What are Lab-Grown Diamonds?

Lab-grown diamonds, also known as lab-created diamonds, man-made diamonds, or synthetic diamonds, are diamonds that are manufactured in a laboratory. Lab-grown diamonds have the same chemical, optical and physical properties as natural diamonds. 

A lab-grown diamond is a diamond, just like those mined from the earth.

Both lab-grown and natural diamonds consist entirely of carbon and possess the unique characteristics that make each stone one-of-a-kind. Lab-grown diamonds, as the name suggests, are grown in controlled laboratory environments, developing different colours and inclusions akin to their naturally occurring counterparts.

At Valentina Fine Jewellery we understand that each client has a unique set of priorities, whether motivated by sustainability or budget, we pride ourselves on being able to offer both options to tailor the experience to our client.


Understanding the Distinctions Natural vs Lab Grown

The primary considerations between the two lie in their pricing dynamics. Mined diamonds not only come with a higher price tag but can retain some value over time. Formed deep within the Earth's crust under intense heat and pressure over millions of years, natural diamonds are revered for their rarity and exclusivity, contributing to their elevated market value.

The relatively new market for lab-grown diamonds translates to more fluctuating price points, consistently offering a more affordable alternative without compromising on brilliance.


How Lab Grown Diamonds Are Made

Lab diamonds are made in laboratory using the most advanced technologies that replicate the growing conditions of natural mined diamonds produced by the earth.

Lab grown diamonds have the same optical and chemical properties as mined diamonds and importantly - their sparkle is the exact same. The only difference between lab grown and natural diamonds is their origin, and the price. 

Although the first lab-grown diamonds emerged in the 1950s, it took several decades of experimentation to achieve the quality that rivals naturally mined gemstones. The two most common methods of growing a diamond in a lab today – Chemical Vapour Deposition (CVD) and High Pressure High Temperature (HPHT).

CVD lab grown diamond rough, engagement rings Hong Kong

CVD Lab Grown Diamond Rough

Both methods produce beautiful diamonds that easily rival natural mined diamonds in all of the Four C categories. Without specialised equipment, you cannot tell the difference between lab-grown and natural diamonds.

The final product undergoes the same meticulous cutting, polishing and grading processes as their natural counterparts.


Do Lab Grown Diamonds Test as Real Diamonds?

Yes, lab grown diamonds will test positive on a diamond tester. Although grown by scientists in a lab instead of in the earth's crust, lab diamonds are absolutely real diamonds, they are not Moissanite or diamond stimulants. 

Expert gemologists cannot tell the difference between lab grown and natural diamonds with the naked eye. A lab diamond can only be distinguished from mined diamonds using specialised equipment that can detect the minor differences in trace elements and crystal growth.


Ethical Considerations

The conventional diamond mining industry has a history marred by controversies, including civil conflicts and human rights violations. Initiatives like the Kimberley Process, established in 2003, aim to eliminate the trade of conflict diamonds, which are used to fund rebel warfare. 

Still, to this day, the term blood diamond is present in consumer's minds given the history. Diamonds mined during the civil wars before the Kimberley Process in Angola, Ivory Coast, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Guinea, and Guinea-Bissau have been given the label.


Lower Environmental Impact

On an annual basis, more than 150 million carats of diamonds are extracted from the earth through mining. Whilst we absolutely love natural mined diamonds, we are acutely aware that excessive diamond mining has had devastating effects by leaving behind enormous craters.

Digging creates huge gaps in the earth’s surface, many of these diamond mines generate pollution that contaminates the nearby soil or bodies of water. Jwaneng mine in Botswana, Africa - crater below shows the size and the impact of natural diamond mining. 

Jwaneng - natural diamond mining environmental impact vs lab grown diamonds, diamond engagement rings

Lab grown diamonds require a lot of electricity to grow, they are not entirely green either, however they are much more environmentally friendly than their natural counterparts. On average, lab grown diamonds produce less air pollution than mined diamonds. 

Producing diamonds in a lab is far less damaging to wildlife, ecosystems and the human population than mined diamonds. 


Lab Grown Diamond Misconceptions

1. Natural diamonds appreciate in value and lab grown diamonds drop in value.

VFJ: Lab grown diamonds of high quality are a relatively new creation. The process of creating larger higher quality diamonds is still being perfected. Yes, the industry has seen price correction recently where the wholesale price of lab grown diamonds has come down. There are also retailer who still to this day do not pass the savings onto their clients, including James Allen and Blue Nile.

Most diamonds cannot recoup their store purchase value, natural or otherwise and only the rare colour diamonds have increased in value - for example Argyle pink diamonds. 

2. Lab grown diamonds are not real diamonds.

VFJ: Lab grown diamonds are chemically, visually and physically are identical to natural earth mined diamonds. They are real diamonds.

3. Lab grown diamonds do not sparkle as much as natural diamonds.

VFJ: Untrue, both owe their sparkle to the cut and quality, and not how they were created. Both lab grown and natural of equal grading sparkle the same.

4. Lab grown diamonds are bad for the environment.

VFJ: Untrue, whilst lab grown diamonds do use a lot of energy to grow, they do not destroy natural habitats or create giant craters. Most lab grown diamond manufacturers ensure sustainability, follow responsible practices for waste management and work on reducing their carbon footprint. 

5. Lab grown diamonds are graded differently.

VFJ: Both natural and lab grown diamonds are graded the same way by GIA, the only difference is the GIA report for lab grown diamonds is online only, whist natural diamonds still use paper reports.


Lab Grown Diamond Engagement Rings

At Valentina Fine Jewellery, both our mined and lab-grown diamonds are ethically sourced and conflict-free. The choice of natural or lab grown is entirely yours.

Shop our diamond engagement rings here - every style can be created with a natural or a lab grown diamond of your choice, or fill out our short questionnaire to design your own bespoke diamond ring. 

Back to blog