When you shop for a diamond, you have options. Of course, diamonds come in numerous different shapes, carat weights, clarity gradings, colors, and cut gradings. But, in the modern era, there’s another big option you need to consider before purchasing a diamond: do you want a natural diamond or a lab grown diamond?
Lab grown diamonds (also called lab created diamonds) are becoming incredibly popular and are, therefore, much more widely available. So when you shop for a diamond, you’ll see that many stores now carry lab grown diamonds. But what exactly is a lab grown diamond? And what’s the difference between lab created diamonds vs. genuine diamonds? In this post, we’re breaking down the differences between these two types of diamonds to help you decide which may be right for you.
What is a Lab Grown Diamond?
First, let’s talk about what a lab grown diamond is. A lab grown diamond is a real diamond that has been made in a lab by scientists. Lab grown diamonds have the exact same chemical composition as diamonds that grow in the earth. They also look exactly the same as natural diamonds and are equally as beautiful. The only difference between lab grown diamonds and natural diamonds is how they are made. Lab grown diamonds are made in a carefully controlled lab environment, while natural diamonds form naturally in the earth’s crust over billions of years.
This rose gold and moissanite engagement ring shows an example of a diamond simulant.
It’s important to note that lab grown diamonds are real diamonds and that they shouldn’t be confused with diamond simulants. Diamond simulants are materials that look like diamonds but are not diamonds. Some examples include cubic zirconia, rhinestone, and moissanite (a gemstone that looks remarkably like, but is not, a diamond).
Comparing Lab Grown Diamonds vs. Natural Diamonds
While both lab grown diamonds and natural diamonds are real diamonds, they do have some differences that can affect which you prefer. At Diamond Wish, we believe that both lab grown diamonds and natural diamonds are excellent options for your diamond jewelry. But to help you understand why some people prefer one type of diamond over the other, let’s take a closer look at how these types of diamonds compare in five categories: price, investment value, environmental impact, color variety, and sentimental value.
Lab Grown Diamonds vs. Natural Diamonds: Price
Lab grown diamonds are usually priced around 30% to 40% less than natural diamonds that have the same carat weight and qualities. So in terms of upfront cost, lab grown diamonds are a better value than natural diamonds. Choosing a lab grown diamond can be a great way to spend less on your diamond jewelry. Or, alternatively, going with a lab grown diamond over a natural diamond can help you buy a larger, higher quality diamond while still staying within your budget.
Lab Grown Diamonds vs. Natural Diamonds: Investment Value
While lab grown diamonds have a lower upfront cost, some people have concerns about how lab grown diamonds will hold their value over time. We know from long-term market trends that natural diamonds tend to hold their value fairly well over time. And if a diamond is particularly rare in quality, it will usually go up in value over time, making it a good investment. But lab grown diamonds are fairly new, so we simply don’t know how their value may change over time.
Investment value is usually not a concern for those who are buying a diamond just to enjoy wearing it in jewelry. However, if you’re a collector who is concerned about long-term investment value, you may want to consider how time (and changing market trends) may affect the value of lab grown diamonds.
Lab Grown Diamonds vs. Natural Diamonds: Environmental Impact
Many people are concerned about the environmental impact of mining diamonds. And environmental impact is often the determining factor that causes an individual to choose a lab grown diamond over a natural diamond. Mining anything, including diamonds, will always have an impact on a region’s environment. And while many modern diamond miners go to great lengths to ensure that their mining practices minimize environmental impact, there is always some environmental impact when a diamond is mined. Lab grown diamonds, on the other hand, have a much more minimal impact on the environment. While it does take some energy to create a lab grown diamond, making a diamond in a lab doesn’t disturb soil or release higher carbon emissions, like mining a diamond does.
Lab Grown Diamonds vs. Natural Diamonds: Color Variety
Lab grown diamonds can currently be made in five colors: white, yellow, blue, pink, and green. Natural diamonds, on the other hand, come in white, black, brown, and in every color of the rainbow. Then, each color of natural diamond can be found in a vast array of different saturations.
Most people are looking for white diamonds for their diamond jewelry. And if that’s the case for you, you’ll find that there are many beautiful white diamonds to choose from in both the lab created and natural categories. However, if you’re on the hunt for a particular hue of colored diamond, you may find that you simply can’t find a lab grown diamond with the exact color you’re looking for.
Lab Grown Diamonds vs. Natural Diamonds: Sentimental Value
Sentimental value is incredibly subjective. But it is important to mention that many people believe that natural diamonds have more sentimental value, simply due to how they are formed. Natural diamonds are formed in the earth over billions of years. And many people find that the history attached to a natural diamond’s formation gives it more meaning, especially for pieces like engagement rings, which are meant to symbolize eternity. The sentiment associated with natural diamonds is often the main reason people prefer natural diamonds over lab grown diamonds.
Final Thoughts on Lab Created vs. Genuine Diamonds
At the end of the day, whether you prefer lab created vs. genuine diamonds is highly personal. Both of these types of diamonds are real and beautiful. When you choose between these two types of diamonds, we recommend simply listening to your heart and selecting the diamond that feels right for you.