Lab Grown Diamonds Vs Natural Diamonds

Lab Grown Diamonds Vs Natural Diamonds

Lab grown diamonds have been around for decades, but they are an increasingly popular choice for engagement rings, wedding bands, diamond earrings, and various other types of jewelry. Unbeknownst to many consumers, lab grown diamonds and natural diamonds are completely identical. The only difference is the environment in which they are formed. Consequently, standard methods of identifying and grading gems cannot differentiate between natural and man-made diamonds.

Diamonds made in labs are identical to natural diamonds because they use the same essential formation processes. A lab diamond can be made using hydrocarbon gases like diamonds formed in space, or they can be made using high pressure and temperatures like diamonds formed underground. In either case, they are simply created in a controlled environment over a much shorter period of time, allowing manufacturers to make diamonds that share the same look and composition as those formed over billions of years in the natural world.

When shopping for diamonds or diamond jewelry, you should be most concerned with the 4 C’s of diamonds: Cut, Color, Clarity, and Carat. These factors will help you (or a jeweler) determine the overall diamond quality. Though lab diamonds are identical to natural diamonds in every way, the method of formation will also matter for a few different reasons (more on that later).

In any case, the cut and the carat are the two easiest factors to evaluate. Cut refers to the shape of the diamond and how it has been cut to fit into a particular piece of jewelry, while carat is a measurement of the diamond’s weight. These two factors often have the largest impact on the price. For example, a diamond with a higher carat is typically larger and will cost more — whether it is lab grown or natural.

So, in today’s guide, we will examine some of the most important qualities of diamonds while comparing lab grown diamonds to natural diamonds. Though the two are compositionally identical, there are some differences, particularly when it comes to cost and availability. So, let’s review some of the most important factors to consider when examining lab grown diamonds vs. natural diamonds.

Diamond Color

A standardized diamond color scale exists to show the range of colors for both lab diamonds and natural diamonds. Either type of diamond can range from colorless or “white” to yellow or even yellowish-brown. Letters of the alphabet are used as color designations, starting with D (colorless) and going all the way to Z (dark yellow). It is important to note that, while lab diamonds can come in any color on the diamond color spectrum, their color can be controlled or manipulated during the formation process.

When natural diamonds form, their color depends on a variety of factors, including their exposure to different levels of nitrogen. Oddly enough, some of the same processes used to make lab diamonds can also be used to change the color of natural diamonds. And diamonds are not just limited to their natural colors; they can also be changed to “fancy colors” to create virtually any color of diamonds, including pink, blue, green, and even black diamonds.

Diamond Clarity

Like color, diamond clarity exists on a scale. However, clarity is not something that can be determined by just anyone. A trained diamond expert or certified GIA or AGI gemologist will need to evaluate the diamond closely to see where it falls on the diamond clarity scale. Here are the standard diamond ratings you should know about:

  • Inclusions 1 (I1) - This is one of the lowest standard ratings for diamonds. It signifies that a diamond has imperfections (known as inclusions) that are probably visible to the naked eye.
  • Small Inclusions 2 (SI2) - This is a step above I1 and indicates that various small inclusions are visible with a jeweler’s magnifier (known as a loupe). In some cases, the imperfections may even be visible just by looking closely at the diamond.
  • Small Inclusions 1 (SI1) - Diamonds with an SI1 rating have inclusions that are typically only visible with 10x magnification. These imperfections are almost never visible to the naked eye.
  • Very Small Inclusions 2 (VS2) - VS2-rated diamonds have inclusions that are usually visible at 10x magnification, though they may be difficult to spot based on their location.
  • Very Small Inclusions 1 (VS1) - VS1-rated diamonds have inclusions that are difficult to spot, even at 10x magnification.
  • Very Very Small Inclusions 2 (VVS2) - Diamonds qualify as VVS2 if they have imperfections that are extremely difficult to locate at 10x magnification.
  • Very Very Small Inclusions 1 (VVS1) - VVS1 inclusions are not visible under 10x magnification.
  • Internally Flawless (IF) - Diamonds falling into this category are very rare, as they have absolutely no internal or external imperfections.

Diamond Composition

Diamonds, whether made in a lab or found in nature, are unique because they are the only gem that is composed of a single element. Real diamonds are more than 99.9% carbon, with some diamonds having trace amounts of other substances. However, any other substances present are not part of a diamond’s essential makeup. Due to this composition, diamonds are rated as 10.0 on the Mohs hardness scale, meaning that they have high durability and resistance to pressure.

Diamond Certification

If you are on the market for diamond jewelry, you should always make sure that the actual diamond has been certified. Two of the most trusted organizations for diamond certification are AGI (Association of Gemological Institutes) and GIA (Gemological Institute of America). These organizations inspect and test diamonds to determine their quality and authenticity. Always make sure that your diamonds are certified by a legitimate agency before making a purchase.

Diamond Price

Diamond prices vary based on a wide number of factors. That said, lab grown diamonds are consistently cheaper than natural diamonds. This is largely due to the fact that lab grown diamonds require less labor and can be manufactured (rather than mined). On average, natural diamonds can cost 2 or 3-times as much as lab grown diamonds, even though they are visually and compositionally the same. Thus, lab diamonds present a much better value to consumers.

Environmental Impact

Like any form of mining, diamond mining has a significant and harmful impact on the environment. It can throw entire ecosystems out of balance and cause permanent damage to soil quality. Alternatively, lab diamonds are created in an enclosed facility. While they do require energy to produce, the environmental impact of creating lab diamonds is minimal compared to mining natural diamonds.

Conflict Free Diamonds

Finally, it is important to remember the moral differences between obtaining lab diamonds and natural diamonds. While some natural diamonds may be conflict-free, many are known as “blood diamonds,” since diamond mining is one of the most dangerous industries on the planet. This is due to poor working conditions, corruption, safety oversight, and even violent conflict over precious resources. Alternatively, ethical diamonds can be produced in a lab without the need for bloodshed or violence.

We hope you found this guide on lab grown diamonds vs. natural diamonds both useful and informative! Are you in the market for diamond jewelry? Do you want beautiful, certified lab diamond jewelry at competitive prices? If so, be sure to check out the luxurious products available at Liori Diamonds today!

Related Articles

Expert advice
Complimentary appointments, in person or online, with our diamond experts.