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Lab Grown Diamonds vs. Natural Mined Diamonds

Lab Grown Diamonds vs. Natural Mined Diamonds

Diamond shopping. For many guys this is the single most terrifying purchase of their lives. Mostly because there are so many factors to consider. Should I buy a natural mined diamond? Or is a lab grown diamond right for me? Given that you are probably considering this for an engagement ring, something she will wear & show off to all her friends, you want to get this right. But where to start? We are here to present the pros and cons of both natural diamonds & lab grown diamonds with the goal of demystifying the two options & help you make the best decision possible. Let’s start with natural mined diamonds:

Natural Mined Diamonds

Also commonly referred to as “real diamonds”, natural mined diamonds are those that come out of the earth. Diamond mining is done in various locales around the world but the most well known sources are found in Canada, Africa & Australia. Over millions of years, heat & extreme pressure in the earth’s crust has produced the diamond. Mined diamonds form by nature, without the influence of humans. They are unique in their rarity & hold special value due to their origin.

Lab Grown Diamonds

Also known as lab created diamonds, lab grown diamonds are just as their name implies: their origin is from a laboratory. Through various processes such as CVD (chemical vapor deposition) or HPHT (high pressure, high temperature) treatment, highly specialized machines mimic conditions found in the earth to create diamonds. Lab grown diamonds have exactly the same chemical composition as diamonds that come from the earth, they are both diamonds. However, as the ability to produce lab grown diamonds is virtually unlimited, they hold a very different value.

Are natural mined diamonds & lab created diamonds graded differently?

No. Both would be graded for quality using what we affectionately refer to as the “4 C’s”. Color (or more specifically a lack of color), clarity (a diamonds unique imperfections or inclusions), carat weight (how much the diamond weighs) and cut (a combination of the shape of a diamond along with how well it is cut) combines to give jewelers the value of a particular diamond, whether natural or lab grown. For a simple explanation of these factors, please visit our education page for the low down.

Do gemologists grade both mined diamonds & lab grown diamonds?

Yes, many diamonds are sent to labs to be graded by highly trained gemologists. The most well known grading house for diamond certification on natural mined diamonds is GIA (an acronym for the Gemological Institute of America). At the time this article was written, IGI (short for International Gemological Institute) is the most common source for grading reports on lab grown diamonds. However, you can get a certificate for both natural mined diamonds and lab created diamonds from both GIA & IGI.

What is the difference in price between a natural mined diamond & a lab created diamond?

The BIG question. Let’s take an oval cut diamond, one of the most desired diamond shapes for diamond engagement rings today (hint hint guys!) At Perrara, a 1.00 carat natural mined diamond in VS2 clarity (which means there are very slight inclusions), F color (which means there is no tint of yellow to the naked eye) would sell for approximately $9000. The same quality in a laboratory-grown diamond would be approximately $2000. There is tremendous difference in value between the two due to the origin. This is just an example, we would be happy to provide options for you in your desired diamond based on the clarity/color/carat/cut combination you’d like to have or we can work within a specific diamond price.

Can a jeweler tell the difference between a mined diamond & a lab grown diamond?

Because they are both diamonds, it can be very difficult to determine if a diamond is natural or lab grown simply by the characteristics of carat, color, clarity & cut. At Perrara, we believe that as a retailer we have a responsibility to know what we are selling. As a result, we are heavily invested in specialized equipment that accurately determines different types of diamonds. We rely on technology specific to the diamond industry as advancements are continually evolving.

Are there any markings on a diamond to indicate whether it is a natural diamond or lab-grown?

By and large before a diamond leaves GIA or IGI with it’s diamond grading report, the diamond is laser inscribed. This means there is a very small serial number engraved on the side of the diamond, most often matching the grading report. When your local jeweler sets the diamond into the engagement ring of your choice, they will want to ensure the goldsmith leaves the inscription visible.

Is there a sustainability factor to lab grown diamonds?

In our opinion, yes & no. The great thing is that the earth was not disturbed further in production of lab created diamonds. Earth-mined diamonds have an environmental impact for sure. The not so ideal thing is the (arguably) unnecessary production of machines needed to grow gem-quality lab grown diamonds. There’s no right or wrong on this one, just what feels right to you. Some feel that lab created diamonds provide a more sustainable option & others reason the long term value (and possibly resale value) provided on a natural stone is a more appealing option. Whatever your view, we respect it and welcome the discussion.

Will laboratory-grown diamonds hold their value like natural mined diamonds?

We get asked this every single day at Perrara. The short answer is time will tell, but in our experience, probably not. The diamond market on natural diamonds has a long established history. Man-made diamonds have really only been available in the jewelry and diamond industry in recent years. What we have seen is a significant decrease in lab grown diamond prices in the last year (2022 to the present). Whether these diamond prices will continue to decline, we will have to wait and see. If long-term possible resale value is important to you, a unique, rare, natural mined diamond may be more in line with your best interests. That being said, when shopping for diamond jewelry to celebrate a milestone in life or engagement ring shopping to cement a commitment to each other, resale value may not be on your mind, and that’s OK. Our goal with every interaction at Perrara is to share our knowledge & help our clients make an educated decision based on the information we currently have about the diamond market.

What about moissanite, diamond simulants & cubic zirconia?

We will cover these topics in a blog post at later date as they are a whole other topic with their own unique pros and cons. But if you are wondering if these are just other terms for diamonds, they are not. They are all forms of synthetic diamonds, gemstones and not the same thing as lab-created diamonds or mined diamonds.

Which is right for me? How can I be sure?

At Perrara, we recommend meeting with one of our trusted advisors to discuss what is important to you and your intended fiancée (if you’re shopping for the perfect engagement ring). There is no wrong or right answer, just meeting the needs of what is valuable in your eyes. We would be happy to show you an array of both natural diamonds & lab grown diamonds in a relaxed, comfortable setting and answer any and all questions you may have. We promise to make it the most positive experience, leaving you with the confidence you made a good decision. Visit our Kelowna showroom at your convenience or contact us to start your diamond search!

With Love, Perrara

Author: Lisa Maloney, Proprietor

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