After opening my new shop in Chicago’s Roscoe Village in the fall of 2019, I have received many requests and lots of enthusiasm for lab-grown diamonds, especially for engagement rings and stud style earrings.
I have to say I have been most impressed with these diamonds and I am pleased to offer both lab-grown and mined diamonds in the shop. If you've been wondering if a lab-grown diamond is right for you, here's some information to help you think it through.
The first thing most consumers ask about lab-grown diamonds is “are lab-grown diamonds real diamonds?” And the answer is yes, they are. In fact, in July of 2018, the Federal Trade Commission ruled that lab-grown diamonds could be referred to as natural diamonds, because their chemical composition is exactly the chemical composition of a diamond that is mined from the earth. In fact, you cannot tell the difference between a lab-grown diamond and a mined diamond just by looking at it. Both are 100% crystallized carbon.
Even the most sophisticated diamond expert could only guess if she was looking at a lab-grown or mined diamond. The reality is, diamond experts know that nearly all mined diamonds have little flaws, and in comparison, a lab-grown diamond looks a little too perfect, comparable to the highest priced mined diamonds. But that would still be just a guess - even that expert would not be able to confirm if it was lab-grown or mined without using a very sophisticated piece of testing equipment. So yes, lab-grown diamonds are real diamonds, and there is no way to discern the difference using the naked eye.
One of the main reasons people gravitate to lab-grown diamonds is that they are more affordable than mined diamonds. You'll find that lab-grown prices are anywhere from 15% to 40% lower than the price of a mined diamond with the same characteristics. So if you're looking for a very big diamond look, but you want to keep your budget under control, a lab-grown diamond can be a good choice.
Another question people ask is if a lab-grown diamond will hold its value as well as a mined diamond. We think this question (and the argument around it among some mined diamond purists) is something of a red herring. In fact, we would never advise a person to buy any diamond – mined or lab-grown – based on an expectation of investment value.
Diamonds have gone up and down in price over time, and they have never proven to be a meaningful financial instrument. They're good at holding value, but they're not necessarily something that will increase in value, so you should never buy a diamond based on the idea that it will be worth more in the future. Of course, most diamonds increase in emotional value over time, and diamond jewelry is a wonderful thing to pass on to future generations. But a lab-grown diamond can hold emotion just as well as a mined diamond can.
Some people are interested in lab-grown diamonds because they are uncomfortable with the social or environmental impacts of mining. If you have those concerns, but still want a diamond, then lab-grown could be a good option for you. It is worthwhile to remember that lab-grown diamonds can consume a lot of energy to produce, so they are not entirely without impact, but they do not require digging or blasting holes in the ground. Many manufacturers are looking at ways to source energy with hydroelectric means or carbon off-set programs. I expect this will evolve over time as the industry grows. This will be something I watch closely.
Just like mined diamonds, lab-grown diamonds are beautiful. Nobody will know just by looking at your jewelry if it's lab-grown or mined, you can get a bigger look for a lower price with a lab-grown, and lab-grown has a much smaller ecological impact than mined diamonds. All good reasons to include lab-grown diamonds for your next jewelry purchase!
Hopefully this information helps you feel more informed about the topic of lab-grown diamonds. And as always, if you have questions – just ask! That’s what I’m here for.