A diamond purchase is an important event in a person’s life. Although you want to get a good deal, don’t be tempted to buy lower quality lab-grown diamonds. When it comes to buying a diamond engagement ring, you want the best quality money can buy. Find out all about diamond quality between natural diamonds and lab-grown diamonds below.
Lab-grown diamonds are often referred to as “fake diamonds” or simulants, but they are not. Cubic Zirconia and Moissanite are known as simulants because although they look like diamonds, they have a different chemical makeup. Lab-grown diamonds are physically and chemically the same as diamonds, just undergoing a different process.
We think you should have all the information you need to make an informed decision when it comes to buying the diamond for your engagement ring. So we’ll look at the differences and the similarities for both naturally-formed diamonds and lab-grown diamonds, as well as Cubic Zirconia and Moissanite. After reading this, you will have the peace of mind that your diamond engagement ring will last a lifetime.
A diamond goes through a process of heat and intense pressure to form the sparkling, brilliant diamond you see today. It grows in the earth several thousand feet down in the earth’s core where the heat and pressure compress the carbon fibers into a hardened crystal capable of cutting anything.
According to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC), which develops trading guides for the gem and jewelry industry, a diamond is a mineral consisting of “essentially pure carbon crystallized in the isometric cubic system.”
Laboratory-grown diamonds entered the jewellery market about five years ago. They’re identical in appearance to organic diamonds, they have very subtle differences that can only be detected by trained gemologists with the use of sophisticated diagnostic equipment.
A diamond is the toughest, most stable natural form of genuine carbon. Organic diamonds form when genuine carbon undergoes very high temperatures and pressure over a number of years within Earth’s mantle. It only forms where the conditions are just right, in the ground 80 to 120 miles down, and around 2, 200 degrees Fahrenheit. Then, after a long time of violent scenic eruptions, diamonds surge to the surface inserted in large chunks of rock capital to be mined and collected.
Not all organic and natural diamonds are created equal. Variations in color, clarity, and size, are caused by conditions that influence a diamond as it forms (trace minerals). For instance, yellow diamonds get their brilliant yellow hue from trace amounts of nitrogen mixed within the carbon construction.
Lab-created diamonds are produced in highly-controlled lab conditions that recreate the Earth’s natural growing environment: heat and intense pressure.
Man-made diamonds aren’t technically “synthetic diamonds” since their chemical composition is that of naturally occurring diamonds; and they usually display the same fire, scintillation, and sparkle as organic diamond jewelry.
These lab-grown diamonds are similar in structure, composition, and physical properties as diamonds grown in the earth.
Even though they are made of the same material, no two diamonds are exactly alike. This applies to lab-grown diamonds and natural mined diamonds. There are no real obvious differences between the two visually, they look the same as other diamonds. Literally, the only difference between lab-grown and earth-grown diamonds is where they come from.
Every diamond, lab-created or organic, has inclusions that affect their clarity. All diamonds that are assessed are given a clarity grade to be certified. A certified diamond ensures the owner that this is an ethically sourced diamond and of good quality.
Diamond Colors (Lab-grown and Organic)
Different types of minerals in the carbon cause different colors and saturation levels; the most common diamonds are the classic “white”, with rare diamonds in pink, yellow, and vivid blue.
Lab-grown diamonds are typically found with color grades ranging from D to K and in colors of white, pink, yellow, blue, and green. Organic diamonds can have a number of color hues, and differing ranges of tonality and saturation. Color comes from nitrogen molecules that were trapped inside the diamond as it grows.
How Long Does It Take For a Diamond To “Grow”?
Comparing lab-grown versus nature-grown diamonds, it’s amazing when you look at the differences in time spent “growing” diamonds. The aspect of diamonds that make them valuable is the time it takes to produce one. Its history (where it came from, who owned it before, and how long it has been around) is factored into the value a diamond has.
Lab-grown diamonds are different though. They can take approximately 6 to 10 weeks to develop in a laboratory. With these diamonds, the time it takes to create a lab-grown diamond depends on its size.
Diamonds start out miles and miles below the earth’s surface and years and years of volcanic eruption and movement slowly bring them to the surface where they are mined today. These diamonds that are appearing were actually formed 1 – 3 billion years before, that is how old they actually are. So it takes between 1 and 3 billion years to “grow” an organic diamond. This is what makes them valuable and the symbolism of something aged and long-lasting is why people choose them for their wedding rings or engagement rings.
Lab-created diamonds cost 30% less than natural diamonds of the same size and quality. That’s not all that surprising, considering that a lot more work and natural resources go into delivering that organic diamond (time, pressure, and manpower) while the lab-created one takes a lot less to create. It may be less expensive but you’ll never get back what you put into it for resale.
The biggest difference between a lab-grown diamond and an organic diamond is that the lab-grown versions have little resale value. Organic diamonds typically retain their value and will still look as bright and brilliant 50 years from now.
Natural diamonds start to depreciate the minute you walk out of the jewellers. Their natural resale value is between 30-50 percent of the purchase price, so a lab-grown diamond’s resale value is pretty much next to nothing. Jewelers do not purchase synthetic diamonds, so you won’t make anything trying to sell your stone (lab-grown) later.
Although lab-grown diamonds are popular with some people, they are not the best investment for an engagement ring. For that, you want the best diamond you can find that is ethically-sourced and conflict-free. Your relationship is built on longevity and durability, so your diamond should last a lifetime so you can pass it on to future generations to continue the family name.
Buying a diamond is a once-in-a-lifetime purchase. You put hours of research into finding the right style, color, and shape for the ring because you want your partner to enjoy it all of their life. This is an important decision and you shouldn’t cut corners by buying a cheaper diamond.
One reason we recommend a natural diamond over a synthetic one is the resale value. As anniversaries come around, many couples decide to upgrade to a newer, bigger ring with more diamonds to celebrate the years of marriage. Another reason is the high-divorce rate in this country. Although it is not something you want to think about, it should be considered as a possibility and planned for.
You really, really don’t need to save two months’ salary for an engagement ring. Only spend what you can afford and don’t go into debt. That’s not a good way to start a new life together. At Iyli Paroi, we understand you have a budget and will help you choose the perfect diamond.
In our opinion, nothing comes close to a diamond cradled by mother nature. Its value reflects the years of struggle to grow and rise to the top where it is collected and refined for a beautiful diamond ring. A lab-grown diamond just really doesn’t compare to one grown over billions of years. They have natural inclusions from the earth’s crushing pressure that lab-grown versions don’t have.
If you can’t afford the diamond you want, then you might want to consider holding off on the proposal until you have a bit more money saved or find alternative ways to get the ring you want. You could also look at alternatives to diamond engagement rings. Your jeweller at iyli Paroi can offer helpful suggestions to help you find something that you like that fits your budget.
At Iyli Paroi, we don’t believe that the diamond buying experience should be complicated. It should be one of the most enjoyable purchases you will make in your lifetime.