The time’s come to cement your relationship with your soulmate. Are those wedding bells we hear? Let us pull you out of your blissful reverie – first, you must ask the big question!
Diamonds have been used to adorn engagement rings for centuries now. As rare and valuable gems, they are the perfect way to express how much you care for your other half. In addition, they are durable and resilient, just as your relationship should be. Not to mention they are beautiful, too.
Odds are you’ve had your eyes on the perfect piece for a while now – and then, you found out the gem is lab-grown. Is this a reason for concern? Read on to find out.
What are diamonds?
Despite the tremendous value of these gems, the material they’re made from is not rare at all. They’re composed of almost pure carbon; trace amounts of other elements might enter during the formation. It can be said they are no different from the graphite found in your pencil in terms of composition.
To find the difference between the two, you must look closer. And by closer, we mean all the way down to the molecular level. The carbon atoms in graphite are loosely bonded together, reflecting their brittle and soft quality. On the other hand, diamonds feature many carbon atoms compressed into a tiny amount of space. Thus, they are sturdy and durable.
If graphite is just a diamond in the rough, why are these gems considered so valuable? Great heat and pressure are required to create such a compact crystalline structure. Thus, they are formed only deep within the Earth over many billion years. It is only thanks to volcanic activity that some of them get to see the light of day. Even that is only after they are mined from kimberlite pipes, a formation of volcanic rock.
Of course, only a small fraction can be accessed thanks to volcanic eruptions. Many more lie within Earth’s crust, but our current technology doesn’t allow such deep digging.
Why are diamonds so expensive (when they’re not rare)?
A diamond’s value is determined by its rarity. Small chunks of hideously colored rocks are not that expensive. Most of the mined diamonds are like this. Since they are unfit to be made into jewelry, at least their durability is put to use. They are used to make tools and equipment.
Giant, pristine gems pellucid as a mountain stream are much harder to find. It is only natural that they will be sold for more – the higher the demand, the higher the price.
Believe it or not, their price covers a kind of labor cost. Mining them takes a lot of resources, but they must be cut and processed into the brilliant gemstones you find in the shop. Of course, the time and energy that goes into this preparation will reflect their price.
You might notice that famous retailers might sell diamond jewelry at offensively exorbitant prices. Rather than reflecting on the quality of the gem itself, the high price has more to do with the brand. Brand products are always more expensive, even if you can find items of just as good quality elsewhere. Alas, such are the ways of marketing.
What are lab-grown diamonds?
All the way back in the 1950s, these valuable gems were produced synthetically. However, it was only in the last decade that these man-made diamonds entered the market.
As far as the creation methods are concerned, there are currently two widely used.
The first method mimics the natural way these minerals are formed. Therefore, it relies on simulating both high pressure and high-temperature conditions. It is sometimes known as the HTHP method, taking the initial letters from the principle on which it operates.
The second method is called chemical vapor deposition or CVD. It deconstructs a carbon-rich gas into the individual atom it is composed of. The carbon atoms then settle on a diamond seed and crystalize into a square-shaped gem.
Whichever method is used, it takes only about a month before this coveted gem is formed. That is quite the speed compared to the eons it takes in nature.
Difference between lab-grown and natural diamonds
At first glance, there is no difference between a natural and manufactured diamond. Even upon closer inspection, they appear identical. After all, they are both made from carbon. The only way to tell them apart is by using highly specialized gemologist equipment. This device costs over 5,000 dollars and is of little use in telling whether a diamond is natural or man-made.
There are some differences, however.
As mentioned before, it takes billions of years to compress carbon-rich minerals into a priceless gemstone.
On the contrary, it takes only a month to grow them synthetically.
Natural diamonds are rarer to come by since there is a finite number of them worldwide. They are brought to the surface only near volcanic vents, so they are much more difficult to get to.
Man-made diamonds have become ubiquitous over the last years, and there are as many of them as production allows. Of course, no mining is necessary since they can be picked up conveniently once grown.
Since natural gems are rarer, they are also much costlier. Manufactured diamonds are generally 30% cheaper. The price difference is directly proportional to their weight. Heavier gems mined naturally might be up to 6 times more expensive.
Ethical and environmental concerns
The great value of these gems might be considered a double-edged sword. Thanks to the exorbitant prices, they have been sold by third-world countries in the past and used to finance wars and other political conflicts. These are often called blood diamonds. Though you are unlikely to purchase gems mined in a war zone, they are sometimes sold on the black market illegally.
Reaching them is also no small feat. Lots of surfaces must be ravaged to expose them, which might damage the local ecosystem.
Man-made diamonds are free of these concerns since they are all grown in designated labs.
Are lab-grown diamonds real?
Despite their different prices, lab-grown diamonds are just as real as natural ones. Even a professional can’t tell the difference between the two.
The reason why natural ones are more expensive is just because of their higher rarity. However, this is nothing more than a fad. Indeed, such trends have been all the rage in the past. Everything has to be natural to have value.
Consider bio groceries. Occasionally, you might see the retailer pour bananas onto the fruit counter. Then, they move to the bio department and place the remainder there. You pay more for the same products just because of the label. While not every store might be like that, you have no guarantee that you’re paying for what you actually want.
Since only state-of-the-art technology can tell apart a natural gem from a manufactured one, you might be scammed.
Even if you do not, your other half has no way of confirming whether it indeed is natural or not. What’s the point of spending so much money when there is a cheaper alternative just as good?
Beautiful lab-grown options
If our words fail to sway you, we don’t blame you. Anyone can claim something is true when it isn’t. Let us show you just how dazzling these gems can look even if grown artificially to alleviate your doubts.
New World Diamonds 14k White Gold Lab-Created Blue Diamond Wedding Ring Band
Do you want to shine bright like a diamond? Well, with these shining wedding bands, you will. Inlaid with eleven of these precious gems, you are bound to enchant everyone who lays their eyes on them. It comes in both pink and blue to suit your color palette. The only thing that you might frown upon is the price. While $750 might seem like a lot, it’s a great value.
La Joya 1/2 CT TW Certified Lab Created Diamond Bands for Women – Solid 10k White Gold Diamond Wedding Rings.
If you seek a low-budget option, then these quality wedding rings are for you. Aside from being inlaid with numerous diamonds, it features one yellow sapphire said to bring good fortune.
Though smaller than the ring above, it costs only $175. Almost everyone can afford that!
Kobelli Moissanite and Lab Grown Diamond Engagement Ring 1 3/4 CTW 14k White Gold
Maybe you have yet to drop on your knees and ask your chosen one for their hand in marriage. This might be the right engagement ring to go for. In addition to the big central gem, many smaller ones are inlaid around it. Elegant in its simplicity, we do not doubt that your partner will love it.
If you find the price of $769 daunting, check out our more economical choice below.
Here’s the good thing. You can order it from Kobelli and look at it in the mirror. If you don’t like it, send it back.
925 Sterling Silver Lab Grown Diamond and Forever Classic Round Created Moissanite from Charles & Colvard Women Engagement Ring
Who could say no if tempted by this beautiful engagement ring? Not only is the price of $130 a marvelous deal, but the gemstones also look magnificent. Like most engagement rings, this one also comes in a box of your choice. Go and enact the proposal scene from your favorite movie with this beautiful ring!
As you can see, synthetic options are just as eye-catching as natural ones. No matter which one you choose, we are sure you’ll be beautiful like a diamond in the sky.
Lab diamonds vs. real diamonds cost
The difference between the price of a natural diamond and that of a lab-grown out is abyssal. This disparity grows with the increasing weight of the gem. For instance, a mined gem weighing one carat would cost about $6,500. A gem of the same wait grown synthetically would cost about $3,200. That’s about half the price, right?
Should the crystal weigh 5 carats, the price would be $180,000 for a natural one and a mere $32,000 for its synthetic counterpart. That’s about five times cheaper! It’s rather shocking, isn’t it?
You can expect the price of synthetics to decrease as times go on. That’s how it goes in marketing. Consider the TV as an example. Originally, only the wealthiest could afford it. But as the manufacturing technology improved, more sets could be produced, and the prices began dropping. The same holds for these gems.
On the contrary, natural gems will grow in value. This is because they will grow rarer as the man-made ones flood the market. However, there is little point in spending great money on these. Most of them are sought out by collectors anyway. As far as jewelry is concerned, it makes no difference whatsoever.
Are lab-created diamonds worth anything?
When it comes to their basic monetary value, they are still quite expensive. The jewelry made from these synthetic gems tends to cost hundreds of dollars. Compared to natural ones, this is considered a good price.
We have some bad news for our black widows who inherited diamond rings from each of their deceased husbands (no questions asked). There is very little resale value in synthetics since they are so easy to produce. Moreover, you can expect their price to drop further in the future. On the other hand, natural gems will grow in value over time.
If you wish to be economical, go for the lab-grown ones. They are cheaper by 30% while being just as real. In addition to being an eco-friendly option, they are also completely ethical.
You can go for the natural version if you are a rich collector of precious items. Just know that no one will know the difference anyway, not even you.
Lab-grown gems are the better option, leaving a smaller dent in your wallet. They are just as real as any naturally mined mineral. They are just easier to obtain. The prejudice against them stems from the growing trend that everything must be real and natural to have value. At the end of the day, how do you even know a natural diamond is truly natural?
Both types are clear, shiny gems composed of carbon. Both are sturdy and resilient. You can’t tell them apart unless you have a high-tech $5,500 screening device at home.
No, jewelers cannot tell the difference. Since they use a magnifying glass and a microscope, there is no way they could ever tell the two apart. The difference is visible only at the molecular level. However, only gemologists use the expensive devices required to access this view.
There is no downside whatsoever between a natural and manufactured diamond. They are made of the same material and look exactly the same. Man-made ones are cheaper because they are so easy to create. The higher value of the natural counterpart of these gems stems from silly trends. Yes, a natural diamond is rarer, but what’s the point if no one can tell the difference? Who’s to say that a natural diamond you bought is truly natural?
They can even be put on nose rings!
To sum up, diamonds are minerals born from deep beneath the Earth’s surface. Over countless millennia, the tremendous heat and pressure will shape carbon into this coveted gem. Thanks to modern technology, it is possible to grow them in laboratories. As these synthetics are made more available, the prices of jewelry pieces decorated with these coveted gems decrease. Despite what you might hear, they are just as real as those mined naturally. The hype for naturally mined minerals is nothing more than a marketing strategy. They are the more ethical and eco-friendly choice.