Lab-Grown Diamond vs Natural Diamond. (Educate and Protect yourself and your customers)



I’m not going to get too technical on this subject as I won’t be able to fit it on this blog, so here are a few of the questions you may have before buying a Lab-Grown Diamond.



A few of my Instagram followers have asked me about Lab-grown Diamonds, and with them becoming more and more popular, I thought I could write about the differences between Diamonds to build more awareness and clear a few questions you might have.




The question on everybody’s mind is:

Are they Diamonds?


The quick answer is Yes, but here is the long answer.

A Laboratory Grown Diamond is a 100% Diamond. The only difference is the origin as a laboratory-grown Diamonds are created in a lab with very similar conditions to the natural one’s.

Natural Diamonds form under Cratons, deep beneath the earth’s crust at approximately 90-120 miles with temperatures in the range of 1,150 -1,200 Degrees Celsius and pressure of 50-70kbar over millions of years. Those extreme conditions are the answers to why the diamonds are so tough and durable.


Here is a comparison chart of Natural Vs Lab-Grown Diamonds

As you can see, their chemical structure and properties are the same.


Scientists first grew diamonds in a laboratory in the mid-1950s. These diamonds were too small for jewellery, however. Production of larger, gem-quality crystals began in the mid-1990s and continues to today, with more and more companies producing Lab-Grown Diamonds.



There are two types of lab-grown Diamonds, HPHT and CVD.


HPHT – High-Pressure High-Temperature as the name suggests mimics the temperature and pressure condition that the natural diamonds forms in the earth. The rough diamond has a cuboctahedral crystal shape.


CVD - Chemical Vapor Deposition method involves breaking down the molecules of a carbon-rich gas, such as methane, into carbon and hydrogen atoms, which then are deposited on diamond seeds to produce a square-shaped, tabular diamond crystal.



Environmental Impact



Now you know about the science side of the Lab-Grown Diamonds, here is my opinion on them.

Working in independent jewellers, I’ve seen more and more clients asking about the Lab-Grown Diamonds for engagement rings, earrings and pendants. I personally don’t mind them, and I have purchased a Lab-Grown diamond for a research purpose to which I was amazed to how good it looked compared to the Natural one.


Here are the details on the Diamond I purchased:

Type: HPHT

Carat: 0.30

Colour: F

Clarity: SI1

Cut: Excellent

Polish: Very Good

Symmetry: Very Good

Lab Report: IGI

Lab-Grown Diamond Price: £92

Natural Diamond price: £220

(Price quoted as of the date of writing)


As you can see, there is a significant price difference, but it’s not just that. By purchasing a Lab-Grown Diamond, you are having a big impact on the miner's community and others involved in the natural diamond pipeline. I can only advise you on this matter, at the end of the day, it’s your desition to purchase a Lab-Grown or Natural Diamond.


I still prefer a Natural Diamond, but wouldn't mind if I receive a Lab-Grown Diamond as a gift.

A Must!

When buying a Lab-Grown diamond ether from your local jeweller or online, you MUST purchase it from a reliable source. Ask for a Diamond Report (Certificate) from a trusted Laboratory, for example, GIA, IGI, AGS, EGL, HRD...


An Example of my IGI Lab-Grown Report


A Must!

You also have to be 100% honest on Diamond's origin, so the person you are giving it to is aware if it's natural or lab-grown. Then there will be no surprises in the future when you have it valued.


How can I protect my customers from Non-Natural Diamonds?


The GIA iD100® combines advanced spectroscopic technology with GIA's 60 years of diamond and gemstone identification research to distinguish natural diamonds from laboratory-grown (HPHT and CVD) diamonds and diamond simulants.

Standard Features

  • Colourless to near-colourless diamond identification, Pink Diamonds, Blue-to-green and brown diamond identification

  • Automatic identification with results in <2 seconds

  • Easy reading result with audio; "Pass" or "Refer" for further testing

  • Tests both mounted and loose diamonds 0.9mm or greater in diameter (approx. 0.005 carat)

Size: 165mm x 200mm x 80mm Weight: 1.02kg

Price: $4,995.00

Visit the GIA's website for more details https://store.gia.edu


How does it work?


Disclaimer:

GIA owns the original content. There is no affiliation between me and the GIA.

I would like to give my big appreciation to the GIA for kindly letting me use the text, image and youtube video found on their website (HERE)



With this said, here are a few opinions from the industries specialist



Julia Griffith FGA DGA EG

jewelleryadvisor


Would I purchase a laboratory-grown diamond? Absolutely. I must add; I would buy one only to save money; however, I wouldn't buy one at this time...

Thirty years ago, when they started to successfully produce high-quality single crystals of lab-grown diamond, the cost of one of these man-made stones was greater than a natural diamond due to the expense of the apparatus, research and experimentation. Now that they've nailed the technology and are producing lab-grown diamonds in bulk, reaching an estimated 2 million polished carats of product for the jewellery industry per year, the cost of production is reducing. As the market becomes more saturated and the stones become more common and cheaper to produce, I, like many in the jewellery-industry, forecast that the prices will swiftly decrease. Due to these reasons, in the past 4 years alone, retail prices have fallen from 16% cheaper than a comparable natural to almost 50% cheaper than a comparable natural** (this is not including the very wallet-friendly price-points of lab-grown diamond retailer "Lightbox" who retail at an even lower percentage at around 80% cheaper).

When it comes to larger lab-grown diamonds - good quality synthetic prices around 3-carat are currently around $5,500* per carat ($16,500 total). This is much cheaper than a natural diamond of the same size and quality, which is currently around $12,000* per carat ($38,000 total), but to me, the price of these lab-grown diamonds is far too much for a manmade product that has the potential to lose so much value in the future as more are produced.

Small lab-grown diamonds do not appeal to me, as natural diamonds come at a reasonable price that I'm very willing (and able) to pay - a cost that supports the millions of workers within the natural diamond industry as well as progressive schemes for sustainability of the diamond-producing economies. I would be more interested in purchasing a cheaper lab-grown diamond of a larger size, as such sizes for a natural diamond are, currently, out of my price-range.

For today's buyer, if you wish to save money right now by purchasing a lab-grown diamond, which potentially gets you a bigger and better diamond than you could afford otherwise - go for it. But do be aware that in a few years the retail prices are likely to fall.

Do I have any thoughts on ethics and sustainability? That is a huge subject. To summarise one angle of the debate; buying a natural diamond will give funding to those in the natural diamond pipeline, all the way to the miner. A lab-grown diamond does not and so, in that way, does not help the miner at all. I know ethics and sustainability covers many areas but from this specific angle I would not call a lab-grown diamond "the ethical choice".

Are lab-grown diamonds here to stay? I think so. The market is predicted to boom to $15 billion by 2035**, but it will be very interesting to see how much they will cost at that time compared with natural diamonds whose production will decrease over the upcoming decades due to depleting resources.

*Prices taken from online retailer; James Allen on Oct 13th 2020

** Reference: Diamond market analyst Paul Zimnesky


Julia Griffith FGA DGA EG

jewelleryadvisor

Click here to learn more about Julia's upcoming online course of laboratory-grown diamonds launching at the end of October 2020: https://jewellery-advisor-academy.teachable.com/p/home

Website: https://www.jewelleryadvisor.com

Instagram: @jewelleryadvisor

Adrianne Sanogo GIA GG AJP GP


There is no chemical difference between diamond and laboratory-grown diamond [LGD]. An LGD is a man-made product with the same optical and physical characteristics of a diamond, grown in 6-10 weeks [depending on the size]. A diamond was formed by a miracle of nature in the earth during 1-3 billion years, and if close enough to the surface of the earth, can be mined by man. A true miracle of nature. Note, it is easier to see the difference in a rough LGD and diamond even though most of us will never see a rough LGD. Once a diamond or LGD is polished, the difference appears on a microscopic level.

Adrianne Sanogo GIA GG AJP GP @adriannesanogo #igemologist


Carina Tucci GIA AJP, FGAA, Dip Gem, Dip DT Gemmologist, Diamond Grader & Technologist


As a valuer in Australia, we definitely have to stay on top of the market trends! When it comes to valuing synthetic diamonds, the prices have fluctuated quite a lot, and I recommend customer revalue their items every 1-2 years to stay up to date.

I have a client's experience with an art deco reproduction!!! First I didn't know it was a reproduction, as soon as I looked at the ring with a loupe I noticed that the middle stone was a glass filled Ruby, so alarm bells started to go off, I then put the ring into the jewellery inspector from @gemetrixproducts (fluorescence box) and noticed that the diamonds were phosphorescing significantly under shortwave. I contacted the client and asked her more about the piece when she got it where she got it which solidified my thoughts that the ring was containing synthetic diamonds. The client had purchased it only 5 years prior in Bangkok, which we know melee has been produced for over 5 years. Quite a lot of Jewellery is known to have melee synthetic diamonds. I explained the science and presented my findings, so she was extremely thankful and understanding. I always show my clients the findings with images, so they know and can try to understand the science.

on another note without Hi-Tech instruments, we do put disclaimers on our valuations stating that further testing is required and price the smalls accordingly


Carina Tucci GIA AJP, FGAA, Dip Gem, Dip DT Gemmologist, Diamond Grader & Technologist

Instagram: @ctwvaluations

Helena Blanchet GIA AJP

My personal opinion:

I wouldn't purchase them myself because I'd like to think about diamonds as a precious matter, therefore rare by definition.

Considering them as a man-made alternative somehow kills the dream, in my point of view.

On the other hand, I don't mind their existence, and I understand that someone may choose a lab-grown stone because it fits their budget, as long as the source/origins are disclosed.


Helena Blanchet GIA AJP Jewellery expert,

Manager of Jewellery Department

Arihant Jain GIA GG, DFC


The reasons why I purchased a lab-grown diamonds were both for research and also to have them set in jewellery. Being a GG, I have a curiosity to learn more and more about the new gemstones in the market. Always looking for, what's the current trend right now!! Also, because lab-grown diamonds have the same durability as diamonds, they can be used in our daily wear jewellery easily, and anyone can easily opt for the best quality lab-grown at very affordable prices. No matter what, nothing can beat the natural diamonds in the rarity and that feeling of being made by the mother nature.


Arihant Jain GIA GG, DFC

Instagram: @gembeliever


The Feeling of purchasing Jewellery


My advice is simple. Choose whichever Diamond makes you happy. If you are like most of the clients out there and prefer the natural Diamond that mother nature has created, that's great! Buying jewellery is an experience, and If you fall in love with a Diamond that happens to be a Lab-Grown and you are happy with it, that's what matters at the end.



Thank you so much for reading my blog, and I would like to give my huge appreciation to the Jewellery Experts for contributing their opinion on this subject.



Have you had an experience with a Lab-Grown Diamond you would like to share with me? Contact me via the contact page on my website or via Instagram Direct Message.

I love a Diamond Story


©2021 by Gemmology Obsession.
All Images are owned by Gemmology Obsession unless stated otherwise

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