When we start talking about lab-grown diamonds vs. real diamonds, a debate usually ensues. Which one is the better option? The significance of a diamond truly bears the meaning of the purchase. Both options at hand are well-made pieces of art and each is worth a substantial amount of money.
As well, the quality isn’t lost when going from one to the other. Both diamonds portray a different kind of beauty on their own. In this article, we’re going to go in-depth on both lab-grown and natural diamonds. By the end of this reading, you will know which diamond is better for you.
- What is a Natural Diamond?
- What Is A Lab Grown Diamond?
- Key Differences Between Lab-Grown & Natural Diamonds
- Pros & Cons of Lab-Made Diamonds
- Pros & Cons of Natural-Made Diamonds
- How To Tell The Difference Between Labr Grown & Natural Diamond
- Comparing Lab Grown Vs. Natural Diamonds
- Value Retention
- Which is a better purchase-natural or lab-grown diamonds?
- After Thoughts
What is a Natural Diamond?
A natural-born diamond is made purely through time, deep in the earth. Scientists were able to identify that a naturally born diamond was made up almost entirely of carbon back in 1797. Carbon deposits are inside the earth’s core, as far down as 90-125 miles. These diamonds are created with immense pressures and extremely high temperatures. The intense conditions compress the deposits, chemically and physically changing them.
Some were made in a matter of days whereas others took millions of years. Then, after volcanic activity took place, these precious gems were forcefully pushed into a rock formation.
These formations are called, “kimberlite pipes”, where they rest until excavated. The natural creation of diamonds creates a specific genetic makeup. This can only be identified when a lengthy natural process occurs. This is a key identifying factor when comparing the two rocks. But more about that later.
Natural Diamonds Take a Long Time To Cultivate
Everything involving a naturally born diamond revolves around time. The time it takes for one to be pressed from nothing, into the most valuable stone in the world.
Thereafter, the time it takes to be professionally mined. With only 5% of kimberlite pipes containing enough diamonds to make it economically profitable, each stone counts. In addition to the process of cutting and polishing each stone for the best possible longevity, time truly does equal money.
What Is A Lab Grown Diamond?
Lab-grown diamonds first entered the scene around 1950. Though the competition to be the first to create a lab-made diamond started in 1797 when the chemical makeup was discovered.
Throughout the 19th century, many scientists tried to reproduce and create synthetic diamonds. There are some rumors that scientists were able to succeed in such a feat, but no proof to follow.
The first sanctioned project to create synthetic diamonds began in the 1940s. This project was nicknamed “Project Super pressure”. Ideally, the timing did not line up perfectly, due to World War 2 lingering overhead. The project came to a halt while the war proceeded.
Eventually, around 1954, the first synthetically made diamond was created. Scientists from General Electric’s Laboratories (GE), Lavoisier, and Tennent’s, both worked on the projects. They began experiments where they simulated synonymous conditions for a naturally born diamond.
They took carbon and put it under magnificent amounts of pressure and heat, over and over again. They created a device to test small seed crystals. This device would get up to temperatures of 1,600º C (2,912º F) and pressure of 100,000 atm.
To put this into perspective the sun’s surface temperature is 5,500 degrees Celcius, and 1000 meters under water is the weight of only 101 ATA.
They were eventually melting graphite, which is pure carbon, and combined it with other metals to speed up the process. The scientists eventually made a material so hard that it was destroying their cutting tools. At this time they discovered they created a material with a Mohs Hardness level of 10, which was lab made diamonds.
Lab-Grown Diamonds Currently
Fast forward to current times we’re still creating diamonds under the same concept Lavoisier and Tennent’s started. Currently, we create diamonds in 1 of 2 ways. HPHT is High Pressure, High temperature, or CVP which is chemical vapor deposition.
High Pressure, High-Temperature diamonds are produced in a lab setting. This process is a “carbon process” of the natural way diamonds are created. After creating extremely high pressure and temperature, similar to earth’s conditions, this process created a “laboratory-shaped “ diamond.
The Chemical Vapor Deposition method is more scientific and complicated. It involves breaking down molecules of carbon-rich gas, or natural gases, such as methane. The created hydrogen and carbon atoms will then be put on a diamond seed to be pressed into a square-shaped, lab-made diamond.
Are Lab Made Diamonds Real?
Lab-made diamonds are as real as natural diamonds but they’re not the real thing. They’re actually identical in almost every aspect, except the most important piece, the price. Consisting of the same chemical, physical and optical properties as earth-made diamonds, It’s a shock they’re not the same value.
But, just because they have the same chemical makeup and look the same doesn’t give them the same appraisal value for insurance. Remember an appraisal isn’t the cost of what it is, it’s the cost of what it would take to replace it.
Key Differences Between Lab-Grown & Natural Diamonds
The biggest difference between these two gems is time. If you shine a light on either one, the room will light up the same. Just like a Christmas show or something resembling a kaleidoscope. Lab-sourced diamonds can generally be made in 1 month, whereas natural diamonds can take billions of years.
During the natural process of diamonds being made, they absorb some small components. These smaller components are usually nitrogen.
With the mix of materials coming together, they give off a yellow or boron hue, which impart creates a blue tint. These other materials get trapped inside the gems over time. This other component becomes part of the diamond forever. These minute yet critical differences are what make a lab-made diamond different from a naturally grown diamond.
Pros & Cons of Lab-Made Diamonds
|Can Be Made In Bulk||Lab Grown Diamonds Are Worthless|
|Easily Replaceable||Lab Grown Diamonds Are All The Same – No Uniqueness|
|Can Create Identical Makes||They’re Worthless And STILL Expensive|
|Lab Grown Diamonds Only Come Small|
|Creating Lab Made Diamonds Are Bad For The Enviornment|
Pros & Cons of Natural-Made Diamonds
|Unique In All Aspects||Can Not Be Replaced|
|Acrue Value Over Time||Expensive|
|Comes In All Shapes And Sizes|
|Naturally Made Diamonds Leave No Carbon Foot Print|
|Can Be Appraised And Insured|
Can You Tell The Difference Between A Natural And Lab-Grown Diamond?
The look, the feel, and the touch of both diamonds to the naked eye are almost exactly the same. But, there is a chemical makeup that can only be made for an extended period of time under extreme conditions.
As well, the gems have different growth morphology. These are the main differences distinguishing the actual stone from science. Now how do we identify these differences?
How To Tell The Difference Between Labr Grown & Natural Diamond
The only way to tell the difference between lab-grown and natural diamonds is by using a lab or specialized equipment.
As technology advances, identifying methods fall behind in the race to create the perfect diamond. Old methods including, diamond detectors and professional observation just aren’t enough anymore.
Number one, a certified gemologist laboratory, or number two, complicated devices developed by the GIA(Gemological Institute of America). If it weren’t for technological innovation we physically would not be able to tell the difference.
But let’s go further into what actually is lab-grown diamonds vs real diamonds. Essentially the buyer of these diamonds wants to know if he’s buying a lab-made diamond or a natural one.
After all the price difference is pretty drastic between the two. The Gemological Institute of America or the GIA has been very reluctant to create programs for this. Specifically for identifying the difference between these gems and many others alike.
Methods For Identification
The GIA is working diligently and daily coming across new alternatives to tell these gems apart. To help discover lab-created diamonds, GIA has invented a device called the iD100.
The price of this machine comes in at a whopping $5,500. The lab has 60 years of proven diamond authentication work. Now with the power of iD100, GIA is able to proficiently identify the difference between HTHP/CVD diamonds, and naturally made ones. So when making that final purchase be sure to be using one of these methods.
Comparing Lab Grown Vs. Natural Diamonds
A 2-carat naturally made diamond currently is worth anywhere from $20,000-$60,000. When we talk about the price of a diamond we need to consider the 4 C’s of diamond quality – cut, color, clarity, and carat. This is a synonymous process for lab-grown diamonds as well.
A 2-carat lab-grown diamond costs anywhere from $1,000-$5,000. Needless to say, the correct identification of these rocks is detrimental.
We live in a world where everything is scaled on how quickly it can be made. It’s not surprising the natural-born diamond is significantly more valuable than the lab-made cousin. When we’re able to create an exact copy of something that takes billions of years to create, we’re taking away the value of time.
Through a study in 2021, we were able to find out that naturally made diamonds spiked 15%-30% higher in value than the previous evaluation. As for the lab-created diamonds it was not the same fate. Synthetically made diamonds took a decline of 20%-40% in value in the same year. With this information, we now can tell how each stone retains value.
When reselling A natural diamond it will hold roughly 50% of its value. For example, a $5,000 stone bought today from a jeweler will be worth about $2,500 tomorrow on the street.
Lab-made diamonds do not hold their monetary value. A $2,500 lab-made stone will be worth, $2,500 in store, and $0 the following day in the streets. But, the naturally made stone that took billions of years to make will always hold value.
After your big wedding day, you may not think about how much value your diamond ring really retains. But if the day comes when you cut ties and you need to re-sell, this is important.
Once again the way this is calculated is almost exactly the same from one to the other. When purchasing a stone for your wedding, Christmas gifts, or anniversary, it’s important to remember you’re paying for quality and not quantity.
The sustainability of naturally made diamonds is zero. We will run out of natural diamonds to mine one day. These stones are a natural source made over an astronomical amount of time.
We will never see another set of natural diamonds created in our lifetime. Recalling earlier, we discussed only 5% of diamond mines are actually worth digging into. That 5% will be expelled eventually.
The biggest benefit of lab-made diamonds is the fact that we can create an object that naturally takes billions of years. We’re speeding up the process of time. Making the lab-made diamonds more sustainable than their counterpart; naturally made diamonds.
Which is a better purchase-natural or lab-grown diamonds?
Let’s refresh on some things we’ve covered in this article. Naturally made diamonds, when they’re cut and maintained properly, hold a higher value over a longer period of time. It’s a no-brainer, the better investment is the naturally made stone.
After all, time is equal to money. The purchase of a lab-made stone is financially a dead end. Although the diamond may portray the same physical aspects and characteristics as the real diamond, there is no economic benefit from purchasing the lab-made stone.
Now if you’re on a budget, and the person you’re getting these diamonds for has requested diamonds and this is the only route you can take, it is still feasible. Distinguish to your receiver that the diamonds are laboratory made instead of natural stone. At the end of the day, it is the thought that counts when giving gifts.
In this article, we’ve covered lab-grown diamonds vs real diamonds. We’ve talked about the physical differences between each stone. Covered the finical burden each gem brings, and the retention in value. As well, as discovered the natural process of a diamond vs the lab-created process of a synthetic one. So which diamond is better for you?
The lab-made diamond has a beautifully hand-made cut, and the stone will withstand the test of time. This stone is also substantially cheaper, while also giving the illusion of a perfectly imperfect, naturally made diamond. The serious downfall of this stone is the complete loss of value after the purchase has been made. There is no logical investment opportunity for it.
Therefore, the naturally made diamond is everything to make a fuss about. The slow forged, shimmering crystal, that has to be physically mined from the earth will always prevail.
This stone has already withstood the test of time and is only getting better with its age. The value slightly decreases after immediate purchase, but only due to price gauging by the jeweler. Speaking long term the diamond will only grow more valuable as we dissipate the natural resource from the ground we walk on.
Our Team of 10 includes jewelry experts, antique Buyers & Sellers, baseball card collectors, and other appraisal experts.