Are you thinking of investing in an heirloom piece? Do you have a special occasion or milestone birthday on the horizon? You might be debating whether you want to purchase natural or lab-grown diamonds. It’s a common debate going on within the jewelry world. Both have their pros and cons, but personal preference is usually the deciding factor. It’s worth noting that lab-grown diamonds are still diamonds, just like ones that are earth-grown. The differences between the two are fewer than you might be expecting.
We’re deep-diving into the world of diamonds to look at the differences and similarities between natural vs. lab-grown diamonds.
Natural Diamonds vs. Lab-Grown Diamonds
Natural diamonds are formed within the earth under high temperatures and with extreme pressure. Most of the diamonds we see today took three billion years to develop, while volcanic activity brings them to the surface. Natural diamonds are made from carbon below the earth’s mantle before being mined and refined to be turned into jewelry. Earth-mined diamonds are one of the most durable substances in the world is rated at 10 on the Mohs Scale of Hardness.
The beauty of lab-grown diamonds is that they are identical to natural or earth-grown diamonds. They use innovative technology that allows the diamond to grow and form within weeks, compared to mined diamonds that take billions of years. Lab-grown diamonds first came into the industry in the 1970s, but it’s only in recent years that they entered the mainstream jewelry market.
These innovative diamonds are created using one of two processes known as HPHT and CVD. HPHT diamonds are made in a laboratory that recreates the conditions that natural diamonds are formed using giant machines that compress the carbon with immense pressure turning it into a diamond. CVD are also made in a lab but using newer technology, and works by taking carbon and hydrogen atoms and a diamond seed to produce the diamond using much smaller equipment. CVD is known for being a little cleaner process and is able to produce some of the rarest diamond types.
Lab diamonds are in general easier to trace supply chains and cutting compared to mining and cutting for natural diamonds. In addition the labor is inherently more ethical as there is no risk for exploitation with Lab diamonds.
Before we get into the big differences about Lab diamonds vs Natural diamonds we wanted to take a min and introduce our newest Lab Grown diamond supplier that we are proud to feature in our lab grown diamond collections like our Sustainable Ring Builder. Latitude diamonds are the world's first certified sustainable lab grown diamonds. Third party audited, these exceptional diamonds are certified sustainable and ethical by SCS Global Services the world's leading sustainability certifier. Latitude diamonds are rated on a rigorous set of criteria that covers verified origin, ethical stewardship, carbon emissions (past and present) as well as important sustainability investments.. Latitude diamonds are also made with patented CVD technology that produces the highest purity and rarest type of diamond found on earth.
The Differences in Natural vs. Lab-Grown Diamonds
The main difference in the outcome of the diamond is that natural diamonds typically grow in an octahedron shape in 8 directions, while lab-grown diamonds are either cube or cuboctahedron, growing in 1 or 14 directions, respectively.
As lab-grown diamonds have the same composition and appearance as natural diamonds, most jewelers struggle to tell the two apart. It takes highly technical equipment to closely examine the two and separate them. TheGIA offers ‘Laboratory-Grown Diamond Reports’although they use separate terms from those used for natural diamonds.
While lab-grown diamonds naturally use a high amount of energy and water to produce, they’re still largely considered more eco-friendly than earth-mined diamonds. Labs are increasingly switching to renewable energy as a way to cut down their carbon footprint like our certified sustainable diamonds by Latitude.
The question over which type is more sustainable is ongoing, as the Diamond Producers Association has claimed that the carbon-intensive production process for lab-grown diamonds makes themlesssustainable. However, lab-grown diamonds are more ethical than the majority of mined diamonds on the market because they are easy to trace and don't require the destruction of habitats.
Price is usually one of the determining factors between whether you decide on a natural or lab-grown diamond. The lab-grown variant can be around 50% cheaper to buy than natural diamonds, with those that have identical gradings usually being around 30% cheaper. It primarily supplies that determines these prices rather than value, as natural diamonds are limited in supply.
If you’re searching for an investment piece, natural diamonds will gain you a higher resale value than lab-grown versions. Your typical natural diamond will maintain at least 50% of its value, while it’s difficult to estimate what a lab-grown diamond would fetch. They also have a stabler price, as diamonds have been bought and traded for generations.
What we do know is that your lab-grown diamond will retain less of its value over time, although they are becoming a more popular alternative than mined diamonds. Only time will tell if this positively impacts their post-sale value.
The Appearance of Natural vs. Lab-Grown Diamonds
Unless you’re a collector of fine jewelry, you’ll likely be prioritizing how your diamond looks, as opposed to the small print of its classification. Lab-grown and natural diamonds are virtually identical to the naked eye. You could easily tell someone that your lab diamond is natural, and they wouldn’t know the difference.
The brilliance and natural shine that you get from your diamond will be the same, regardless of where it’s come from. If you’re prioritizing the size, cut, or clarity of your diamond, you’ll be able to get a higher specification with a lab-grown diamond than an earth-mined one.
Should I Buy Natural or Lab-Grown Diamonds?
The best person to answer that question isyou.The pros and cons of each style mean they’re considered relatively equal by those looking to buy a diamond. Some people choose to buy lab-grown diamonds for ethical reasons, while others like to stay true to natural diamonds. It’s all about personal preference as aesthetically the two are virtually identical.
The easiest way to decide which type of diamond is right for you is to decide what’s important. While lab-grown diamonds are hailed for their sustainability, you can easily find conflict-free diamonds. It might be diamond’s cut or your budget that helps you decide.
More couples and individuals are choosing to purchase lab-grown diamonds, but that doesn’t mean that the allure of a natural diamond has suddenly disappeared. Both options are available for you to choose from, allowing you to choose the diamond that’s right for you, your lifestyle, and your budget.
Whatever you choose, you’re guaranteed to find a diamond that captures your imagination and fulfills your jewelry dreams.
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