Originally published on April 15, 2019
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A LAB GROWN DIAMOND AND A NATURALLY GROWN DIAMOND?
The one difference between the two is origin. One is grown in a lab and one below the Earth’s surface.
HOW IS THAT POSSIBLE?
A lab grown diamond is made with technology that replicates the process of a naturally made diamond by simulating the conditions of extreme heat and pressure. The result is a diamond that is chemically, physically, and optically the same as those grown naturally beneath the Earth’s surface.
ARE LAB GROWN DIAMONDS ALWAYS FLAWLESS?
Nope! Just like a natural diamond, the process of a lab grown diamond creates inevitable flaws.
HOW ARE LAB GROWN DIAMONDS GRADED?
Natural and lab grown diamonds are graded the exact same way- using the 4 C’s - color, cut, clarity and carat. Since the process in which both are formed are exactly the same, there is no need to differentiate grading.
SO WHY THE NEED FOR LAB GROWN DIAMONDS?
Sustainability. The process of mining a natural diamond has significant impact on the environment. The use of water and energy, the waste generated and land disrupted is dramatically less when creating a lab grown diamond simply because it requires far less resources than any given mining operation. According to a 2014 Frost & Sullivan report, "lab grown diamonds are seven times less impactful to the environment than mined diamonds, use significantly less resources and emit a fraction of the air pollution.” (Read the entire study here)
Conflict free. When a diamond is grown in the lab, you can be completely confident in its origin. Since the introduction of the term “blood diamond” and mounting scrutiny the diamond industry has been under, distributors have developed stricter policies and guidelines. However like anything, loopholes exist and there’s still a chance creditable retailers are mistakenly selling conflict diamonds
Expense. Lab grown diamonds tend to be less expensive. When it comes to polishing, cutting and inspecting, the cost of of both lab and natural diamonds are the same. However, getting a mined diamond from raw form to retail ready form requires a long supply chain, increasing their cost.
LAB GROWN DIAMONDS SOUND AMAZING! WHY DOESN’T EVERYONE WANT THEM?
They are amazing! Unfortunately, there is a lot of misinformation and paranoia surrounding them. Some in the industry spread falsehoods like a lab grown diamond being fake or even referring to it as cubic zirconia. Some don’t want to explain to others that their diamond is not naturally grown, because of the misinformation spread. Some simply feel that the romance is lost when a diamond is made in a lab with technology rather than naturally below the Earth’s surface.
ARE LAB GROWN DIAMONDS JUST A TREND?
We sure hope not! In fact, according to a recent article written by diamond trade analyst Paul Zimnisky, 2018 was dominated by the progression of lab-created diamond production. Also in 2018, the heavy-hitter diamond retailer De Beers entered the lab grown diamond game! (Read the entire article here)
We aren't saying that diamonds formed in the Earth's mantle aren't special and unique; we are simply raising the question of whether you think the environmental and social consequences are worth it.
Kimberly Berry Haisch
Founder and CEO of KBH Jewels