The Ultimate Guide To Lab Grown Diamonds
Lab grown diamonds. They catch your eye with their sparkle, and have been a symbol of love for centuries. And now, the same diamond that was once only available mined from deep within the earth, can now be created above ground!
Lab grown diamonds, according to the Federal Trade Commission, are exactly the same optically, chemically and physically, as diamonds mined from the earth. They are literally the exact same. So why are they suddenly becoming so popular?
Well, because they cost 30-50% less than mined diamonds, to start. And add on the fact that they are sustainable, or eco-friendly, and conflict-free. Lab grown diamonds are definitely becoming a main stream choice, especially among the millennial customers.
Here’s a guide to all you need to know about these new diamonds.
How much are lab grown diamonds?
Because lab grown diamonds are made, well, in a laboratory, the cost to manufacture them verses mining them is much less, resulting in a lower cost per carat.
An active diamond mine in South Africa.
There’s no need to buy permits, set up expensive digging equipment and camps, and then, perhaps pay tariffs to import the mined diamonds into a country. Those things add up!
They also take less resources to manufacture – there’s no soil to move, and less water is used in the process (18 gallons a carat for lab grown diamonds instead of 127 gallons of water for mined diamonds). That certainly impacts the cost!
In general, lab grown diamonds are 30-50% less than mined diamonds, depending upon the shape and carat weight of the gemstone.
Are lab grown diamonds real diamonds?
As Forbes Magazine recently reported, “A diamond is a diamond no matter whether it is grown in a lab or comes out of the ground.”
A piece of lab grown diamond rough crystal.
Both types of diamonds are carbon crystalized in the isometric system with a hardness of 10 on the mohs scale, with a specific gravity of 3.52 and a refractive index of 2.42. They are exactly the same chemically.
In fact, it takes very expensive and sophisticated equipment to tell the difference between them. In general, lab grown diamonds over .25 ct are laboratory graded and laser inscribed with the certification number.
Are lab grown diamonds worth it?
Lab grown diamonds cost less than mined diamonds because of the way they are made. Since they are sustainably grown above earth and leave a significantly smaller carbon footprint, compared to mined diamonds, they are not only ethical, but use less resources, so the price is lower per carat than mined diamonds.
Both types of diamonds are 99.95% carbon – the .05% is made up of trace minerals or impurities. Because diamonds grown in a lab are made in a controlled environment, these impurities have less impact on the diamond’s appearance, so they look like the best mined diamonds, yet cost 30-50% less.
A near perfect mined diamond.
Very high quality diamonds (like the famous Elizabeth Taylor diamond known as “The Krupp Diamond” – a 33.19 carat beauty) are called Type IIa diamonds. Extremely rare in nature, Type IIa diamonds account for less than 2% of the world’s mined diamonds. They are gorgeous because they are almost or entirely devoid of impurities, making them the purest form of diamond. Most of the lab grown diamonds that Scott’s Custom Jewelers sell are these amazing Type IIa diamonds!
What are lab grown diamonds called?
First, let’s start by telling you what they are not called!
- Cubic Zirconia, a man-made white stone commonly used in fashion jewelry
- Simulated diamonds
The Federal Trade Commission requires that all lab grown diamonds be advertised as such, so there is no confusion between them and mined diamonds.
How are lab grown diamonds made?
The process of making a diamond in a lab is so cool! The pods look like something out of a Sci/Fi movie.
Lab grown diamond crystals are made in pods. The rough crystals are then cut exactly the same as mined diamonds.
- First, a high quality, lab grown diamond seed is placed in a Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD) chamber, or greenhouse.
- Then, hydrogen is pumped into the chamber and ignited. Methane, which is the source of carbon for diamonds, is introduced, and the diamond is left to grow, layer by layer, for about 12 weeks.
- After growing, the rough diamond crystal is ready to be cut. Here’s where the skill of the diamond cutter comes into play. Using techniques that have been around for generations, expert diamond cutters cut, facet and polish the gemstones.
A gorgeous lab grown diamond, cut into a marquise shape and set in a custom band.
Lab grown diamonds are definitely here to stay. They offer an affordable, sustainable option to celebrate life’s big moments like engagements, weddings, anniversaries and babies. For more information, call our Columbus store at 614 336-4111, or stop by at Scott’s Custom Jewelers 6365 Perimeter Drive, Dublin, OH 43016 and see the for yourself!
Interested in learning more about lab grown diamonds and how they are the most sustainable (and stunning) option for your jewelry? Download the whitepaper!