural diamond - Shilat

lab grown vs natural diamond

Lab Grown Diamonds vs Natural:An In-Depth Comparison

Introduction

“Born from stars” - lab grown diamond

As innovative lab diamond growing technology enables creating brilliant lab diamonds identical to scarce mined diamonds at far lower prices, discerning shoppers now face intriguing options deciding between “born from stars” legends or embracing these scientific ingenuity marvels as celebrity couples like Miranda Kerr and Evan Spiegal have showcased in their non-traditional engagement rings. Moving beyond marketing slogans and instilled perceptions around romantic notions of value, let’s explore key similarities and differences between lab grown diamonds and natural diamonds using current scientific knowledge so couples can weigh the trade-offs guided by personal priorities rather than industry talking points.

Fundamentally, natural diamonds crystallize over billions of years from carbon atoms deeply compressed underground, while lab diamonds use specialized equipment replicating those extreme heat and pressure conditions to grow lavish diamond crystals above ground in just weeks or months. These accelerated techniques replicate natural conditions, yielding gem quality diamonds with essentially equivalent optical, chemical, and structural properties. Both varieties rate identically on the 4Cs diamond grading scale assessing cut, color, clarity and carat weight. They test indistinguishable even using advanced spectroscopic instrumentation, since the elemental composition remains simply carbon in perfect crystalline formations.

loose round brilliant lab grown

Some subtle visual differences under microscopic inspection can reveal their origins to trained gemologists. Occasional minute fluid/gas inclusions give away lab diamonds, while most mined diamonds show cavities holding native mineral traces hinting at parent rock quarries. And they emit slightly different reactions under UV light. But these barely perceptible clues require expert analysis unavailable to average untrained eyes.

Pricewise, eliminating the scarcity premium allows lab diamonds to cost 35-50% less than equivalent quality mined diamonds carat for carat. Tech advances relentlessly trim production and processing overheads yearly as global output scales up. Recently improved growth recipes yield “type IIa” diamonds boasting exceptional transparency on par with the world’s most famed premium diamond mines discovered centuries ago.

Sourcing methods also impact consumer preferences, with mining operations plagued by environmental and human rights controversies that conscientious couples may wish to avoid implicitly supporting. Lab diamonds offer welcome respite from these ethical ambiguities. Their sustainable production methods recycle water with negligible ecological impacts relative to massive mining endeavors scarring Earth’s crust. And attributable origins provide supply chain transparency.

Nonetheless prestige still commands a premium for diamonds formed over eons rather than months. Marketing has powerfully etched notions of singular scarcity and records set at celebrity auctions for extraordinary colored natural diamonds unsupported by lab claims. But ask whether luxury prestige matters more than optimizing budgets to enrich marriage over ring monetary worth. Opt for caused-based brands aligned with values prioritizing ethics, sustainability and inclusion. Shop lab diamonds as emblem standing against forces seeking limiting access by controlling mythic intangible values only they bestow. Why feed the beast through perpetuating inflated perceptions when expanding beyond them gifts more beautiful possibilities for living symbolically “ever after” in this world rather than fantasies never fully materializing?

squre diamond lab created

If equal beauty beckons, why not lean toward supporting ethical stewardship of global resources benefitting all? Dare to believe our love persisted millions of year under tectonic pressure before escaping to surface inscribed with clues to guide way forward, truth notwithstanding.

The global diamond market was valued at $64 billion in 2021. Industry reports predict lab grown diamonds will comprise 18-40% market share by 2030 as consumer acceptance accelerates.

What Are Lab Grown Diamonds?

loose round brilliant diamond

Lab diamonds have the same physical, optical and chemical properties as natural diamonds [2][9]. Breakthroughs in chemical vapor deposition (CVD) and high pressure high temperature (HPHT) production deliver exceptional shine and hardness indistinguishable from earth-mined diamonds [29]. Whereas natural diamonds take billions of years to form underground, technology can grow a lab diamond in several weeks [2][12][15][18][21][24].

Lab-grown diamond quality is equaling or exceeding that of many natural diamonds,” explains gemologist Grant Mobley. “Cut quality in particular now rivals or outperforms natural at more affordable price points." 

How Lab Diamonds Are Made  

diamond production Mimicking the temperature and pressure deep within the earth, HPHT subjects carbon to over 2,500°C and 1,500 kg/sq. cm to grow diamond crystal lattices [2][12][15][18][21]. CVD activates a hydrocarbon gas mixture above a diamond seed, depositing carbon atoms on the seed as diamonds [2][12][15][18][21]. Advancements in CVD provide consistency in producing high quality gems.  

Comparing Lab and Mined Diamonds

natuarl and treated diamonds At an atomic level, both lab grown and natural diamonds are identical. Visible differences detectable upon close inspection include [4]:

- Nitrogen - Natural diamonds can have varying nitrogen levels based on their origin, while lab diamonds typically have little to no nitrogen [2].  
- Growth lines - Faint lines visible under magnification in lab diamonds do not affect durability [4].
 - Luminescence - Exposure to UV light causes some lab diamonds to glow blue,  green or yellow, whereas only 20-30% of natural diamonds exhibit luminescence [4].  
- Cut quality – On average, lab diamonds test higher on cut quality over natural diamonds at similar price points [4].  
- Resale value – Natural diamonds currently retain somewhat higher resale value as the most coveted gems globally [4], however consumer acceptance of lab grown diamonds is rising according to 87% of jewelry professionals.

Sustainability and Ethics

natural diamond

Lab grown diamond production minimizes harmful environmental impacts linked to traditional diamond mining, like deforestation, erosion and carbon emissions. Lab facilities also mitigate ethical issues in mining such as child labor, unsafe working conditions and conflict diamond trading [4].
“Lab diamonds transform outdated diamond production in favor of an ethical, sustainable future that respects both people and the planet,” says Christina Miller, gemologist and industry expert.  

lab grown oval VVS1 FPrice Differences  

Owning a colorless 1 carat lab diamond costs 35-40% less than its natural equivalent [4]. As technology progresses, production costs lower further - an advantage passed onto consumers. While a 5 carat high quality lab diamond sells between $15,000 - $29,000, a comparable mined diamond retails for $85,000 - $120,000 [4].  

 


Lab grown diamonds open the door for more people to buy better quality, larger diamonds that were previously unaffordable,” explains Tanya Frederick, jewelry appraiser.
Lab grown diamonds offer comparable brilliance and quality ratings to natural diamonds, with added consumer benefits like ethical sourcing and enhanced access to larger, higher quality gems through lower price points. However, traditional Mined diamonds retain prestige as an exceptionally rare resource. When weighing the two options, individuals must evaluate factors like sustainability, ethics, pricing, and personal values around perceived prestige or exclusivity. There is no one-size-fits-all superior diamond – just informed personal preference rooted inaligned priorities.


Sources :

[1] https://www.forevermark.com/en-us/our-diamonds/natural-diamonds/the-miracle-of-a-diamond/

[2] https://www.gemsociety.org/article/lab-grown-diamond-production-methods/

[4] https://www.queensmith.co.uk/diamond-guides/lab-grown-diamonds/lab-diamonds-vs-natural-diamonds

[8] https://www.naturaldiamonds.com/real-diamonds/how-are-natural-diamonds-formed/

[9] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Synthetic_diamond

[11] https://www.capetowndiamondmuseum.org/about-diamonds/formation-of-diamonds/

[12] https://www.1215diamonds.com/blog/how-lab-grown-diamonds-are-made/ [15] https://www.growndiamondcorp.com/lab-grown-diamond-process/

 

[17] https://www.1215diamonds.com/blog/how-are-diamonds-formed/ [18] https://www.grownbrilliance.com/education-guide/how-lab-created-diamonds-are-made [21] https://evermore.diamonds/blogs/journal/how-are-lab-grown-diamonds-made [23] https://www.whiteflash.com/diamond-education/diamonds-how-do-they-form/

 

[24] https://www.ritani.com/blogs/education/how-are-lab-grown-diamonds-made

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