Mined vs Lab Diamonds
Mined vs lab diamonds, what’s better? There has always been a lot of debate regarding what a lab-grown diamond is and if it’s actually a “real” diamond. The good news is, you’ll find out all you need to know right here.
Of course, it’s all about personal preference but there are a few facts that will help you decide which piece of diamond jewellery is for you.
★ The difference between lab diamonds and real diamonds
★ Mined vs lab diamonds: Where diamonds come from
★ Can you tell natural and man-made diamonds apart?
★ Are lab-grown diamonds certified?
★ Why man-made diamonds are the ethical choice
What's The Difference Between Lab Diamonds And Real Diamonds?
The main difference between lab-grown diamonds and real diamonds is the fact that lab-created diamonds are grown in a laboratory. Visually, there is no difference between mined vs lab diamonds. They are practically identical.
Natural diamonds are, of course, created deep within the earth and have been for centuries while lab diamonds replicate the same chemical and optical properties. Even some gemologists find it difficult to tell the difference between the two.
The great thing about lab diamonds is that they are also available in a variety of shapes and colours. Many consumers are also choosing lab-grown diamonds today because there’s much less environmental impact in the way they’re sourced.
★ What Is A Man Made Diamond?
Mined vs lab diamonds: Where Do Diamonds Come From?
Natural diamonds, which have to be mined, are formed deep below the earth's surface with extreme heat and pressure for billions of years. Over time, volcanic activity brings diamonds closer to the surface and they are eventually mined.
Man-made diamonds, which are created in a lab, were originally introduced in the 1950s with the first gem-quality laboratory diamond produced in 1971. However, they were not embraced by jewellers until 2010.
Today, lab-grown diamonds are grown by two methods. High-pressure, high-temperature diamond (HPHT) growth was developed back in 1955. It allows scientists to control the growth of diamond parameters using a high-pressure reactor chamber. It is designed to replicate the conditions of natural diamond growth. Within the earth, diamonds generally form at pressures somewhere between 55,000–80,000 atmospheres with temperatures of 1000–1400°C.
The second method called chemical vapour deposition (CVD) involves breaking down molecules of various carbon-rich gases found in natural diamonds and depositing them into a diamond seed to replicate its formula.
Typically, both of these methods take less than a month for most sizes of diamonds. The end result is the stunning lab-grown diamond earrings, lab-grown diamond rings, lab-grown diamond necklaces and lab-grown diamond pendants that you can find in our collection.
Can You Tell Natural And Laboratory-Grown Diamonds Apart?
To the naked eye, it is impossible to distinguish between mined vs lab diamonds. However, to protect the integrity of the diamond industry, educational institutions around the world provide programs that teach diamond grading techniques to distinguish natural diamonds from their laboratory-grown counterparts.
The only reliable method to tell the two apart is to use sophisticated devices to examine a diamond's geological makeup. Ideally, man-made diamonds will clearly be labelled as laboratory-grown, as they are at Shiels, so you won’t have to worry about telling them apart when jewellery shopping.
These synthetic diamonds are 30 to 40 per cent cheaper than natural diamonds. For the diamond industry, this is great. However, there has been some discontent from jewellers themselves. At Shiels, we have embraced man-made diamonds. As Albert Bensimon explained on the Jewellers Podcast, lower-priced diamonds can still bring a great amount of excitement.
''I think that with some jewellers that only sell certain qualities don't realise that if somebody buys a one-carat ring, they might still get the same excitement as someone who has bought a $20,000 ring,'' he explained.
''There shouldn't be a prejudice that you won't sell certain quality. It doesn't matter about the price, you can identify if it's well-cut, or if it's got good colour.
''When you see the joy of someone buying a $3,999 ring and the excitement on their face, you will sometimes get people who are more excited than a person who has paid 20 grand.''
Are Lab-Grown Diamonds Certified?
Lab-grown diamonds go through the same process as regular diamonds when it comes to certification. They are graded using the cut, clarity, colour and carat system used by jewellers all around the world. This is called the Four Cs grading system.
A diamond’s colour is one of the important factors in determining its value. The size of a diamond can also dramatically affect the value of the stone and the diamond jewellery in which it's used. The cut is a style or design guide used when shaping a diamond for polishing and doesn't actually refer to the shape. Lastly, the presence of imperfections, or a stone's clarity, is a large component of assessing the value of diamonds. The better clarity, the greater rarity.
Of course, there is no way to guarantee a perfect diamond. Even with laboratory-grown diamonds, there are imperfections. Every diamond is different and they all come with their own imperfections depending on their grading. To find the right diamond for you, we recommend checking out our Diamond Types Guide.
It is also important to note that although cubic zirconia jewellery is often confused with lab-grown diamonds, they are not similar in any way. Cubic zirconia has zero carbon and is much weaker than a lab or formed in the earth diamond.
Learn more about the Four Cs of diamonds in our Diamond Buyers Guide.
Why Are Man-Made Diamonds The Ethical Choice?
Lab-created diamond jewellery is the ethical choice because the earth was not disrupted to source the diamond. It was grown in a laboratory featuring the same chemical and physical properties as mined diamonds.
The mining of diamonds has always been a controversial topic. Africa has long suffered from the consequences of diamond mining. Residents living near diamond fields have suffered forced labour, torture, and other abuses. This has caused a huge strain on the diamond industry worldwide. Customers buy diamonds as a symbol of love, not violence.
In just the past two decades, seven African countries have endured brutal civil conflicts fueled by diamonds. These diamonds have become commonly known as ‘conflict’ or ‘blood’ diamonds. Despite most of these conflicts ending, human rights issues still remain. Millions of people are still dealing with the consequences of past wars.
Consumers are demanding that their diamonds are untouched by bloodshed and human rights abuse. And this is where laboratory-grown diamonds come into play. The great thing about lab-grown diamonds is they are completely ethical and they come in a variety of colours. We know that finding a piece of jewellery can be daunting, but don’t worry, we are here to help. Check out our lab-created yellow diamond rings, white gold lab-created diamond rings and rose gold lab-created diamond rings to find the perfect piece for your collection.
More About Lab-Grown Diamonds:
★ What Is A Lab Grown Diamond?
★ How Are Man Made Diamonds Created?
★ Do Lab Grown Diamonds Last?
★ Diamond Simulant vs Lab Created
★ Is A Lab Created Diamond A Real Diamond?
★ Are Lab Created Diamonds A Good Investment?