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Lab-Grown Diamonds: Everything You Need to Know

If you’re looking for sparkly engagement rings or fine jewelry, lab-grown diamonds have slowly started to take over the market. However, many people still have their questions regarding these novelty diamonds.

The most common question is “Are lab-grown diamonds real diamonds?” and our answer is yes, they are. The main difference is merely their origin. As the name suggests, lab-grown diamonds are created in a lab’s controlled conditions. 

Lab-grown diamonds are chemically, structurally, and optically identical to mined diamonds. Yet they have a few advantages, which we’ll cover below:

What are the Advantages of Lab-Grown Diamonds?

Technology has advanced in ways that allow scientists to simulate the same conditions as mined diamonds. Lab-grown diamonds are superior to regular diamonds for seven main reasons: 

Eco-Friendly

Lab-grown diamonds require no mining. This means no land is disturbed and no waste is created. Diamond mining severely disrupts the Earth’s surface and is highly pollutive.

Ethical

Most mined diamonds are the product of conflict and unethical work conditions. They’re generally found in war-stricken third-world countries. These so-called blood diamonds account for 15% of the diamond industry. 

Less Expensive

Lab-grown diamonds can be 20-30% cheaper than their mined counterparts due to a shorter supply chain and no market monopoly. This allows consumers to buy bigger diamonds while keeping expenses low.

Fewer Imperfections

Mined diamonds are sometimes flawed as they’re obtained through natural processes. They often contain impurities or inclusions. Inclusions are imperfections within the internal structure of the diamond that affect clarity. On the other hand, lab-grown diamonds offer the highest quality and have none of these imperfections.

Higher Purity

Natural diamonds are less pure than their lab counterparts, even if they have high clarity. Lab-grown diamonds are highly pure and can be changed to any color while keeping purity high.

Better Customization Options

Lab-grown diamonds offer a whole new world of customization. With these diamonds, customers can pick the color, shape, and size. Labs can even add colored gases during the manufacturing process to create new colors that don’t exist with mined diamonds.

Fast Creation

Unlike the natural process, which can take many years to form a diamond, lab-grown diamonds can be produced between a few weeks up to three months. This process depends on the size, clarity, and cut of the diamond. It allows labs to create several diamonds at a time, reducing costs when compared to mining.

How are Lab-Grown Diamonds Made?

Manufactured diamonds are commonly obtained through one of two processes. Both require a small piece of diamond (a diamond seed) to get started.

High-Pressure High Temperature (HPHT)

In this process, a diamond seed is placed in carbon and subject to extreme pressure and temperature. Through a press, the pressure is raised to about 1.5 million PSI. At the same time, the temperature is set at a minimum of 2,700°F/1,482°C. 

These conditions melt the carbon, creating additional diamond layers on top of the seed.

Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD)

In this process, a diamond seed is placed into a sealed chamber. The chamber is heated to 1,400°F/760°C while methane and hydrogen gas are added. These gases then ionize into plasma, breaking their molecular bonds and releasing carbon. 

Carbon will then set on the diamond, creating more layers until the desired size is reached.

Lab-Grown Diamond Cuts

A diamond is a diamond, no matter if it’s mined or lab-grown. This means that both versions have the same certification, cuts, and other details. Here are the most common cuts for engagement rings that you can find in lab-grown diamonds.

Cushion Cut

A cushion cut is basically a rounded square cut. You should pay attention to the measurements of this cut because it’s a deeper cut that may make your diamond look smaller. 

We usually recommend at least a 2-carat cushion-cut diamond to avoid this. If you’re looking for something fancier, you can look at elongated cushion-cut diamond engagement rings.

Oval Cut

An oval diamond ring is a safe bet since it’s a brilliant cut that can make your carat weight appear bigger. Its slender shape means a 1.5-carat oval diamond ring is enough for most cases. 

Pear Cut

The pear-shaped ring is at an all-time high due to its popularity. Thanks to their rounded heads and tapered tips, pear cuts offer many facets and increase their wow factor. We think a 3-carat pear is perfect for most engagement rings.

Are Lab-Grown Diamond Engagement Rings the Future?

Currently, lab-grown diamonds account for about 2% of the diamond market. However, with younger generations more focused on sustainability, we predict it’s only a matter of time until these diamonds become the norm.

De Beers, the diamond giant, has been in the lab-grown diamond industry for nearly three years. This allows them to offer quality pieces at affordable prices. The same goes for Pandora, which announced a new line of lab-grown diamonds starting in 2022.

Studies have shown a 15-20% increase in the sustainable gemstone market per year. The Antwerp World Diamond Centre expects a market of 10 to 17 million carats by 2030.