June 28, 2024

What You Need to Know about Lab-Created Diamonds vs. Natural Diamonds

Lab grown diamonds are becoming increasingly popular. Many people are still a little skeptical, but lab grown diamonds may make a perfect alternative to natural diamonds.  Here are some basic facts to help you be 100% confident about which diamond will make you sparkle a little brighter. 

Natural Diamonds

Where can you find a piece of jewelry that is a billion years old and wear it every day? 

Natural diamonds are one of the most beautiful and coveted objects on Earth. They take centuries to form deep within the Earth under extreme conditions of heat and pressure. Mined diamonds are comprised of nearly 99.95% carbon, with the other 0.05% reflecting trace elements that aren't part of their essential chemistry — making diamonds the only gemstone constructed of a single element. Mined diamonds are the hardest naturally occurring material found on Earth and one of the most sought-after.

Today, diamonds are mostly mined from kimberlite pipes, remnants of the ancient volcanoes that carried diamonds to Earth’s surface. About 200-250 tons of ore must be removed and processed to uncover a single one-carat gem-quality diamond. Out of all the diamonds found in kimberlite pipes, only 20-30% are gem-quality.

Diamonds represent rare time capsules containing Earth’s history. Their journey also makes them enduring symbols of strength and resilience, as well as the most coveted precious stone on earth. Very few places in the world can produce mined diamonds.

Lab-Grown Diamonds

Lab-grown diamonds are grown from tiny carbon “seeds” that develop in chambers over months, as scorching gases deposit carbon atom-by-atom onto the original seed. Lab-created diamonds develop their own unique characteristics (inclusions, clarity, etc.) along the way. Once they’re fully grown, they’re cut into the shape that suits their qualities best. They are optically, chemically, and physically the same as natural diamonds, with the difference lying only in their origins. Unlike natural diamonds that form deep within the Earth, lab diamonds are created in controlled environments.

Lab diamonds typically have fewer flaws than natural diamonds, a lighter carbon footprint, and can cost substantially less than mined diamonds. They can be cut and shaped to your heart’s desire and to absolute perfection.

How Would I Know the Difference Between a Lab-Grown or a Natural Diamond?

The differences between natural diamonds and lab-grown diamonds cannot be seen with the naked eye. Natural diamonds have tiny amounts of nitrogen, while lab-grown diamonds have no nitrogen. Gemologists use this as a key identifier, often employing diamond testers and magnification to distinguish between the two based on specific types of inclusions.


Do Lab-Grown Diamonds Age?

In terms of appearance, lab-grown diamonds will not change over time. They retain their color and clarity if they are protected from external factors. Made through HPHT (High Pressure, High Temperature) or CVD (Chemical Vapor Deposition) methods, lab-grown diamonds are designed to last and shine bright indefinitely.

Can Lab-Grown Diamonds Break?

While not completely unbreakable, the precisely engineered structure of lab-created diamonds makes them exceptionally durable and resistant to cracking — matching or even surpassing the fracture toughness of natural diamonds.  However, it is important to note that lab-grown diamonds can be scratched just like natural diamonds.

Lab-Grown Diamonds vs. Natural Diamonds Resale Value?

Whereas earth mined diamonds are rare and finite and tend to increase in price over time, lab diamonds are not rare and are readily available, so they don't hold their value as natural diamonds do. Depending on the current diamond industry market, a natural diamond typically holds around 25% to 50% of its value, while by some estimates, lab-grown diamonds may hold little or no resale value. Because of this, lab-grown diamonds are not included in the King Jeweler’s Trade-Up Program. 


Only You and Your Jeweler Need to Know! 

Choosing the diamond that suits your lifestyle and will last you through your entire life is an important decision. Whether you choose to buy either a lab-grown diamond or a natural diamond, do so from a trusted jeweler who discloses what your stone is and how to care for it. Just as there are different quality levels in natural diamonds, the same goes for lab-created diamonds. Because lab-grown diamonds are optically and chemically the same as mined diamonds, make sure you know the identity and quality of the lab-grown diamond you purchase. Your jeweler should be able to advise you.

Should you choose to buy a lab-grown diamond or gemstone, King Jewelers, has a stunning collection of lab-grown jewelry.  Stop by and talk to one of our jewelry specialists to learn whether a lab-grown diamond is the right choice for you.