You may have heard about how people are increasingly purchasing lab grown diamonds as a jewelry alternative to natural and expensive crystal diamonds. On the face of it, what’s not to love? They are practically the same to the untrained eye, and you can get a lot more bang for your buck. Just like natural diamonds, they come in various colors, shapes, and sizes, so technically, you can buy a lab grown diamond that perfectly fits your spec.
Image: Yadav Diamonds & Jewelry
The purchasing of lab grown diamonds has been on a steady increase in recent years, with the synthetic variety accounting for around 10% of sales in diamond jewelry sales today. But what exactly are they, and can they compete with the real deal? We’re breaking down the key points to know about the revolutionary gem and why people opt for the laboratory creation as a better alternative.
Demistifying the Man-made Gem: How Did Lab Grown Diamonds Come About?
Also referred to as cultured diamonds, these man-made jewels are created using cutting edge technology that simulates the extreme conditions in which natural diamonds are formed. Using a combination of high pressures, high temperatures, carbon rich gasses, and diamonds seeds, it’s possible for layers of diamond crystal to formulate onto itseld in a fraction of the time.
Interestingly, lab grown diamonds aren’t a new invention. Researchers have been working on creating artificial diamonds since the fifties, but they weren’t accessible to the public. These days however, not only is it possible to purchase, but they can even offer competitive prices in comparison to natural grown diamonds.
The Reasons Why People Are Choosing Synthetic Diamonds Over Natural Diamonds
Opting for a lab-grown diamond has many benefits, especially if you would have otherwise bought a natural diamond. For one, lab grown diamonds have the same chemical, physical, optical and structural properties as a natural diamond, so it’s extremely difficult to tell the difference between them.
Image: The New Economy
Another huge factors is the lower cost of purchasing a lab grown diamond. Typically, these synthetic crystals are sold from around 20% to 60% less than a natural diamond, making them much more affordable. Some people can buy larger diamonds than they would have typically been able to for the price of a smaller diamond.
There are environmental and ethical merits to buying lab grown diamonds, and arguably they make up some of the most compelling reasons for buying synthetic. As these man-made diamonds are made in a laboratory, they don’t need to be mined – a process that can negatively impact the environment and local communities. This way, lab grown diamonds tend to be considered the more sustainably sound diamond sourcing option.
Finally, lab grown diamonds also offer more in the way of consistent high quality. Due to the fact that their conditions are controlled, the color, clarity, and weight of the diamond can be predetermined. That’s good news for those producing diamonds as they can better predict their outcomes and produce what people want, which is ultimately better news for the buyers.
Is There a Possible Hidden Cost To Buying a Lab Grown Diamond?
Image: Stefano Navi
With all that being said, there are some possible downsides to buying a synthetic diamond instead of a natural one. One aspect that may discourage buyers is the fact that a lab grown diamond lacks the rarity of a naturally-formed diamond. As a result, people may feel their “special” crystal diamond isn’t so special at all, as it wasn’t formed in the unique circumstances as that of a natural diamond.
Another aspect that puts people off from lab grown dimaonds is the fact that they are still relatively new to the market. That means it is hard to know how much these synthetic diamonds will be valued in the future, and therefore they can be considered a riskier purchase. Naturally-mined diamonds on the other hand are known for typically increasing in value over time, possibly making them the safer bet in the long run.
As you can see, opting for a lab-grown diamond has many pros and cons. Considering the environmental and social impacts, there has been an undeniable rise in the popularity of these synthetic gemstones, which could spell good news for everyone all around. That being said, since they haven’t been available to the masses for an extended amount of time, they can be considered a bit of risk financially. Only time will tell as to whether lab diamonds will transfrom the jewelry world for good.