What are lab grown diamonds?
Lab grown diamonds, also known as man-made or synthetic diamonds, are gemstones that are grown within a highly controlled, laboratory environment using cutting-edge technology. The advanced techniques used to grow lab-grown diamonds perfectly mimic the diamond development process, creating stones that are both chemically, and physically identical to natural/mined diamonds. Therefore, the answer to, ‘Are lab grown diamonds real diamonds?’, is yes, and the only difference between these two diamonds is their origin.
You can also be certain that when opting for a lab grown diamond ring, that what you are wearing on your finger is so identical to a natural diamond, that it displays all of the same features, characteristics and qualities. For example, both lab grown diamonds and mined diamonds reach 10 on the Mohs scale, a chart of relative hardness for each of the minerals, meaning that they are equal in hardness. Displaying the same chemical and optical properties also means that lab grown diamonds look the same, and exhibit the desired, unmatched sparkle that natural diamonds are known for. Lab grown diamonds are becoming increasingly popular as the more ethical, affordable and modern alternative to mined diamonds, and are created at a much faster rate.
What are natural diamonds?
Natural diamonds, also known as mined diamonds, are a precious gemstone and form of mineral renowned for their versatility, beauty and durability. As the world’s most popular gemstones, diamonds are used within many jewellery pieces such as engagement rings, wedding rings, eternity rings, necklaces, bracelets, earrings and more. Discover diamond rings at Oscar & Olivia Jewellery here. Mined diamonds are created through a natural process, where extreme heat and pressure is applied to graphite, which is a mineral consisting of carbon that lies deep within the Earth’s core. They are then transported to the Earth’s surface through erupting volcanoes, transforming into the diamond that we all know and love today!
Once extracted and mined, natural diamonds are polished, cleaned and cut to create the finished gemstones that we see used within our jewellery. They are then graded and certified by diamond experts such as the GIA and the IGI. For many centuries, natural diamonds have been the key, and traditional choice for diamond engagement rings and diamond wedding and eternity rings, and are often considered the most valuable due to their rarity and natural origin. However, due to the increase in demand, limited supply, an even higher price tag, and the ethics against mining diamonds, lab grown diamonds have begun to emerge as the popular choice for diamond jewellery.
When looking to buy a diamond set wedding ring, one of the main considerations today is whether to opt for a natural/mined diamond, or a lab grown diamond. We hope that this guide to lab grown diamonds will help to give an insight into which is the perfect stone for you.
Why should I choose a lab grown diamond?
Lab grown diamonds are the cost effective option
The first reason for opting for a lab grown diamond, is that they are less expensive than natural diamonds that may be of a similar size, quality and cut. Although lab grown diamonds are not completely inexpensive, they do offer the cheaper alternative, which is great for those shopping on a budget. For example, a lab grown diamond will cost 50% - 60% less than a mined diamond with related characteristics, such as carat weight, colour, clarity and cut. Learn more about the Diamond 4C’s and how they can affect the price of a stone here. However, just because lab grown diamonds are the more cost effective option, doesn’t mean that they are of a lesser quality of natural diamonds. Both types of diamonds are chemically, physically and optically identical, so the beauty and fine quality of your jewellery will not be compromised for choosing the less expensive stone!
There are two main reasons why lab grown are more affordable than natural/mined diamonds:
- Firstly, lab grown diamonds don’t undergo the same mining process that natural diamonds do. Instead, they are created in a controlled environment, which eliminates the high costs associated with extracting the natural diamonds. During the mining process, much heavy machinery, tools and manpower is needed, which consumes a substantial amount of both time, and money. On the other hand, lab grown diamonds are man-made in a laboratory, staying in one place, which subsides the need for the long and expensive mining process. Additionally, lab grown diamonds can be produced in a much shorter amount of time than mined diamonds, which also helps to lower the cost.
- Secondly, natural diamonds tend to be of a higher cost due to their rarity. As mentioned, mined diamonds are formed deep within the Earth over millions of years, relying on Volcanic eruptions to bring them up to the surface. This means that there are less natural diamonds produced, and of a higher rarity due to this process, which is rightly reflected in their price. However, the creation of lab grown diamonds is not dependent on natural resources, meaning that they are more abundant, and that higher volumes can be produced, lowering their price.
There are ethical reasons for going lab grown
For a long time, there have been many complaints and protests towards the ethics of mining for natural diamonds, and the diamond industry has been a source of ethical concerns for many people. When natural diamonds are mined, the degradation of the land used pollutes the soil, water and air around the area, which is very damaging to the environment. As well as this, diamond mines are often located in developing countries, where workers are paid low wages and can be subjected to bad working conditions. These factors have led many to look for more ethical jewellery alternatives, such as lab grown diamonds.
However, many leading diamond mining organisations all over the world are implementing new, responsible efforts and practices to improve the ethics against the diamond mining process, such as The Kimberley Process. Established in 2003, The Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS), is aimed at reducing the flow of these conflict diamonds, and prevents them from entering the mainstream rough diamond market. Despite these efforts, though, there is still much ethical reasoning against natural diamonds and the mining process.
By choosing a lab grown diamond, you can have the peace of mind of knowing that the gemstone you are wearing every day is conflict-free. However, we can guarantee that all of our mined and natural diamonds at Oscar & Olivia Jewellery are conflict-free, and that if you are looking to opt for the traditional diamond, you have the comfort of knowing that we deeply respect this cause, and are playing our part to reduce the flow of conflict diamonds.
Lab grown diamonds help to improve sustainability
During the creation of lab grown diamonds, an importance is placed on lowering the usage of energy and water. Less carbon dioxide is also produced in comparison to the mined diamond process, which means that lab grown diamonds do offer a more sustainable and eco-friendly alternative. Although lab grown and natural diamonds are made under the same conditions, the difference is that the lab grown conditions are re-created in a controlled environment, which helps to reduce the sustainability issues that mining for gemstones has produced.
Many wonder if the production of lab grown diamonds creates a sustainability problem of its own though, that is, through the energy and water usage. However, lab grown diamonds still use far less of these resources than mined diamonds, and still have far less of a negative impact on sustainability and the environment. This is another one of the many reasons why diamond jewellery buyers decide to go for a lab grown diamond. You can take a look at our stunning selection of diamond wedding rings and eternity rings. Get in touch with us today to discuss your lab grown diamond options!
What should I think about when buying a lab grown diamond?
Lab grown diamonds don’t hold their value like natural diamonds
One benefit of buying natural diamond jewellery is that you know that it will hold on to its value, even after a long period of time. This is due to rarity, value and price. However, this is not always the case when it comes to lab grown diamond jewellery. Despite their many benefits, lab grown diamonds are not a finite resource like natural diamonds are, which means that there is no guarantee of them holding future value. In simpler terms, your lab grown jewellery may have decreased in value and cost over the years.
However, in something so precious such as a diamond wedding ring or eternity ring, this shouldn’t matter, as marriage is forever! Just because the value of a lab grown diamond may decrease over time, doesn’t mean that the sentimental value of a ring will decrease between you and your partner. If you are looking for an investment piece of jewellery, or know that you will be selling it in the future, it would be better to opt for a natural diamond, as you will be sure that it will hold its value.
Lab grown diamonds can lack the appeal of natural diamonds
Even though it is scientifically proven that lab grown diamonds are real diamonds, many believe that they still lack the appeal of natural diamonds. One of the most desirable qualities of mined diamonds is that they take millions of years to form, and are products of natural Earth. There are many brides that feel that this special and desired appeal is lost when a diamond is created in a laboratory or in a factory.
However, this is a completely personal choice, and ultimately comes down to each individual view on lab grown vs mined diamonds, as there are many different factors to take into consideration. If you feel as if you would benefit from some guidance on the diamond wedding ring choice that is right for you, get in touch with a member of the Oscar & Olivia team. We will be happy to help you to find the perfect diamond ring!
Diamond Wedding and Eternity Rings at Oscar & Olivia Jewellery
Here at Oscar & Olivia Jewellery, we have a great selection of diamond wedding rings and diamond eternity rings to choose from. Browse our range online, and book your appointment today. Although our prices displayed online refer to natural diamonds, you can get in touch about your lab grown diamond options by contacting Oscar & Olivia Jewellery. We look forward to hearing from you!