James Sanders, London Diamonds founder and managing director has a clear vision for the future of engagement rings – lab grown diamonds. Here’s his take on why lab grown beats naturally mined every time.
We live in a world that is slowly accepting the need for finding new ways to source all kinds of materials. From energy sources to ethical gemstones, our collective attitude to what we make, buy and use is changing.
And for the jewellery market, the future is very much in lab grown diamonds. They’re just as beautiful, just as real and far more ethically and environmentally sound than mined diamonds.
What exactly are lab grown diamonds?
Many people assume that lab grown diamonds are some kind of synthetic copy. However, they are absolutely real diamonds. The difference is that they are grown in labs from a seed of a mined diamonds.
The technology used to grow them closely copy the process of natural diamond formation within the earth. Therefore, a lab grown diamond is as ‘real’ as a mined diamond, just from a different source.
All of this means that when our customers buy an engagement ring from London Diamonds they will get a lab grown diamond that is just as beautiful, just as real and totally indistinguishable from a naturally mined diamond. Optically, they are just the same and lab grown stones are also graded in the same way as naturally mined diamonds.
This means that they are assessed for the 4 ‘Cs’ (carat, cut, clarity and colour) and, of course, they’re available in all the same shapes and cuts as naturally mined diamonds.
Why are lab grown diamonds better than traditional stones?
Luxury jewellery has already changed thanks to the upsurge in interest in lab grown diamonds. Customers are waking up to this even while traditional retailers and investors are desperate to play it down.
London Diamonds takes a different approach to the traditional diamond ring market – we genuinely want our customers to have the best quality diamond and best design for their money. And lab grown diamonds gives them so many more options for the most important pieces of jewellery they’ll choose in their lives.
Lab grown diamonds open up a raft of possibilities for the many people who are increasingly interested in the moral consequences of their buying choices, and of their carbon footprint.
And these are choices for people who want to buy actual diamonds. There are, of course, lots of simulants on the market including moissanite, white sapphire and cubic zirconia. These all look kind of like diamonds but are chemically different. Lab grown diamonds are exactly the same chemical make-up of as naturally mined diamonds.
Why go for lab-grown diamonds?
There are significant benefits to choosing lab grown diamonds over naturally mined stones. They can be summarised as follows:
- Environmentally friendly – there is no disruption or disturbance to any land surfaces as there is with diamond mining. And, of course, there is no mineral waste left behind.
- Ethical – lab grown diamonds are always conflict free. There is never any harm inflicted on workers as there are with diamond miners. There is no exploitation or cruelty involved in their manufacture and when customers buy a lab grown stone they have that guarantee that they aren’t funding blood diamonds.
- Competitive –lab-grown diamonds are competitively priced when compared to their naturally mined counterparts. Generally, they cost around five times less than mined diamonds. This is primarily due to the much shorter supply chain and production method involved, resulting in a significant reduction in costs.
Why traditional diamond sellers don’t like lab grown
Much of the arguments against lab grown diamonds involve their perceived investment value. Given that lab grown stones are mass-produced they don’t have the rarity value of a naturally mined diamond, which is generally though to increase in value over time.
However, the reality is, unless you are a serious investor prepared to part with huge sums of money, diamond investment really isn’t a thing for most people. Our buyers want a beautiful, ethical, bespoke diamond engagement ring – they aren’t thinking about its resale value in 20 years time.
Investing in diamonds is only a plausible way to make money for a very few high net worth individuals and it’s absolutely not a reason for people to stick with naturally mined diamonds.
Why the world is moving away from mined diamonds
Younger generations are shifting their focus away from any purchases that come with a high environmental or humanitarian cost. They are looking for alternatives and they’re finding them.
Technology is moving on all the time and there are now a couple of ways to make lab grown diamonds:
- High Pressure High Temperature (HPHT) – this was the original production method that places the diamond seed in among pure graphite carbon and exposes it to extremely high pressure and temperature.
- Chemical Vapour Disposition (CVD) – this is the newer way and involves sealing the seed in a chamber filled with carbon gas and heating to high (but not as high as the other method) temperatures. This causes the gases to adhere to the seed and grow a diamond atom by atom.
This technology will continue to advance and will mean that, over the next few years, ever more high quality diamonds will be produced.
London Diamonds is embracing the future with lab grown diamonds
Buyers are increasingly turning to lab grown diamonds, for ethical reasons, for cost reasons and for humanitarian reasons. The market for lab grown diamonds is increasing by roughly 20% every year, according to a report from the Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC).
The more the supply increases, the more prices can be reduced. This is a hugely important focus for London Diamonds, as we are all about people accessing a fair market – something that wasn’t possible within the traditional, elitist jewellery industry for a long time.
And, more supply means more competition within this specific market sector. This will continue to push the quality and availability of lab grown diamonds and naturally increase innovation and development.
There is also a far greater opportunity for custom design and shapes, giving our designers the scope to create truly unique products for our customers. Take a look at what we do at London Diamonds here.