LAB GROWN DIAMONDS QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
Lab-Grown Diamonds are new to the market so we've put together a list of questions and answers that you might have about these new above ground diamonds.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN TRADITIONAL MINED DIAMONDS AND LAB-GROWN DIAMONDS?
There is only one difference between traditional mined diamonds and lab-grown diamonds: how they are sourced. Mined diamonds are mined from the earth, as the name suggests, while lab-grown diamonds are created above ground in a lab.
Lab-grown diamonds are not fake diamonds or substitutes for the real thing. They are genuine diamonds that are chemically and physically identical to mined diamonds. In fact, because they have the exact same properties and appearance as mined diamonds, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission classified lab-grown diamonds as true diamonds. Lab-grown diamonds also have the bonus of being conflict-free and more environmentally friendly.
WHAT ARE THE SIMILARITIES BETWEEN LAB-GROWN DIAMONDS AND MINDED DIAMONDS?
Almost everything! Lab-grown diamonds and mined diamonds are all real diamonds, with identical physical, chemical and visual characteristics. They are both measured by the 4Cs of cut, color, clarity and carat and classified as true diamonds by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission. The only differences are where they come from, their environmental impact and cost. Lab-grown diamonds are created in a lab, sustainable and generally cost less – so you get a bigger or higher-quality diamond for the same amount of money.
HOW DO YOU CREATE A LAB-GROWN DIAMOND?
Lab-grown diamonds are also called cultured or engineered diamonds. They are grown in highly controlled laboratory environments that mimic the earth’s natural diamond growing conditions using advanced technology.
The labs use carbon seeds, also known as carbon atoms, to grow the diamonds, which are made of the exact same elements that comprise mined diamonds. Both mined and lab-grown diamonds are types of crystallized carbon, and each one forms in a unique way. Since the lab conditions mimic the earth’s mantle, lab-grown diamonds are not mass-produced in perfect symmetry. Rather, they will have a distinctive shape, color and characteristics, just like mined diamonds.
ARE MINED DIAMONDS MORE "NATURAL" BECAUSE THEY COME FROM THE EARTH?
Not necessarily. Mined diamonds have a large environmental impact, especially in the communities where they are sourced, and require resources like water and energy to mine. Problems like deforestation and soil erosion can be traced back to diamond mining. Unethical practices are sometimes associated with diamond mining, too, and fair trade diamonds can be expensive.
Lab-grown diamonds, on the other hand, are a sustainable alternative with minimal environmental impact – just about one-seventh of the impact of mining a diamond. The International Grown Diamond Association also states that they require 85 percent less water to produce.
ARE LAB-GROWN DIAMONDS FAKE?
Nope. Lab-grown diamonds have the same qualities as their mined counterparts – visually, chemically and physically. In fact, some lab-grown diamonds are of even greater quality.
Both lab-grown diamonds and mined diamonds are evaluated with the same 4 Cs: cut, color, clarity and carat. They are certified and graded using the exact same process.
ARE LAB-GROWN DIAMONDS LOWER QUALITY THAN MINED DIAMONDS?
Not at all. Because lab-grown diamonds have the exact same physical, chemical and optical properties as mined diamonds, they are also identical in quality. Both mined and lab-grown diamonds are classified as true diamonds by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission. A high-quality diamond is a high-quality diamond, whether it comes from a lab or the earth. Once they are professionally cut and polished, it is nearly impossible to tell the difference.
DO ALL LAB-GROWN DIAMONDS LOOK THE SAME?
No. Like mined diamonds, every lab-grown diamond is unique. All diamonds are types of crystallized carbon, and will form in a unique way, whether in a lab or under the earth’s crust. Each lab-grown diamond is carefully grown from a carbon seed and will have its own distinctive shape, color and characteristics.
WHAT ABOUT THE COST - DO LAB-GROWN DIAMONDS COST MORE OR LESS?
Lab-grown diamonds are generally less expensive than their traditional mined counterparts – so you can get a higher quality diamond or a larger stone for the same price. The average lab-grown diamond costs about 30 to 40 percent less than a mined diamond. Lab-grown diamonds are true diamonds, so they are not cheap, but a shorter supply chain creates greater value for consumers.
WHAT MAKES LAB-GROWN DIAMONDS MORE SUSTAINABLE?
Mined diamonds must go through six production steps before reaching the jeweler, and many different industries and businesses are involved. It can be hard to trace the environmental impact and practices of all those players. Some experts even believe that diamond mining is unsustainable at its current pace and the earth’s supply is running out.
Because lab-grown diamonds are created above-ground in a controlled environment, they don’t require nearly as much energy, manpower or steps in the supply chain. Mining a diamond uses 85 percent more water and creates a carbon footprint seven times larger than growing one in a lab.
ARE LAB-GROWN DIAMONDS CERTIFIED?
All lab-grown jewelry is certified by International Gemological Laboratories – the same lab that certifies mined diamonds.
International Gemological Laboratories, or IGl, certifies all types of loose diamonds and provides reliable, accurate grading and identification. Certificate numbers are laser inscribed onto the girdle of the diamond (the thin perimeter that divides the crown from the pavilion or the bottom of the diamond). These inscriptions are so small they require magnification to view and cannot be seen with the naked eye.
IGl Laboratory Grown diamond reports provide the same information as IGl mined diamond reports. The reports are colored yellow in order to ensure full transparency with consumers.