It’s no secret that diamonds are a girl’s best friend, but what about lab-grown diamonds? For decades, diamonds have adorned glitzy engagement rings and drawn endearing glances. There’s a reason for that: everyone loves diamonds! Can the same be said for diamonds grown in a lab?
That depends on who you ask. Still, over the years, lab diamonds have drawn attention and many questions along with it. You might wonder if lab-grown diamonds are real diamonds? And if so, what’s the difference between natural diamonds and synthetic? And while we’re on the subject: What are lab-grown diamonds and should you buy one for your engagement ring?
When it comes to choosing your forever diamond, you want to ensure it’s the right one. We’re covering all of your questions in this guide, and spilling the truth about lab-grown diamonds.
You might instinctively associate lab-grown diamonds as imposters, and rightfully so. As a smart buyer, knowing all of the facts and information about a product ensures you make the best decision. It might surprise you to learn that lab-grown diamonds are chemically composed of the same materials as real diamonds. In a nutshell, they are a diamond that’s grown in a lab, instead of in nature.
At a glance, the two are indistinguishable because, well, they are the same product, right down to the crystal structure. So, if these two are technically the same, is one better than the other?
That’s the question on everyone’s minds. Over the years, lab-grown diamonds have blossomed from a reputation of imposter to budget-friendly alternative. Now, they are so popular that many reputable jewelers carry them alongside their natural diamonds.
Before we move on, let’s recap. Lab-grown diamonds are:
Physically and chemically identical to natural diamonds
An affordable diamond-alternative
Indistinguishable to the naked eye
Called a variety of names, including lab-made, lab-created, synthetic and alternative-diamonds
The fact that lab-grown diamonds look exactly like natural diamonds is a groundbreaking concept to wrap your head around. If they are real diamonds, how are they grown? Let’s find out!
Yes, but there’s a lot to unpack in that simple answer. The FTC (Federal Trade Commission) identifies diamonds as crystallized carbon. The way that carbon grows in a cubic system is the same in both a lab and the earth. The differentiation between the two is the origin from which the diamond grows. In simple terms, the two are the same, but that doesn’t mean they are equally revered. How are they the same?
The process of growing diamonds in a lab mimics the natural process that grows diamonds in the earth. In a lab, scientists replicate the natural conditions by which diamonds grow. In this curated environment, intense heat and pressure mimic the natural atmosphere that diamonds organically grow in.
There are two processes to grow diamonds, and we’ll look at each one below:
In this process, a carbon seed is exposed to high temperature and pressure that grows a lattice structure over time. Layer by layer, a beautiful diamond forms!
Two gases, hydrogen and methane, enter a chamber that hosts a carbon seed crystal. Heat then enters the chamber and the seed crystal grows into a diamond.
As you can see, both lab processes and natural elements result in the same product: a diamond. If they are the same thing, how can you tell them apart?
When you place a lab-grown diamond beside a natural diamond, it’s impossible to tell the difference. Even a diamond testing machine cannot differentiate between the two. It’s not faulty hardware or technology, it’s simply that lab diamonds have the same electrical conductivity as mined. In other words: they are pretty much the same thing.
Under a microscope, skilled jewelers may be able to tell the difference between the two, but it takes a trained eye.
Ok, so we know that lab-grown diamonds are technically real diamonds, but does this all sound too good to be true? Every innovation has its fair share of drawbacks, and the same goes for lab-grown diamonds. Yes, you can nab a stunning diamond for a fraction of the cost of a natural diamond, but at what consequence? Here are the common problems consumers have with lab-grown diamonds:
There are a lot of opinions when it comes to diamonds vs. lab-grown diamonds. Some feel that lab-made aren’t as valuable or high-quality as natural diamonds. However, this is entirely personal. You may love lab-grown diamonds while your spouse thinks they are taboo.
The truth is that diamonds are an investment and if you need an affordable alternative, you may want to consider lab-grown. However, if you are a purest, lab-grown might not be the best option for you.
Lab diamonds, synthetic diamonds, real diamonds, fake diamonds… these are just a few of the terms in circulation in the diamond industry. However, they are not all the same. Lab-grown diamonds are not fake, because they consist entirely of the same chemical structure as natural diamonds.
The same can’t be said for fake diamonds, which are made of glass, cubic zirconia, zircon or topaz. The key difference here is that all of the above are synthetic imitations. In other words, they are made of different materials and as a result, are less durable and brilliant than real diamonds.
As you might expect, lab-grown diamonds aren’t as valuable as natural diamonds. It boils down to the fact that people value natural diamonds to any other alternative. Diamonds have a long and vibrant history, and when it comes to choosing an engagement ring, many only want the absolute best choice. While natural diamonds don’t often appreciate, they still hold more value than lab-grown diamonds.
If you are on the fence about choosing a lab-made diamond, it’s important to consider all of your options. Ultimately, the gemstone you wear forever should sparkle as bright and brilliant as your one-of-a-kind love!
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