Diamonds have long been treasured and admired for their spectacular beauty and brilliance. Lab-grown diamonds, on the other hand, are relatively new and gaining popularity. What are lab-grown diamonds, and how do they differ from natural diamonds? Here are some facts about lab-grown diamonds that you should be aware of.

Lab-grown diamonds are real diamonds

Lab-grown diamonds have the same crystal structure, physical, optical, and composition properties as mined diamonds, both are made of carbon. and it's impossible to tell the difference unless you have specialised testing tools.

Lab-grown diamonds are not fake diamonds, in 2018, the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) ruled that lab-grown diamonds are real diamonds. Use ice as analogy, you can get ice from your freezer or ice from a glacier - both are real ice as they are both frozen water.

The only difference is that a mined diamond is formed by heat and pressure in the earth over billions of years, whereas a lab-grown diamond is formed in a lab environemnt from a carbon seed under heat and pressure, over a matter of days.

Lab-grown diamonds are graded in the same way as mined diamonds

Every diamond is unique, regardless of lab-grown or mined, and the quality can vary, affecting the price.

Just like buying mined diamonds, certificate is a must when purchasing a lab-grown diamond, it adds an extra layer of security because no two diamonds are the same.

A diamond grading certificate will provide you with an objective overview from a reputable third-party, such as IGI or GIA, that describes the 4 c's of a lab-grown diamond, as well as the symmetry and polish of the stone. The certificate will also correspond with the laser inscription on the diamond's girdle, allowing you to identify the exact diamond you are purchasing.

You will save money by purchasing lab-grown diamonds

The price of lab diamonds has dropped dramatically. When lab diamonds first became available in large jewellery stores, they were approximately 25% less expensive than natural diamonds. They are now available for half the price or less.

Let's take a look at some prices. We'll use real-world examples from James Allen, which sells both natural and lab-created diamonds - do note the prices are in USD and may not be up to date with current market prices; but the differences in prices is a good indication!

Natural Diamond Lab Diamond
0.7 carat, round $2,280 $820
1 carat, round $5,430 $1,620
1 carat, princess $3,800 $1,580
1.5 carat, round $11,290 $2,860
2 carat, princess $14,640 $4,620
3 carat, round $34,880 $11,560

As shown, lab-gorwn diamonds are about 60%-70% cheaper than natural diamonds. If you want to save money on the same gemstones with the same properties, lab diamonds are the clear winner.

Are lab-grown diamonds more environmentally friendly and ethical?

We are all aware that the diamond industry has a tumultuous history. While blood diamonds are no longer an issue, the diamond mining industry continues to raise environmental and human rights concerns.

A single diamond carat requires 200-250 tonnes of earth to mine, according to a report by Diamond Foundry (producer of lab diamonds).

Diamond mining has significant environmental consequences, such as deforestation and soil erosion. Furthermore, many mines continue to have issues such as child labour, low wages, and hazardous working conditions.

Lab diamonds, on the other hand, are created in secure lab environments with fair wages. In that regard, lab diamonds are the more ethical option.

According to an in-depth article published by JCK, both mining and lab growing consume a lot of energy. In fact, both processes consume approximately the same amount of energy. More research is needed to determine whether lab diamonds are truly more sustainable.

Furthermore, this debate may not be as clear-cut as you believe. Millions of people are employed in the diamond mining industry. Many impoverished areas rely on diamond mining for survival. If everyone switched to lab diamonds, their economies and livelihoods would be destroyed.

Resale value of lab-grown diamond

This is one disadvantage of lab-grown diamonds. Because they are mass-produced in laboratories, their resale value is low. There are no historical or rarity values.

In general, diamonds have little resale value unless they are of investment grade, but lab diamonds are even worse.

You may be able to recoup 50-70% of the value of a natural diamond. Some diamond retailers offer a buyback or trade-up programme for natural diamonds, but this rarely applies to lab diamonds.

Which one should you buy?

This guide should have provided you with an accurate comparison of lab and natural diamonds. We're not claiming one is superior to the other. Both have advantages and disadvantages.

Finally, lab diamonds and natural diamonds are identical stones with identical properties. Your budget may play a role in your decision.

A lab diamond is the best choice if you want to get the most bling for your buck, as prices can be up to 70% lower. For the same price, you can get a larger and higher-quality stone.

If you're a purist, a natural diamond from the earth may provide a more special feeling if you're willing to pay for it.