Are lab-grown diamonds for real?

‘Eco-friendliness’ and lower costs make them attractive, but consider the facts…

Lab-grown vs. natural diamonds: Which would you choose for that special moment?

Buying a diamond is one of the most important purchases you will ever make. That stone also carries much symbolism and personal commitment. So, when it’s time to pop the question, celebrate your many years together or just say “I love you,” you’ll want a stone that reflects your true feelings—and at a price you’re willing to invest.

People are increasingly putting their trust in lab-grown diamonds. Jewelry industry analyst Paul Zimnisky predicts the lab-grown diamond jewelry market will double in volume, increasing by $15 billion by 2035.

Many environmentally conscious millennials are driving the lab-grown diamond market boom. These younger consumers are making a statement against what they consider to be the questionable acquisition and mining practices associated with natural diamonds and colored stones by choosing lab-grown alternatives. Younger consumers are not easily convinced into buying a natural diamond and to them buying natural diamonds is taboo. Many consider lab-grown diamonds to be more eco-friendly and affordable, yet still meaningful and beautiful.

Is a lab-grown diamond for you? Consider these facts before you decide.

What are the differences?

Down to the molecular and chemical levels, a lab-grown diamond is, remarkably, exactly the same as a natural diamond. No human being can look at a lab-grown stone and know that it is not natural without the help of electronic equipment. Even a microscope or jeweler’s loupe isn’t enough to tell the difference. Structurally speaking, lab-grown diamonds are as hard and scratch-resistant as natural diamonds. Both varieties have the same sparkle, and the same GIA grading system is used for both. The only difference is that it takes millions of years for a natural diamond to grow, and only a few months to create the lab-grown variety.

A natural diamond could cost up to 50% more than the lab-grown version, although that difference can vary greatly depending on many factors, including the cut, color, clarity and size of the diamond. Typically, the larger the stone the lesser the price difference between the two. Clients would have to know exactly what they are looking for in terms of the diamond’s cut, color, clarity and carat weight so they can compare exact figures.

But there are numerous drawbacks to owning a lab-grown diamond, not the least of which is its resale value. The resale of lab-grown diamonds is a question the industry is still trying to figure out. We don’t know how much of a market these lab-grown diamonds have. Are they in demand? If they are, why? Is it because of their price appeal, their ethical process or something else? All these are important questions to have answered before buying back lab-grown stones or stocking them heavily in stores.

Then there are disclosure problems: If a jeweler buys your lab-grown stone and mistakenly sells it as a natural diamond, that diamond is mislabeled. The buyer could then send the diamond to a grading lab, only to find that his “natural” piece is in fact lab-grown. That would be a rude awakening for the buyer, the jeweler and anyone else involved. In this case, one of the best features of lab-grown diamonds (their similarity to natural diamonds) might also be the worst.

And here’s the scoop on “eco-friendliness”: Many believe the manufacturing of lab-grown diamonds leaves a much lighter environmental footprint compared with the mining of natural diamonds. Where this myth originated is unclear but one thing is certain: The facilities that make lab-grown diamonds use vast amounts of energy. Their machines run for weeks or even months at a time, consuming a ton of electricity in the process. We don’t think that’s eco-friendly.

Natural, gem quality diamonds are expensive because they are rare—but that’s what makes them so attractive. “Real is Rare” is the advertising tagline the diamond industry is now using to convince more millennials to purchase natural diamonds. The message: Nothing says true commitment like a genuine, natural diamond. And to be honest, it’s true! Finding a gem-quality diamond and then cutting it to the perfect specifications is difficult, time-consuming and labor intensive; such a rare diamond costs a lot of money up front! But in the end, you have a rare, authentic and precious heirloom that is uniquely yours formed by mother earth herself.

Lab-grown diamonds are still a relatively new product, and laws and regulations governing their sale are still in the works. If you wish to learn more about lab-grown diamond options, please contact us online anytime by emailing us directly at repairs@braunschweiger.com or simply fill out our contact form and we’ll answer your questions quickly, the experts at Braunschweiger Jewelers are more than happy to review them with you. Come into our store and see one of our experts today!