The Differences Between Natural and Lab Grown Diamonds: A Comprehensive Guide
Lab grown diamonds have taken the world by storm in recent times, being offered as a remarkable third-way solution between natural diamonds and their much cheaper imitations.
Nevertheless, many people not wholly initiated in the diamond trade may be under the impression that there either isn’t any substantial difference between lab diamonds and natural diamonds or that there’s more than meets the eye. This guide will hopefully portray a more balanced approach to this subject.
What is a Natural Diamond?
A “natural” (or so-called “real”) diamond is a gemstone made up of carbon atoms mined near areas where volcanic activity has been registered. It forms beneath the earth’s mantle at extremely high temperatures.
Owing to how they develop (typically over longer spans of time), these diamonds are far rarer than their lab siblings.
What is a Lab Grown Diamond Called?
A lab grown diamond is also referred to as “man-made.” Some people call it “synthetic,” but this term is heavily misleading because it gives the impression these are “fake” diamonds, which is far from the case.
Rather, lab diamonds are as real as they get, with virtually the same conformation as their naturally occurring counterparts. What changes here is the way they’re brought into being. A lab grown diamond is produced in an artificial environment wherein the ordinary conditions for the formation of natural diamonds are emulated.
Their production goes through one of the two existing standard processes: The “Chemical Vapor Deposition” (CVD) and the “High Pressure High Temperature” (HPHT) methods. We will not be delving deep into these for the purposes of this guide.
What Are the Main Differences Between Lab Diamonds and “Natural” Diamonds?
The first thing worth noting is that the naked eye can’t readily see distinctions between lab grown and natural diamonds. Even an expert jeweler may have difficulty ascertaining which is “natural” and which isn’t without the aid of specialized instruments.
That said, these are, in summary, the most noteworthy differences between the two:
While both diamond variants have largely the same internal composition, gemologists search for tiny traces of nitrogen to determine that a diamond is “naturally occurring.”
Another aspect that differentiates a lab diamond from a natural diamond is its “inclusions” (imperfections). Most lab diamonds will have metal inclusions, while natural diamonds contain smaller crystals.
This hardly affects the diamond’s durability, clarity, hardness, or color. Still, some visual effects can be expected in lab diamonds, such as higher phosphorescence and a peculiar “blue nuance” or tint (produced by the boron used to remove nitrogen buildups).
While all of this is hardly a game-changer, gem purists may find this data helpful when looking to buy diamonds they deem “genuine.”
Evidently, since natural diamonds are seldom found, their price is overly steeper. A diamond seeker could expect to pay around 50% less for a lab diamond of a similar grade.
But scarcity is hardly the only factor driving the price of mined diamonds. The very procedure by which they’re obtained is fraught with far more challenges, owing to the costs associated with their extraction and the higher degree of inconsistency in the success of the mining activities.
The technology necessary to produce diamonds in a lab is much more cost-effective, and there are far fewer intervening variables that could affect the stones’ formation.
Nonetheless, it’s important to clarify that, despite these price disparities, lab grown diamonds are not inherently less valuable, as would be the case with diamond imitations such as cubic zirconia (CZ) or moissanite.
In terms of sustainability, lab growing is arguably a much healthier activity, environmentally speaking. There’s also the added issue of human rights violations still underway in some mining initiatives.
This is not to undermine the environmental impact of lab-growing diamonds. Creating diamonds in a lab is an activity that still demands a taxing amount of energy in order to reach the needed temperatures.
Regardless, when contrasting the two options, environmentally-conscious individuals should have an easier time opting for lab diamonds.
At the end of the day, those who decide to buy lab diamonds are not missing out on anything. For a substantially cut price, people can get their hands on awe-inspiring and environmentally-friendly jewels that offer exactly the same returns in terms of quality, clarity, durability, and eye-candy appeal.
Rare Carat understands this, and that’s why they don’t skimp on marketing lab grown diamonds suited to all types of needs and budgets.
Among many others, customers can buy oval diamond shapes to cut costs or go for their more expensive round counterparts. Other popular choices include the cushion and “princess” diamonds.
Apart from the shape, they can tweak other parameters like cut, carat, clarity, and color, no matter if they wish to purchase a natural or lab diamond.
With a solid 4.9/5 rating on Google and Trustpilot, this diamond provider is guaranteed not to disappoint the most demanding gem lovers.