Lab grown diamonds
are all the rage!
& here's everything you need to know about them
What are lab grown diamonds?
Lab grown diamonds, also known as cultured diamonds, feature the same properties as natural diamonds and are graded on the same standards of quality and color. They are chemically identical to naturals while being a much more affordable option.
The only noticeable difference between synthetic diamonds and natural ones is their origin: one was formed deep within the Earth, the other was grown in a lab.
Our lab grown diamonds display the same physical, chemical, and optical characteristics as natural diamonds, and exhibit the same fire, scintillation, and sparkle.
You can learn more about these characteristics in our blog about the 4C's of diamonds
The difference between lab and natural is essentially one of value; natural diamonds are available in limited quantities, making them expensive and giving them an advantageous long-term resale value, whereas laboratory diamonds are available in unlimited quantities and are therefore offered at significantly lower prices than natural diamonds.
Lab diamonds take between six and ten weeks to develop compared to 1 to 3 million years for natural diamonds.
Benefits of Lab Grown Diamonds
Quality & Beauty
Lab grown diamonds have the same physical, chemical, and optical properties as mined diamonds.
Lab diamonds are grown with precise technology that doesn't involve mining.
Lab grown diamonds offer excellent value.
You can therefore maximize your budget.
How are Lab Grown Diamonds made?
Cultured diamonds are created from tiny carbon seeds of pre-existing diamonds.
Scientists use two advanced technologies: either extreme pressure and heat, or a process known as chemical vapor deposition (CVD), which mimic natural diamond formation. Over the course of six to ten weeks, a rough diamond is formed. Then it’s cut, polished, and set in stunning jewelry!
More details about these two main methods for creating lab grown diamonds:
1. HPHT (High Pressure High Temperature): This method imitates the conditions under which natural diamonds are formed inside the earth. To produce the cultured diamond, a big machine is fed a certain amount of carbon material that is then crushed under pressures of more than 850,000 lbs per square inch at extreme temperatures ranging from 1300 to 1600 degrees Celsius.
2. CVD (Chemical Vapor Deposition): CVD is when a diamond seed is placed in a small vacuum chamber filled with heated hydrogen and carbon-containing gasses. At a precise temperature, the gas molecules are broken down and layers of crystallized carbon begin to form around the seed, growing a bigger diamond. Some of the gems created through CVD may also undergo pressure and heat treatment after they are grown.
The difference between natural diamonds, lab diamonds grown via HPHT, and lab diamonds grown via CVD is impossible to see with the naked eye; only scientists can distinguish the differences by analyzing markers caused by the growth conditions.
Are lab grown diamonds really a better choice than natural diamonds?
Today, a laboratory diamond is significantly more environmentally friendly than a natural diamond.
It is known and documented that the creation of laboratory diamonds requires large quantities of energy and electricity, and that these can in many cases be comparable to the quantities of energy required to extract a diamond from the ground.
That said, research and development in the field of laboratory diamond manufacturing continues to evolve, and yields are constantly improving, while the mining of natural diamonds retains its environmental impact, which is why we conclude that laboratory diamonds are more environmentally friendly than natural diamonds.
Laboratory diamonds are man-made in high-tech plants, which offers a certain guarantee as to the conditions of the workers involved in the diamond's creation.
In the case of natural diamonds, extraction is carried out by large mining groups that are highly controlled nowadays and go to notorious lengths to maintain an impeccable reputation, at least in terms of respect for their workers, so it's unlikely that the diamond you're looking at in Western jewelry stores has been sold to finance a conflict.
In our opinion, the choice between a natural or lab diamond should not be made on the basis of ethics, as this is a vague notion often brandished by brands to look good, while it is generally quite difficult to know in which precise factory a synthetic diamond has grown (most of these are located in Asia), or precisely where natural diamonds come from, unless you have bought them directly from a mine and have cut them or had them cut. It is therefore equally difficult to know the real impact of these mines or factories on local populations.
Natural Canadian diamonds, on the other hand, are identified by certificates and by laser engravings made inside the stone (a polar bear engraving that can be observed under a microscope). So if the stone's provenance is vital to you, a natural Canadian diamond could be the best choice. About 90% of the natural diamonds used in our collections and in our designers' collections are Canadian.
Lab Grown Diamonds
vs. Moissanites vs. Cubic Zirconia
There's a major distinction between lab grown diamonds and diamond simulants like Moissanite and Cubic Zirconia: lab diamonds are created from carbon, like real diamonds, while diamond simulants are not created with true carbon crystals.
- Moissanite: It comes from meteorites. While natural moissanite does occur, it is very rare. For this reason, moissanite that you can purchase is often also lab created. Though they can look very similar to a diamond, they normally feature more of a rainbow glint than the bright sparkle of a real diamond.
- Cubic Zirconia (CZ): While it has a certain amount of durability and sparkle, it does not match the brilliance of diamonds and will show some wear and tear over time.
Simulants don't have the same chemical and physical properties as diamonds and therefore sell at much lower prices. These stones can be distinguished from natural or lab created diamonds using only the naked eye.
Diamonds (natural or lab grown) have thermal conductivity properties that differentiate them from CZ, but some cultured diamonds, along with some natural colored diamonds, may be mistakenly identified as moissanites when using certain diamond testers. This mistake is due to similarity in their electrical conductivity. However, gemologists can distinguish between diamond and moissanite due to their differing refractive properties: moissanites are double refractive while diamonds are single refractive.
Salt & Pepper Diamond
Four types of diamonds can be used in jewelry:
White diamonds | Colored diamonds | Salt & Pepper diamonds | Black diamonds
WHITE DIAMONDS are the most widely used in jewelry.
The relevance of a white diamond lies in the absence of color, which gives it a brilliant white color, and the absence of inclusions, which are small foreign bodies in the gem that can be seen by the naked eye and block the diffusion of light in the diamond, and therefore its brilliance.
To learn more about diamond specifications and quality, please consult our blog post about the 4C.
COLORED DIAMONDS Having a slight yellow tint on a diamond devalues its price, but when the color becomes more pronounced, it regains its value.
To classify a diamond's color, we need to determine its hue and color saturation:
- The hue is the color itself. Natural red and blue diamonds are exceptionally rare, pink, orange, green and violet diamonds are highly prized on the market, and yellow and brown diamonds are the most accessible colored natural diamonds.
- Saturation: this is the "density" of the color. Low saturation means the color is light, medium density means the color is well-balanced and visible, and high saturation means the stone tends toward black and the color is more of a glow. Medium-density gems are the most prized.
SALT & PEPPER DIAMONDS These are diamonds of category I3 and above, with so many inclusions that they become aesthetically pleasing and are prized as such. The appeal of these diamonds lies in their aesthetic energy and the distribution of inclusions, which gives these gems a unique dimension. The brilliance of these stones, which comes from the white glow of light on the stone's surface, is powerful and similar to all diamonds.
BLACK DIAMONDS These are diamonds with a very high concentration of inclusions, which give them a deep, opaque black color, but retaining a powerful sparkle (coming from the reflection of white light on the stone).
You'll find white lab grown diamonds
and colored lab grown diamonds.
Lab grown diamonds are created under controlled conditions. They still present imperfections for various reasons, but not to the point of being salt & pepper or black.
Lab Grown Diamonds FAQs
Is a lab grown diamond a real diamond?
Lab grown diamonds are diamonds, just like natural ones. The primary difference lies in their origin: lab created diamonds are grown in controlled environments, while natural diamonds form in the Earth's mantle. They are chemically, physically, and optically identical, with the same hardness, brilliance, and fire.
Is there any difference between a lab grown diamond and a synthetic diamond?
No. Both terms are used interchangeably by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA).
Is there a way to know if a diamond is lab grown?
Not with the naked eye. However, gemologists can identify cultured diamonds through various methods. Majority of lab grown diamonds exhibit certain features or "fingerprints" that differ from natural diamonds. One common technique to identify them is to look at the fluorescence patterns using specialized equipment like spectroscopy. Furthermore, some lab grown diamonds may have tiny inclusions or growth patterns that are not typical in natural diamonds, providing more clues to their origin.
Are lab diamonds flawless?
Like natural diamonds, lab diamonds can have various clarity grades, from flawless (no inclusions visible under 10x magnification) to included (inclusions visible to the naked eye). The presence of inclusions or imperfections can affect the clarity of a cultured diamond, just like with natural ones. Higher quality lab grown diamonds with fewer inclusions are generally more valuable and sought after.
If lab diamonds are created in a lab, why aren't they all perfect?
While synthetic diamonds are created under controlled conditions, it's important to keep in mind that they still can have imperfections. Just like natural diamonds, lab diamonds can show variations in color, clarity, and other characteristics. Factors such as the specific growth method, the quality of the seed crystal, and environmental conditions during the growth can all influence the final appearance of the cultivated diamond. As with any gemstone, selecting a lab grown diamond of superior quality will cost more, but it will result in a jewel of great value and beauty.
Are lab grown diamonds a good investment?
Most people purchase a lab grown diamond as a symbol of love and commitment, not as an investment. Since the technology required to create a lab grown diamond is still relatively new, they are not expected to appreciate over time.
How much laboratory diamonds cost?
The cost of cultured diamonds varies depending on factors such as size and quality, but lab grown diamonds are priced less than natural diamonds of comparable quality.
Why are they more affordable than natural diamonds?
Because of their production process and of the increase in demand.
While natural diamonds have taken millions of years to form within the Earth's crust, lab grown diamonds are created in a controlled environment using advanced technology that reproduces the natural diamond-growing process.
This process continues to improve as demand grows, resulting in lower production costs and, subsequently, a more affordable price for consumers.
Are lab grown diamonds durable?
Like natural diamonds, cultured diamonds are extremely durable and can last indefinitely with proper care. They are composed of carbon atoms arranged in a crystal lattice, making them resistant to wear and scratches. Lab grown diamonds will maintain their sparkle and appearance for generations, as long as they are well-maintained and properly cared for.
Are lab grown diamond just a passing fad?
We doubt that. Lab-grown diamonds are democratizing access to diamonds. They are becoming more popular due to their affordability, quality, and advancements in technology making them more and more ecologically sustainable. We're witnessing a real change in the diamond industry. While natural diamonds remain valuable, the rising popularity of lab-grown diamonds reflects a growing interest in sustainable and accessible options among consumers that we don't expect to weaken in the long term.