James Sanders’ guide to lab grown diamonds versus natural diamonds

When I started London Diamonds, I wanted to create a team of experts that would help people make the right choice for their special jewellery purchases. I know from experience that it’s not always easy to find the best quality and fair value for money, and it’s all too easy to feel ripped off by the traditional retail model.

That’s why London Diamonds offers bespoke pieces of jewellery – whether it’s for an engagement, eternity or wedding ring – along with accessible advice and design assistance. We also make sure that our customers understand the difference between lab grown and natural diamonds. This guide gives the basics.

Are lab grown diamonds really ‘real’?

The first thing that we’re often asked is whether lab grown diamonds are ‘real’. I’m more than happy to reassure customers that in every metric, they are geologically, optically and chemically identical to naturally mined diamonds.

In fact, the only difference between the two is the source – natural diamonds are mined from the earth (often in dubiously unethical circumstances sadly) while lab grown diamonds are grown in specific laboratory conditions.

Lab grown diamonds are grown from a seed, which derives from a natural diamond. And, when they’re created, they go through the same certification and grading process. These are conducted by a small number of laboratories, including IGI and GIA.

Comparing lab created diamonds with natural diamonds

If you are looking for differences between the two just by looking at them, you definitely won’t see any. It’s impossible to do so with the naked eye. But there are certain characteristics that reveal the differences between them.

For example, natural diamonds are formed from carbon atoms that are rearranged over billions of years of heat and light into a solid gem. Lab grown diamonds, on the other hand, are grown under scientific conditions.

Lab created diamonds start from a seed, which is a tiny slither of pure carbon. Rather than waiting for extremely slow natural forces to transform it, the diamond is created through a vastly accelerated process that mimics the natural one.

Lab grown are indistinguishable from natural diamonds

Techniques are constantly being finessed and improved to ensure that every lab grown diamond is totally indistinguishable from natural diamond. And, of course, scientifically, it is exactly the same.

Natural diamond is the hardest substance on earth and measures 10 on the Mohs Hardness Scale. Lab grown diamonds also measure a 10, and are guaranteed to last just as long as the mined option.

Rating the ‘4 Cs’

There is a standard measurement system for natural diamonds that covers the (4 Cs), which are carat, clarity, colour and cut. Given that lab grown diamonds are scientifically the same, they are also subject to the same measurement system.

For example, if the seed has some complex flaws within it, the diamonds grown from it will also include flaws. This means it will get the same grade for clarity. As a customer, you will be able to have access to the 4 C measurements for lab grown diamonds in exactly the same way as you would for a natural diamond.

All of these similarities mean that you have essentially the same information with which to make your purchasing decision.

Are lab grown diamonds cheaper?

At London Diamonds, we are focused on ensuring that our customers get the very best quality diamond for their money. This is a key driver for our business and something we take very seriously.

And it’s also why lab grown diamonds can be a more sensible choice for many people. They are significantly cheaper than natural diamonds, representing better value for money.

Part of the cost saving comes from the fact that creating diamonds in a lab is not as expensive or potentially risky as it is to mine them. Natural diamond mining is laborious and expensive.

The future of the diamond market will be lab created diamonds

There are a number of advantages of choosing lab grown diamonds over natural diamonds – not least the fact that they are more ethical. The whole chain of morally suspect and unsustainable problems that arise from mining natural diamonds are completely eliminated.

So, for the growing number of people who are specifically searching out sustainable options for their engagement rings and jewellery collections, lab grown diamonds make a lot of sense.

Diamond mining isn’t just potentially unethical, it’s also notoriously bad for the environment. It destroys natural environments and creates an enormous amount of pollution. The worst case is that natural diamonds are ‘blood diamonds’ which are mined in dangerous conditions such as warzones, and then sold on illegally. The damage that is caused by this chain of events is enormous, and now totally avoidable.

Of course it’s possible to buy natural diamonds that aren’t from conflict zones. You can find Fairtrade labelled natural diamonds, which is also a good choice for those determined to have a natural diamond. However, for long-term sustainability and for the best quality for the lowest cost, nothing can beat a lab created diamond.

Find out more about the future of lab grown diamonds here.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *