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Everything You Need To Know About Whether To Choose Natural Diamonds or Lab Grown Diamonds


Lab-grown diamonds have surged in popularity in recent years, capturing the attention of consumers seeking ethical, sustainable, and budget-friendly alternatives to natural diamonds. This shift in preference has sparked a spirited debate within the jewelry industry, pitting the allure of traditional natural diamonds against the innovative appeal of their lab-grown counterparts.

In this article, we embark on a journey to unravel the intricacies of this ongoing discourse surrounding natural versus lab-grown diamonds. Our mission is to demystify the complexities of diamond selection, providing readers with a comprehensive understanding of the factors at play in this decision-making process.

From exploring the scientific marvels behind the creation of lab-grown diamonds to scrutinizing the ethical and environmental considerations associated with both options, we aim to equip you with the knowledge needed to navigate this captivating dilemma. Whether you're a seasoned jewelry connoisseur or a curious newcomer to the world of diamonds, join us as we delve into everything you need to know about whether to choose natural or lab-grown diamonds. 

In the below picture is the popularity of the "lab grown diamonds" search term found in Google Trends in The United States. With reference to the photo below, it's clear that the popularity of lab grown diamonds is growing more and more.

google trends statistics of the keyword "lab grown diamonds" over the last 5 years

What are lab grown diamonds?

Lab-created diamonds, also known as synthetic or cultured diamonds, are every bit as authentic as those sourced from underground. They're produced in laboratories with the exact same chemical, physical, and optical properties as natural diamonds, including their fire, scintillation, and sparkle. When you compare a lab-grown diamond to a natural diamond of the same quality, you'll often find that the lab-grown one offers better quality.


Comparison with Natural Diamonds in Terms of Chemical, Physical, and Optical Properties

Lab-grown diamonds are indistinguishable from natural diamonds. Both are composed of pure carbon crystallized in a lattice structure, resulting in identical chemical properties. This similarity extends to their physical traits—both display exceptional hardness, durability, and brilliant luster.

Optically, lab-created diamonds are comparable to mined diamonds, both sparkling with intense brilliance, fire, and scintillation. They are also assessed using the same rigorous standards for color, clarity, cut, and carat weight to establish their quality and market value.


Clarification of Misconceptions Surrounding Lab-Grown Diamonds

Lab-grown diamonds are steadily gaining popularity and acceptance, though skepticism persists. A prevalent misunderstanding is that these diamonds do not match the quality or beauty of natural diamonds. Yet, research and industry data confirm that lab-grown diamonds are equally brilliant and appealing. They provide the same aesthetic value without the ethical and environmental concerns associated with mining natural diamonds.

Another misconception is that lab-grown diamonds don't last as long or are not as durable as natural diamonds. The truth about this is that both lab-grown and natural diamonds are equal in strength and resilience.

By putting an end to these myths and shedding light on the true qualities of lab-grown diamonds, consumers can make choices that are informed by accurate information and data, and that's one of my goals in this blog.


How Lab-Grown Diamonds Are Made

Lab-grown diamonds are created using one of two primary methods, either the Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD) method or the High Pressure High Temperature (HPHT) method. Both methods offer their own advantages and disadvantages and leverage advanced technology to replicate the natural diamond growth process.

1st Method: Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD)

In the CVD method, a small "diamond seed", which is basically a little natural diamond, is placed in a vacuum chamber. The chamber is then filled with hydrocarbon gas. The hydrocarbon gas most commonly used is methane. The vacuum chamber is heated to really high temperatures until the gas molecules begin to break down and drop carbon atoms onto the "diamond seed".


Over time, these carbon atoms accumulate around the diamond seed, one layer at a time, forming a larger diamond around the original diamond seed. The advantage of this method is that it allows for precise control over the diamond's growth, resulting in high-quality, gem-grade diamonds with exceptional purity and clarity.

2nd Method: High Pressure High Temperature (HPHT)

The HPHT process seeks to replicate the intense heat and pressure conditions found deep within the Earth's mantle, where natural diamonds are formed over millions of years. In this method, a small diamond seed is placed in a pressurized chamber along with a carbon source, typically graphite, and a metal catalyst. The chamber is subjected to extreme temperatures and pressures, causing the carbon atoms to crystallize around the diamond seed, gradually growing into a larger diamond crystal. This process yields diamonds with remarkable hardness and durability, closely mirroring the characteristics of natural diamonds.

The Environmental and Ethical Implications of Each Process In Making Lab Grown Diamonds

While both the CVD and HPHT processes offer innovative solutions to diamond cultivation, they present distinct environmental and ethical considerations.

Environmental Implications

The CVD process typically requires less energy and generates fewer emissions compared to HPHT, making it a more environmentally friendly option. Additionally, CVD diamonds can be produced using renewable energy sources, further reducing their carbon footprint.

However, both processes consume significant resources and energy, contributing to their environmental impact. Efforts are underway to develop more sustainable practices and technologies to mitigate these effects and promote responsible diamond production.

Ethical Implications

From an ethical standpoint, lab-grown diamonds are often perceived as a more ethical alternative to mined diamonds, as they eliminate the need for environmentally destructive mining practices and the associated social and humanitarian concerns.

However, the production of lab-grown diamonds still raises ethical questions regarding fair labor practices, worker rights, and the use of potentially harmful chemicals in the manufacturing process. Addressing these concerns requires transparency, accountability, and adherence to ethical standards throughout the diamond supply chain.

By understanding the intricacies of each diamond cultivation method and considering their environmental and ethical implications, consumers can make informed choices that align with their values and contribute to a more sustainable and responsible diamond industry.


Comparison of Lab-Grown vs. Natural Diamonds

Visual and Physical Similarities between Lab-Grown and Natural Diamonds

Lab-grown and natural diamonds possess an indistinguishable visual appearance, dazzling with the same brilliance, fire, and scintillation. Both share identical hardness levels, making them equally durable and suitable for daily wear in engagement rings and other fine jewelry. This remarkable similarity extends to their optical properties; both types of diamonds refract and disperse light in the same captivating manner, offering the same sparkle that diamond enthusiasts cherish.

Differences That Can Be Detected with Specialized Equipment

While lab-grown and natural diamonds are visually similar, they do possess distinct characteristics that can only be detected through specialized gemological equipment. Natural diamonds often contain minute traces of nitrogen, a telltale sign of their organic origin. In contrast, lab-grown diamonds typically lack these nitrogen impurities, a result of their controlled creation process. Additionally, specialized spectroscopy equipment can identify subtle differences in crystal growth patterns and inclusions, distinguishing lab-grown diamonds from their natural counterparts, which have been shaped by the random forces of nature over millions of years.

Examination of the Grading Process for Both Types of Diamonds

The grading of both lab-grown and natural diamonds follows the same stringent criteria, ensuring that each diamond's value and quality are meticulously assessed. This grading process evaluates the four Cs: Carat, Cut, Color, and Clarity. Both types of diamonds are subject to the same high standards set by leading gemological institutions like the Gemological Institute of America (GIA). However, it is crucial to note that while the grading parameters remain consistent, the reports for lab-grown diamonds are distinctly marked to reflect their origin. This ensures clarity for consumers, allowing them to make informed decisions based on accurate, transparent information regarding the nature and quality of the diamond they are considering.


Ethical and Environmental Considerations of Natural Diamonds

Ethical Implications of Natural Diamond Mining

Natural diamond mining has long been scrutinized due to its ethical implications. The extraction of these precious stones has historically been associated with various human rights abuses, including forced labor and the funding of conflict, often referred to as "blood diamonds." While significant strides have been made with initiatives like the Kimberley Process, aimed at preventing the flow of conflict diamonds, concerns persist regarding the complete traceability and transparency of natural diamond sources. Furthermore, the disruption of local communities, displacement of people, and the alteration of landscapes raise substantial ethical concerns that continue to challenge the reputation of natural diamonds.

Environmental Impact of Both Natural and Lab-Grown Diamonds

The sustainability and environmental impact of diamond production are pivotal concerns in today's eco-conscious world. Natural diamond mining is an energy-intensive and ecologically invasive process, requiring the removal of vast amounts of soil and rock which can result in significant ecological damage, including deforestation and the disruption of local ecosystems. Conversely, while lab-grown diamonds are heralded as a more environmentally friendly option due to the absence of mining, their production is not without impact. The creation of lab-grown diamonds, especially through methods like HPHT, demands substantial energy consumption, raising concerns about the carbon footprint of these processes. However, advancements in technology are continually improving the energy efficiency of producing lab-grown diamonds, potentially lessening their environmental impact over time.

Certifications and Regulations in the Diamond Industry

To address these ethical and environmental challenges, the diamond industry has introduced various certifications and regulations. The most well-known among these is the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme, which aims to prevent the trade in conflict diamonds. This certification ensures that shipments of rough diamonds are conflict-free. Additionally, organizations like the Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC) provide certifications that promote responsible ethical, human rights, social, and environmental practices throughout the diamond supply chain. For lab-grown diamonds, certifications such as those from the International Grown Diamond Association (IGDA) offer similar assurances about the ethical production and traceability of synthetic diamonds. These efforts are crucial in fostering consumer confidence and promoting ethical practices within the industry.


Cost and Value of Lab Grown Diamonds and Natural Diamonds

Comparison of the Cost of Lab-Grown and Natural Diamonds

The cost of lab-grown diamonds is generally 30-50% less than that of natural diamonds, offering consumers a significant price advantage. This discrepancy in pricing arises primarily due to the differences in supply chain length and the resource-intensive nature of mining natural diamonds. Lab-grown diamonds bypass many of the traditional costs associated with natural diamond mining, such as excavation and transportation from remote locations, which can be extensive. Consequently, consumers can often afford larger or higher quality lab-grown diamonds for the same investment that would fetch a smaller or less pristine natural diamond.

Factors Influencing the Value of Both Types of Diamonds

Several factors influence the value of both lab-grown and natural diamonds, with the four Cs (Carat, Cut, Color, Clarity) being paramount in determining their worth. However, beyond these traditional metrics, the origin of the diamond—natural or lab-grown—plays a significant role. For natural diamonds, provenance and rarity, especially for certain unique or historically significant stones, can add considerable value. For lab-grown diamonds, technological advancements and production efficiency can influence value, with newer, less energy-intensive methods potentially lowering costs and impacting market prices.

Resale Value and Long-Term Investment Potential

When considering resale value and long-term investment, natural diamonds generally hold an edge over lab-grown alternatives. The finite nature of natural diamonds, coupled with their long-standing cultural and historical value, tends to sustain their demand and resale potential. In contrast, lab-grown diamonds, while identical in appearance and properties, do not yet have the same historical allure, and their unlimited production potential can lead to depreciation over time. Investors looking at diamonds not only as adornments but as financial assets typically prefer natural diamonds due to their proven stability and likelihood of appreciation in value over decades. However, for consumers more interested in aesthetic appeal and immediate value for money, lab-grown diamonds offer a compelling, cost-effective choice.


Consumer Considerations and Decision-Making Factors

Personal Preferences and Values Influencing Diamond Choice

The choice between lab-grown and natural diamonds often hinges on personal preferences and values. Some consumers prioritize the traditional and romantic allure associated with natural diamonds, which have been formed over millions of years beneath the Earth's surface. For these individuals, the history and rarity of natural diamonds enhance their symbolic significance in jewelry such as engagement rings. Conversely, other consumers might value modernity and ethical considerations, opting for lab-grown diamonds that promise minimal environmental impact and avoid the ethical dilemmas often associated with diamond mining. Thus, aligning one's values with the origin of the diamond is a crucial factor in the selection process.


Budget plays a pivotal role in deciding between lab-grown and natural diamonds. Lab-grown diamonds typically offer more size and quality for the same price, making them an attractive option for consumers seeking value without compromising on the visual appeal of the diamond. Understanding how much one is willing to invest can guide the initial decision between a natural and a lab-grown diamond. It’s important for consumers to set a realistic budget early in the shopping process to explore the best options available within their financial constraints.

Lack of Knowledge in the Decision-Making Process

Navigating the decision-making process for purchasing a diamond involves several steps. Consumers should start by researching and educating themselves about the differences between lab-grown and natural diamonds, including their physical, chemical, and aesthetic similarities and differences. Consulting with trusted jewelers, reading certification reports from reputable labs, and considering long-term aspects such as resale value and investment potential are also important. Consumers should also think about who the purchase is for and their specific preferences—some might value the ethical assurances of a lab-grown diamond, while others might treasure the natural origin of mined diamonds. Ultimately, making a decision that aligns with personal ethics, budget, and aesthetic preferences will ensure satisfaction with the purchase for years to come.


Expert Opinions and Industry Perspectives

Opinions from Gemologists and Industry Professionals

Gemologists and industry professionals provide nuanced insights into the debate between lab-grown and natural diamonds. These experts often emphasize the identical physical and optical properties of both diamond types, confirming that lab-grown diamonds are indeed "real" diamonds. However, they also discuss the subtleties in the growth patterns and inclusions that differentiate the two under expert examination. Industry professionals might highlight the advancements in technology that have improved the quality and reduced the cost of lab-grown diamonds, making them more accessible and appealing to a broader audience.

Research and Studies on Lab-Grown and Natural Diamonds

Recent research and studies in the field focus on the environmental impact, market trends, and consumer perceptions of both lab-grown and natural diamonds. Studies often find that lab-grown diamonds have a smaller environmental footprint, although energy consumption remains a concern. Market analysis shows a growing acceptance and interest in lab-grown diamonds, particularly among younger consumers who prioritize ethical considerations in their purchasing decisions. Research into consumer behavior indicates a shift towards more sustainable and ethically produced products across various sectors, including jewelry.

Expert Recommendations for Consumers

Experts generally recommend that consumers consider several factors when choosing between lab-grown and natural diamonds. These include:

  • Ethical Considerations: Understanding the sourcing and production of the diamond, whether through responsible mining practices or sustainable manufacturing processes.
  • Budget: Considering the cost differences and how they align with personal financial situations.
  • Purpose of Purchase: Determining whether the diamond is meant as an investment or for its aesthetic value, as this can influence the choice between natural and lab-grown options.
  • Certification: Ensuring that the diamond, whether lab-grown or natural, comes with a certification from a reputable lab that confirms its quality and authenticity.
  • Personal Values: Aligning the purchase with personal or family values, such as environmental sustainability or a preference for natural products.

By taking into account these expert recommendations, consumers can make more informed decisions that satisfy both their practical needs and ethical standards.


Frequently Asked Questions

Are lab-grown diamonds real diamonds?

  • Yes, lab-grown diamonds are real diamonds with the same chemical, physical, and optical properties as natural diamonds. They are created in controlled laboratory environments using advanced technological processes.

How are lab-grown diamonds made?

  • Lab-grown diamonds are typically created using one of two methods: Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD) or High Pressure High Temperature (HPHT). Both methods simulate the natural conditions under which diamonds form in the Earth's mantle.

What is the main difference between lab-grown and natural diamonds?

  • The primary difference is their origin. Natural diamonds are formed over billions of years under the Earth’s surface, while lab-grown diamonds are manufactured in a lab over a few weeks or months.

Can you tell the difference between a lab-grown and a natural diamond with the naked eye?

  • No, lab-grown and natural diamonds cannot be distinguished with the naked eye. Only specialized equipment and trained experts can reliably identify differences based on microscopic inclusions and crystal growth patterns.

Are lab-grown diamonds cheaper than natural diamonds?

  • Yes, lab-grown diamonds tend to be more affordable than natural diamonds, often costing 30-50% less, which allows buyers to purchase a larger or higher-quality diamond for the same price.

Facts and Misconceptions

Misconception: Lab-grown diamonds are not as durable as natural diamonds.

  • Fact: Lab-grown diamonds possess the same hardness and durability as natural diamonds, making them equally suitable for everyday wear.
  • Fact: Lab-grown diamonds are subject to the same grading standards as natural diamonds (the four Cs: Carat, Cut, Color, Clarity). They can achieve the same grades and quality levels as natural diamonds.

Misconception: Natural diamonds are always ethically sourced.

  • Fact: While many natural diamonds are ethically sourced, the diamond mining industry has historically been linked to various ethical issues. It is important for consumers to verify the source of their natural diamonds and choose vendors who adhere to strict ethical standards.

Additional Resources

  • Gemological Institute of America (GIA) - Provides detailed information and educational materials on both lab-grown and natural diamonds, as well as offering grading services.
  • International Grown Diamond Association (IGDA) - Focuses on the lab-grown diamond industry and offers resources about the benefits and production of lab-grown diamonds.
  • World Diamond Council - Offers insights into the natural diamond industry, focusing on ethical sourcing and the promotion of conflict-free diamonds.
  • Jewelry store consultations - Many reputable jewelers provide education sessions and can offer personalized advice and information tailored to specific needs and preferences regarding both types of diamonds.

These resources are invaluable for consumers looking to make educated decisions about purchasing diamonds, offering a combination of professional expertise and regulatory oversight to ensure confidence and satisfaction in their jewelry choices.



Throughout this comprehensive guide, we have explored the nuances of lab-grown and natural diamonds, highlighting their similarities and differences in terms of visual and physical properties, cost, and ethical considerations. We discussed the methods used to create lab-grown diamonds, such as Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD) and High-Pressure High Temperature (HPHT), and affirmed their realness and authenticity as recognized by gemological standards. The ethical implications and environmental impacts of both lab-grown and natural diamonds were examined, providing insights into how each aligns with modern sustainability goals. Additionally, we addressed common misconceptions and answered frequently asked questions to clarify any uncertainties about the characteristics and benefits of both diamond types.

Final Thoughts on the Future of the Diamond Industry and Evolving Consumer Trends

The diamond industry is at a pivotal juncture, with evolving consumer awareness and technological advancements shaping its future. The growing popularity of lab-grown diamonds reflects a broader trend toward ethical consumption and sustainability, suggesting that the demand for these stones will likely continue to increase. Meanwhile, the enduring allure of natural diamonds remains strong, driven by their timeless appeal and rarity. As technology advances and societal values continue to shift, the diamond industry must adapt to meet these new expectations while maintaining the high standards of quality and integrity that consumers expect. Whether you choose a lab-grown or a natural diamond, your choice contributes to shaping the future landscape of this fascinating industry.

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