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Explore what a lab grown diamond is, how they are made, if they are different to a natural diamond and what is the price difference between a lab grown and natural diamond. Here our experts answer your questions.

What is a lab grown diamond?

A lab grown diamond, also known as a man made diamond or a cultured diamond, is a diamond created in a laboratory setting instead of being formed naturally over millions of years in the Earth's crust. Lab grown diamonds possess the same chemical composition and crystal structure as natural diamonds, which is pure carbon arranged in a lattice structure. They exhibit the same optical and physical properties as natural diamonds, including their brilliance, hardness, and durability.

How are Lab grown diamonds created?

Lab diamonds are created through two primary methods: High-pressure, high-temperature (HPHT) and chemical vapor deposition (CVD). In the HPHT method, a small diamond seed is placed in a chamber and subjected to intense heat and pressure to mimic the conditions under which natural diamonds form. Carbon atoms are then deposited onto the seed, allowing the diamond to grow layer by layer over time. In the CVD method, a hydrocarbon gas is introduced into a chamber along with a diamond seed, and using a combination of heat and plasma, the carbon atoms are deposited onto the seed, resulting in diamond growth.

Are lab grown diamonds real diamonds?

Yes, lab grown diamonds are indeed real diamonds. They possess the same chemical composition, crystal structure, optical properties, and physical characteristics as diamonds that are formed naturally in the Earth's crust. The main distinction is that lab grown diamonds are created in a controlled laboratory environment, replicating the natural processes that occur over millions of years. The result is a genuine diamond that is indistinguishable from a natural diamond in terms of its properties.
It is impossible to tell a lab grown and natural diamond of the same quality apart either by the naked eye or under magnification they will also both test the same on a diamond tester. It takes specialist equipment to be able to determine whether a diamond is lab grown or natural.

What is the difference between a natural and lab grown diamond?

Lab grown diamonds and natural diamonds share many similarities, but there are a few key differences between the two:
Origin: Natural diamonds are formed deep within the Earth's crust under high pressure and temperature conditions over millions of years. Lab grown diamonds, on the other hand, are created in a controlled laboratory environment using high-pressure, high-temperature (HPHT) or chemical vapor deposition (CVD) methods.
Formation Time: Natural diamonds require millions of years to form, while lab grown diamonds can be produced in a matter of weeks or months, depending on the size and quality desired.
Availability: Natural diamonds are finite resources and are mined from the Earth. The supply of natural diamonds is limited and subject to the availability of diamond deposits. Lab grown diamonds, however, can be produced on-demand, providing a more consistent and readily available supply.
Size and Colour: Lab grown diamonds can be created in larger sizes more readily than natural diamonds, as the growth conditions can be controlled in the laboratory. Additionally, lab grown diamonds may exhibit different colour distributions compared to natural diamonds due to variations in the growth process.
Inclusions and Clarity: Lab grown diamonds often have fewer inclusions (internal flaws) than natural diamonds, as they can be grown in a controlled environment. However, it's worth noting that both natural and lab grown diamonds can vary in terms of clarity, and both can have diamonds with high clarity grades.
It's important to note that in terms of their physical and chemical properties, lab grown diamonds and natural diamonds are virtually identical. Both types of diamonds have the same hardness, brilliance, fire, and durability. Lab grown diamonds are considered genuine diamonds and are recognized as such by Gemological organizations and industry standards.

What are the advantages of buying a lab grown diamond?

Lab grown diamonds offer several advantages over natural diamonds. Firstly, they are generally more affordable, often priced 60-90% lower than natural diamonds of comparable quality. Secondly, they are considered to be more environmentally friendly since they do not require extensive mining operations. Additionally, lab diamonds are free from the ethical concerns associated with the diamond industry, such as labour practices and the financing of conflicts (commonly known as blood diamonds or conflict diamonds).
It's important to note that lab diamonds are not "fake" or imitation diamonds. They are genuine diamonds, but they are created through a controlled laboratory process rather than being mined from the Earth. Lab diamonds have gained popularity in recent years as an ethical and sustainable alternative to natural diamonds.

Are lab grown diamonds graded in the same way as natural diamonds?

Lab grown diamonds are graded using the same criteria as natural diamonds, by using the 4 c’s:
Carat Weight: Lab grown diamonds are weighed in the same manner as natural diamonds to determine their carat weight.
Colour: Lab grown diamonds are evaluated for colour using a similar grading scale as natural diamonds.
Clarity: Lab grown diamonds are assessed for clarity using the same criteria as natural diamonds. The clarity grade is determined based on the presence of internal and external flaws, known as inclusions and blemishes.
Cut: Lab grown diamonds are evaluated based on their cut quality, including proportions, symmetry, and polish. The same standards used for natural diamonds apply to lab grown diamonds in terms of grading the cut.
Whereas the GIA is seen as the authority in grading natural diamonds currently the IGI is seen as the authority is grading lab grown diamonds.
All lab grown diamonds graded by the IGI will have a laser inscription of its certificate number in the girdle.

Are lab grown diamonds sustainable?

Lab grown diamonds are generally considered more sustainable than natural diamonds due to several factors:

Reduced Environmental Impact: 

Lab grown diamonds have a lower environmental footprint compared to natural diamonds. Mining natural diamonds involves extensive land excavation, habitat disruption, energy-intensive processes, and water usage. In contrast, lab grown diamonds can be produced with less land disturbance, reduced energy consumption, and minimal water requirements. While there are still energy and resource inputs involved in creating lab grown diamonds, advancements in production techniques and renewable energy sources can further enhance their sustainability.

Minimized Carbon Footprint: 

The carbon emissions associated with lab grown diamond production are generally lower compared to the carbon emissions resulting from mining and transporting natural diamonds. Lab grown diamonds can be manufactured using renewable energy sources, such as solar or wind power, further reducing their carbon footprint.
Responsible Resource Management: Lab grown diamonds avoid the need for extracting finite natural resources from the Earth. Natural diamond mining requires significant energy, water, and fossil fuel consumption, which can contribute to environmental degradation and depletion of resources. By opting for lab grown diamonds, consumers support responsible resource management and reduce the demand for new mining operations.

Circular Economy Potential: 

Lab grown diamonds have the potential to be part of a circular economy. They can be recycled and repurposed, reducing waste and extending the life cycle of the diamonds. This aligns with sustainability principles by minimizing the need for new raw materials and reducing environmental impact.

While lab grown diamonds offer sustainability advantages, it's important to note that there are still areas for improvement. The energy sources used in their production, the disposal of waste materials, and the overall lifecycle analysis are aspects that need continued attention to further enhance their sustainability credentials.
Ultimately, choosing lab-grown diamonds over natural diamonds can be a sustainable choice for consumers seeking an ethically and environmentally responsible alternative.

Why choose lab grown diamonds?

There are several reasons why individuals choose lab grown diamonds:

Ethical Considerations: 

Lab grown diamonds are produced without the ethical concerns associated with some aspects of natural diamond mining. They are free from issues such as human rights abuses, child labour, and conflict financing, providing consumers with peace of mind that their purchase supports responsible and ethical practices.

Environmental Sustainability: 

Lab grown diamonds have a smaller environmental footprint compared to natural diamonds. They require fewer land resources, reduce habitat disruption, consume less energy, and have minimal water requirements. Choosing lab grown diamonds aligns with sustainability goals and contributes to a more eco-friendly approach to fine jewellery.

Price and Affordability:

Lab grown diamonds are typically more affordable than their natural counterparts. On average, lab grown diamonds are priced around 40-70% lower than natural diamonds of comparable quality. This affordability allows consumers to obtain larger or higher-quality diamonds within their budget.

Quality and Consistency: 

Lab grown diamonds offer consistent quality. They are created in a controlled laboratory environment, which allows for precise control over the growth process. As a result, lab grown diamonds often have fewer inclusions, offer more consistent colour grades, and exhibit excellent optical properties. This predictability and quality control can be appealing to those seeking diamonds with specific characteristics.

Innovative and Unique Jewellery: 

Lab grown diamonds provide designers and consumers with unique opportunities for creativity. The controlled growth process allows for the production of fancy coloured diamonds that may be rarer or more costly in the natural diamond market. Lab grown diamonds also enable the exploration of unconventional shapes, sizes, and designs that may be challenging to find or create with natural diamonds.

Transparency and Traceability: 

Lab grown diamonds offer enhanced transparency and traceability. Through various certification and grading processes, consumers can have detailed information about the origin and production of the diamonds. This transparency allows buyers to make informed choices and supports their desire for ethical and sustainable products.
It's important to note that choosing lab grown diamonds is a personal preference, and individual priorities may vary. Some people may still prefer natural diamonds for their rarity, traditional appeal, or sentimental value. Ultimately, the choice between lab grown diamonds and natural diamonds depends on factors such as personal values, budget, and the desired characteristics of the diamond.

What is the difference in cost between a lab grown and natural diamond?

As with natural diamonds the price of a lab grown diamond is determined by the 4c’s, cut, colour, clarity and carat. However due to the way lab grown diamonds are produced they range between 60-90% cheaper than a natural diamond.
Here we compare the same quality diamond in both natural and lab grown
Round F Colour VVS2 clarity Excellent cut: