There’s been a lot of talk and hype when it comes to diamonds about how they’re made, both positive and negative. With the growing interest in lab grown diamonds, we here at Made You Look thought we’d take a look at the difference between lab grown and natural diamonds, how they’re similar, the advantages of both, and how to figure out which one is best suited for you.
There are a lot of different terminologies used when talking about jewelry and diamonds in particular, which can be overwhelming to some who don’t live and breathe jewelry as we do. As a trusted jewelry store in Toronto, we want our customers to be fully informed and empowered so they can make the best choice possible for their own needs. With that, let’s look at natural diamond vs lab diamond.
The way these diamonds are formed is the most significant difference between the two types of diamonds. Natural diamonds are formed in nature, and lab grown diamonds are grown in a lab. Natural diamonds are formed through very high temperatures and pressures in the Earth’s mantle and make their way to the surface by deep-source volcanic eruptions.
Lab grown diamonds are also made using extreme heat and pressure, except this is done in a lab environment in a matter of weeks rather than in nature in billions of years. Both have the same physical and chemical properties, and the United States Federal Trade Commission classifies both as “real” diamonds.
Lab grown diamonds go by many names, including artificial, man-made or synthetic. These names can cause confusion when differentiating between lab grown diamonds and diamond simulants, like cubic zirconia and moissanite. These simulants appear similar to diamonds but are not composed of carbon atoms and do not have the same chemical and physical properties as diamonds. Simulants have a noticeable dropoff in quality and don’t carry the same sparkle and brilliance as real diamonds have.
If you are shopping for wedding rings in Canada and someone were to put a lab grown diamond and a natural diamond in front of you and told you to guess which one was which using only your eyes, you would not notice a difference. Even professional gemologists can’t distinguish between the two without using specialized equipment. Professionals can use magnifying equipment to see tiny contrasts in the inclusions of the diamond to distinguish between lab grown and natural diamonds.
In a jewelry store, you will only be able to tell the difference based on the certification of the diamond, as jewelers have to declare whether a diamond is lab grown or naturally made. This is one reason why it’s so important to shop from reputable stores.
The most significant difference you’re likely to notice is in lab diamonds vs real diamonds cost. Natural diamond supply is limited by nature and what is mined, so the cost is correspondingly higher. With lab grown diamonds, there’s no ceiling on how many diamonds can be grown in labs. As supply increases, prices drop.
More than that, when it comes to natural diamond vs lab diamond, the prices of natural diamonds are relatively steady, but the prices of lab grown diamonds tend to fluctuate widely. When lab grown first came into the mainstream and began appearing on the market, they were actually more expensive than natural, but prices crashed as supply increased.
If you’re planning to wear your diamond forever, the resale value might not seem important, and it certainly shouldn’t be the determining factor, but it is important to note that lab grown diamond prices are falling rapidly, and the resale value of lab grown diamonds is anything but steady, so its something to keep in mind when looking at diamonds.
Lab grown diamonds are widely seen as a more ethical, humanitarian and sustainable choice, which is a huge selling factor, but there’s little evidence to support this idea. While lab grown diamonds aren’t mined like natural diamonds, they require large amounts of energy to manufacture. Ultimately, there isn’t a lot of comparable data between natural and lab grown diamonds to accurately determine their carbon footprints, which means that claims that they are a more environmentally friendly or sustainable option can’t be backed up with facts.
While natural diamonds developed a bad name in the late 1990s when the link between diamonds and conflicts in Africa was made, it forced countries to come up with a plan to stop the trade in blood diamonds and ensure diamonds being sold in shops to customers weren’t contributing to violence. There are far more regulatory bodies for diamonds than for coloured gemstones.
For example, all diamonds sourced at Made You Look are in accordance with the Kimberley Process, an international certification system in place since 2003 that tracks a diamond from mine to market.
Another option is choosing a Canadian diamond, as these are regulated by Natural Resource Canada’s Green Mining Initiative. The initiative regulates greener mining practices. This also means that Canadian diamonds are more expensive because of market demand and higher wages for miners.
You may have read all of the above information and are now asking which one’s the right choice? When selecting an engagement ring, should I go with lab grown diamonds vs real diamonds? At Made You Look, we don’t believe there’s a ‘right choice’ or that you ‘should choose’ a ring because of external factors. Both are legitimate options, and as long as you’re buying your ring from a reputable source, the only thing that should matter is that you love it. Factor in the importance of rarity, cost, and value and decide which one is best for you. The choice is yours!
If you have any questions or wish to further discuss natural and lab grown diamonds, feel free to visit us at our shop. We love talking about everything to do with jewelry, from restoration and engraving jewelry to how to find the best stone for you.