Laboratory grown diamonds have been experiencing a boom in popularity recent years. Many people are drawn to lab grown diamonds because they have the same physical and optical properties as mined diamonds, yet they involve no mining. Then, on top of that, lab grown diamonds are generally more affordable than mined diamonds, so lab grown diamonds have a more attractive price tag.
As lab grown diamonds have become more popular, they’ve also become more well known. But since lab grown diamonds are still relatively new, consumers often have questions about lab grown diamonds. One of the most common questions we get about lab grown diamonds is “can you tell the difference between lab grown diamonds and mined diamonds by looking at them?” So, do lab grown diamonds look different from mined diamonds? In this post, we’re answering this FAQ!
Can You Tell the Difference Between Lab Grown Diamonds and Mined Diamonds By Sight?
So, can you tell the difference between lab grown diamonds and mined diamonds just by looking at them? No, not with the naked eye (and not even with a jewelry loupe). Lab grown diamonds have the same chemical, physical, and optical properties as mined diamonds. So lab grown diamonds have the exact same type of beautiful shimmer as mined diamonds (and they’re also just as durable!).
To give you an example of how similar lab grown diamonds and mined diamonds look, let’s take a closer look at a couple of engagement rings. Below, there are two pictures of engagement rings. Both of these beautiful engagement rings feature a round brilliant cut center gemstone. But one of these features a lab grown round brilliant cut diamond and the other features a mined round brilliant cut diamond. Can you guess which has a lab grown diamond? (Don’t scroll too far before making your guess— we’ll reveal the answer at the end of the next paragraph!)
On the top, we have the Aurora Halo Double Band Engagement Ring in yellow gold. On the bottom, we have the Riley Classic Engagement Ring in white gold. At Diamond Wish, both of these engagement rings can be set with either a lab grown diamond or a natural mined diamond. But in this example, the lab grown diamond is in the picture on the right, featured in the Riley Classic Engagement Ring in white gold.
If you couldn’t guess which engagement ring featured a lab grown diamond, don’t worry— you’re not alone! Even expert jewelers can’t tell the difference between lab grown diamonds and naturally mined diamonds by sight. (So if you did guess right, you simply had a lucky guess.)
Wondering why even an expert can’t tell the difference between lab grown diamonds and mined diamonds by looking at them? Lab grown diamonds are created using a process that replicates how mined diamonds form in the earth. The end result is that lab grown diamonds have the same carbon crystal arrangement as mined diamonds, so they look the same (and have the same physical properties) as mined diamonds. It is possible for a gemologist to tell the difference between a lab grown and a mined diamond, but they would need to use specialized testing equipment to do so. So even a gemologist can’t tell the difference between lab grown diamonds and mined diamonds by sight.
It’s important to note that lab grown diamonds aren’t to be confused with diamond simulants, which you can spot just by looking at them (provided you know what to look for). Diamond simulants, such as cubic zirconia and moissanite, may look similar to diamonds, but they don’t share the same properties as diamonds. So, they reflect light differently and they also aren’t as durable as diamonds.
Take for example, the beautiful moissanite engagement ring pictured above. This ring’s 2 carat moissanite is certainly stunning. But it isn’t a diamond. And while it may be hard for most people to tell the difference between a moissanite and a diamond just by looking at it, an expert jeweler could, since moissanite has a different crystal structure that gives it a slightly different type of light reflection. Moissanite will also rank lower on durability than a diamond, since, physically, it’s not quite as hard as a diamond (diamonds are the hardest substance on the planet!). That’s why, though lab grown diamonds and certain diamond simulants may both be made in a lab, lab grown diamonds are considered more valuable than diamond simulants. Lab grown diamonds have the same properties as mined diamonds, while diamond simulants do not, so diamond simulants tend to sell for much less.
Thinking of choosing a lab grown diamond for your jewelry? Shop our full range of beautiful lab grown diamonds!