Lab-grown diamonds vs. traditional diamonds: What’s the difference?

Feb 08, 2024 | Engagements
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An engagement ring is one of the most exciting purchases you’ll ever make. It’s a heady experience to shop for a diamond, choosing between all the different shapes and styles, and learning about diamond carat, cut, clarity, and color. With all that choice, it can feel pretty overwhelming. We get it.

To help narrow down your options, start by choosing between a natural or lab-grown diamond. The latter are increasingly popular with couples keen to make an ethical and environmentally conscious choice. So, lab-grown diamonds versus traditional diamonds: what's the difference? We asked luxury jewelry brand Flawless Moissanite to find out more and help you choose between them.

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The only difference is how the diamond is made

As the name suggests, lab diamonds are grown by scientists in a laboratory, replicating the process of nature in a controlled environment. Lab-grown diamonds are identical to diamonds mined from the earth as they share the same physical, atomical and chemical properties, just with a different origin.

Lab diamonds are just as real as a mined diamonds

According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), both lab-grown and mined diamonds are considered to be real. Officially, the FTC defines a diamond as “a mineral consisting essentially of pure carbon crystallized in the isometric system” and whether a diamond is mined or created, both share this chemical composition.

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Each diamond is a one-of-a-kind

Identical to natural mined diamonds, lab-made diamonds have naturally occurring variations in color and clarity, known as inclusions. These unique markers are what make each diamond truly one-of-a-kind. Once polished, lab diamonds are graded on the same scale as mined diamonds, known as the 4C’s, and receive a certificate documenting their individual cut, color, clarity and carat weight.

Lab diamond rings are just as sparkly as natural diamonds

As lab-grown diamonds are identical to their natural equivalents, they share the same visual traits as well as the same chemical composition that makes diamonds the hardest substance on earth. To look at them, you would never know that they are made in a lab.

Of the 4Cs that dictate diamond quality, cut is the crucial one that determines how a diamond interacts with light, known as brilliance. Cut refers to how well the stone is faceted, proportioned and polished - and this applies whether the diamond is natural or lab-grown.

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Lab diamonds cost less than mined diamonds

Now we know the similarities between lab and mined diamonds, let's look at the differences. First up, cost. You can expect to pay 15% to 30% less for a lab diamond than a mined diamond of identical quality. Why? Well traditionally, mined diamonds come with a long supply chain which pushes up production costs and mark-ups for the end consumer. Conversely, lab diamond producers usually create the gems in-house and the absence of middlemen allows for lower pricing.

Lab diamonds are considered a more sustainable choice

As lab-made diamonds have not been extracted from the earth, they help to avoid the depletion of natural resources. The lab diamond industry also has a significantly lower environmental impact compared to traditional diamond mining. Finally, lab-grown diamonds eliminate the dark humanitarian cost of diamond mining, which is still marked by violent conflict in some regions. When buying a natural diamond, it is crucial to check that is ethically sourced and adheres to the Kimberley Process.

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