Diamonds are one of the most beloved gemstones because of their beauty and durability. However, they’re far from cheap. As such, many people have been turning to lab-grown diamonds to save money.
If you’re considering buying a diamond, you should understand what lab diamonds are, how they’re created, and why they’re likely a better option than mined diamonds.
What Is a Lab Diamond?
Lab diamonds are diamonds that were created by scientists inside a lab. During the growing process, advanced technology replicates the same conditions that diamonds naturally form under. The result is a man-made diamond that is the same as a natural diamond.
Lab diamonds are sometimes equated with simulated diamonds, but the two are very different. Diamond simulants are stones like moissanite and cubic zirconia. These stones look like diamonds, but they do not contain any carbon. Therefore, they do not have the same properties. Lab diamonds are chemically and physically the same as natural diamonds. They have exactly the same properties and are indistinguishable from mined diamonds.1
How Is It Created?
Geologists believe that traditional, mined diamonds formed deep in Earth’s mantle between 542 million and 4,600 million years ago. Diamonds require high temperatures and intense pressure to form. In fact, these conditions only occur naturally 90 miles below the surface of Earth. Deep-source volcanic eruptions — which are extremely rare events — carry diamonds up to the surface.2
To create lab diamonds, scientists try to replicate these same conditions. As such, there are two methods used to grow diamonds artificially.
The first is High Pressure, High Temperature. During this process, scientists place a diamond seed that comes from a natural diamond into carbon. Then, they expose it to high pressure and high temperatures using a belt press, cubic press, or split-sphere press. The press allows it to grow into a full-size diamond.
The second method is Chemical Vapor Deposition. During this process, scientists place a diamond seed into a chamber that is heated to about 1500 degrees Fahrenheit. Then, they fill the chamber with methane or another carbon-rich gas. The carbon atoms attach to the seed and crystallize, forming a diamond.3
Benefits Over Natural Diamonds
Lab diamonds have become very popular in recent years. In fact, many people prefer them to their natural counterparts.
As such, here are some of the benefits of choosing a lab diamond over a mined diamond.
Lab Diamonds Are Impossible to Distinguish from Natural Diamonds
The only difference between a lab diamond and a mined diamond is its origin.
By the time they reach the jewelry store, no one can tell the difference. Lab diamonds are just as beautiful and durable as natural diamonds.
Lab Diamonds Are Conflict-Free
Diamond mining has a long history of violence and conflict. The UN defines conflict diamond as any diamond mined from an area that is controlled by a group that opposes that country’s government. Conflict diamonds are often sold to fund violent action against the government. Therefore, miners and other workers are typically exploited and mistreated.
In 2003, the UN created the Kimberley Process, which aims to verify whether exported diamonds are conflict-free. Some experts estimate that the amount of blood diamonds in the industry has fallen from 15 percent to less than one percent of the global diamond trade. However, these statistics are hard to confirm. It’s possible that many diamonds in circulation were mined in unethical conditions. Since they don’t match the UN’s specific definition of conflict diamonds, they are considered conflict-free.4
When you purchase a lab diamond, you don’t have to worry about it having an unethical origin. You’ll know exactly where it came from. So, you can be certain that your money isn’t supporting a corrupt or exploitative practice.
Lab Diamonds Are Environmentally Friendly
A large portion of the world’s diamonds is mined in countries that have little or no environmental regulation. Diamond mining can take a serious toll on the environment, especially when mining companies are determined to unearth as many diamonds as possible in a short amount of time.
It takes much less energy to grow lab diamonds than to mine natural diamonds. Because the process happens inside a lab, man-made diamonds don’t disturb the environment the way natural diamond mining does.
If you purchase a lab diamond, you can be sure that you minimized your environmental impact.
Lab Diamonds Are Less Expensive Than Natural Diamonds
In 2016, the average cost of an engagement ring was over $6,000. Prices have significantly increased in recent years. It’s likely that natural diamonds will only get more expensive.
Purchasing a lab diamond is a great way to cut costs while ending up with the same product. When writers from CreditDonkey compared the cost of natural and lab diamonds, they found that lab diamonds were typically 20 to 35 percent cheaper.
If you’re considering spending several thousand dollars on a diamond ring, choosing a lab diamond could easily save you more than $1,000.5
Lab Diamonds Are Forever
Every year, lab diamonds become more and more popular. As technology advances, scientists can more easily produce diamonds that are indistinguishable from the mined gems.
If you’re in the market for a diamond, you should consider the lab-made option. You can save money, protect the environment, and act ethically while purchasing a beautiful gemstone that will last forever.