The old saying is that diamonds are a girl’s best friend and when Marilyn Monroe sang those famous lyrics all those years ago, she was talking about natural diamonds!
Of course, there's a thrill and excitement in the prospect of owning real diamond jewelry, but with the world population as a whole becoming more ethically and environmentally aware all the time, millions of people are starting to question the diamond mining industry and its actions and impacts on the Earth.
Although not intended as a green solution when invented, lab-created diamonds are a fantastic alternative to naturally mined diamonds. There are very genuine reasons why synthetic diamonds are a real threat to the natural diamond industry and why people are increasingly seeing lab stones as an excellent choice.
This is hugely evident in the way that the range of diamond engagement rings has proliferated greatly in recent years. Engagement rings have historically been the most popular piece of jewelry to contain traditional diamonds and now, when you walk into a jewelry store, you'll likely see as many pieces of lab-grown diamond jewelry as pieces containing mined stones. Man-made diamonds are increasingly popular among Millenials.
Here are five reasons why you should consider lab diamonds.
What Are Lab-Grown Diamonds?
Laboratory-grown diamonds are the result of an industrial process. There are two common methods both of which mirror the intense pressure and heat that create natural diamonds deep in the Earth's crust.
Chemical Vapor Deposition Process
Developed originally in the 1980s, the CVD process begins with a diamond seed in a vacuum-sealed chamber filled with carbon-rich gases. The internal chamber is heated to around 1500°Farenheit which turns the gases into plasma. This causes the discharge of carbon atoms which cling to the seed, forming layers until a diamond is formed.
High-Pressure High-Temperature Method
This process developed in the 1950s also begins with a diamond seed. The seed is placed in a specially designed press/growth chamber along with a high-purity carbon source. The chamber is treated to pressure above 870,000 per square inch and heated to temperatures of 1300-1600 °C. Atoms are released from the carbon which settles on the seed, growing into a synthetic diamond.
The CVD method uses smaller equipment and less pressure than HPHT but both methods produce equally high-quality stones. Trace elements can be added in both methods to produce colored diamonds.
This brings us to the first reason for choosing a lab-grown diamond.
Lab Grown Diamonds are Real Diamonds
Lab-grown diamonds are not fake diamonds. They are not simulants like cubic zirconium or substitutes like moissanite.
Laboratory-grown diamonds have the same chemical, physical and optical properties as naturally formed diamonds. The only thing that differentiates the two is the process of carbon attachment has been accelerated in a lab versus natural time in the ground. Lab-grown stones have just been made in a controlled scientific environment at a much quicker rate.
Natural and lab-grown diamonds are both certified by the Gemological Institute of America. The GIA does not use the term synthetic stones and has been issuing reports for certified lab-grown diamonds since 2007.
Both mined diamonds and laboratory-grown diamonds are assessed on the 4Cs by the GIA - carat, cut, color, and clarity. So, when choosing a diamond, it is easy to compare like-like without any prejudice to either type.
Some would say that for lab-grown diamonds, IGI (International Gemological Institute) certification is a better option because they offer a more thorough grading for lab stones but the real point is that if you are buying any diamond, it should have proven authenticity.
Mostly, it is impossible to tell the difference between lab-grown and natural diamonds. Even the most experienced diamond experts and jewelry appraisers need special equipment to be sure.
You Get More For Your Money
For many, the major attraction of man-made diamonds is the price differential. Quite simply, lab-grown stones are far cheaper dollar for dollar. If you take two stones of comparable carat weight, clarity, and color, the price for the lab-grown diamond will be between 40 and 60 percent lower than the natural diamond.
The bigger the lab stone, the more money you are going to save against the cost of a natural gemstone. Once you get to the larger stones, the extravagant 4 and 5-carat sizes, the price difference can be up to tens of thousands of dollars.
Quite simply, this is because the process of creating a lab diamond is more efficient and cost-effective than the process to mine a diamond.
You may wonder why given the efficiency of a laboratory process that produces zero waste and no faulty products is not even cheaper. Although lab diamonds are much less expensive than mined diamonds. they are still diamonds. A diamond is a diamond! To produce a perfect diamond that is beautiful and scintillating requires highly specialized equipment and that takes resources that cost money.
How lab diamond prices will change in the future is uncertain. The value gap between natural diamonds and lab diamonds could close or widen. At present though, when you resell either a certified lab-grown or natural diamond, you are likely to receive 30 to 40 percent less than the price you paid.
They Are Eco-Friendly
As stunning as natural diamonds are, the truth is that diamond mines cause incredible harm to the environment. To find them, you have to dig deep down into the earth with heavy machinery and explosives that do nothing but disturb the environment and habitats, and pollute the surrounding water.
Reportedly, roughly 1750 tons of earth has to be dug out to elicit just one single diamond of 1.0 ct. Some diamond mining companies do try to repair the damage of diamond searches by filling in pits that have been mined out but the area never returns to its natural state. Much of the diamond industry is unencumbered by regulations that demand reparation to the environment.
Lab-created diamonds are produced in safe environments in labs without damage to the Earth. They are highly regulated and are far more efficient at using resources. Labs are also able to respond quickly to technological changes that improve the use of natural resources. For example, they might choose to use sustainable energy in the manufacturing process.
Just some other data to think about if you are still undecided about whether lab-created diamonds are an eco-friendly option:
Land resource: 5,798 pounds of mineral waste and 100 square feet of land are disturbed for every carat mined. For lab-grown diamonds, just 0.07 square feet of land is disrupted and only a single pound of mineral waste is produced.
Energy use: Mined diamonds use up 538.5 million joules per carat. In comparison, lab-grown diamonds use 250 million joules per carat. Much of the energy used in diamond labs is also renewable.
Water use: Synthetics take just 18 gallons of water per carat to produce. In contrast, mined diamonds require 126 gallons per carat. There can also be a huge amount of wastewater in mining operations.
Carbon emissions: Man-made diamonds release less than 5 percent carbon of mined diamonds. Just 6 pounds of carbon compared to 125 pounds.
The environmental impact of a lab-created diamond is absolutely minute compared to the practices of natural mining, which makes them the only logical choice for sustainability and guilt-free jewelry shopping.
They Are Conflict Free
It is something that is always there under the surface, but many people actively try to ignore the illegal and unethical practices that are factors in natural diamond mining. From child labor to human rights violations to work-related accidents to health risks to peripheral bloodshed, the business of diamond mining has a long history of controversy and conflict that has seen some countries’ stones labeled as blood diamonds.
The unfortunate truth is that diamond mining is a business that exploits the poor, with statistics of 1 serious injury per 1000 workers each year. Mines are very vulnerable to collapse, and workers are also at risk of things like cancer, hearing loss, and lung disease.
Lab-grown diamonds, on the other hand, risk zero injuries, initiate zero wars and exploit zero workers. When looking at it this way, the decision is a simple one!
Just As Beautiful With Equal Quality
The facts are that lab-grown diamonds can offer you everything that you are looking for in terms of the 4Cs, that is cut, clarity, color, and carat.
The process for lab-grown diamonds is also able to produce diamonds with fewer flaws and there is less wastage when the grown stone is cut and polished.
Lab-grown diamonds are also able to satisfy the demand for different shapes and colors without having to sacrifice fast fashion.
When you get to oversee the diamond growing process from the very start, you stand a better chance of receiving a stone that is precisely up to your chosen standards without having to worry about where it has come from and what has been undertaken to get it.
If you are looking for a trusted retailer for a lab-grown diamond engagement ring, then look no further than Diamond And Design. We produce jewelry featuring eco-friendly lab-grown diamonds that pack just as much of a sparkling punch as any diamond that can be mined from the earth!