Brides in 2023 will have a big decision to make when it comes to their engagement ring centre stone: Lab-grown or mined?
The two options have become increasingly competitive in the last few years as lab-grown diamonds become increasingly popular. Our lab-grown and mined diamond experts here at Gear jewellers will help you understand the critical differences between these options and put these two head to head so that you can make the best choice for you and your loved ones.
The main difference between lab-grown and natural diamonds is how they are created. Lab-grown diamonds are created in a controlled environment, while natural diamonds are formed by geological processes over millions of years. Therefore, it is a question of choice as to which one is best for you.
So we can understand a little more when putting these two types of diamond head to head, let's start with a brief explanation of each type.
What is a lab-grown diamond?
A Lab-Grown or cultivated diamond is created in a laboratory. They are also known as man-made, synthetic or cultured diamonds. They are physically and chemically identical to mined diamonds.
According to De Beers, Lab-grown diamonds are:
“made using advanced technological processes that mimic the conditions under which natural diamonds are formed.”
The result is a chemically and physically identical stone to a mined diamond but with a few key differences. This type of diamond is created using one of two processes, High-Pressure High Temperature (HPHT) or Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD). HPHT is the most common method used, but CVD is gaining popularity.
What is a natural or mined diamond?
Mined diamonds are created millions of years deep within the Earth's crust. They are formed when carbon-rich materials are subjected to extreme heat and pressure.
Once they are mined, diamonds must be cut and polished to bring out their natural beauty. These precious gems are brought to the surface by volcanic eruptions and extracted through mining.
The process of bringing a beautiful sparkling diamond to your engagement ring includes finding the right location, tunnelling into the Earth, extracting the rough diamond ore, and then transporting it to a processing plant.
Which should I choose? Lab-grown or mined diamonds?
Mined diamonds have been the only choice for centuries, but lab-grown diamonds are becoming an increasingly popular option. Lab-grown diamonds offer many benefits over mined diamonds, including being more environmentally friendly and often being less expensive.
Some people prefer the idea of a diamond created by nature, but others like the benefits that lab-grown diamonds offer. Ultimately, the decision of which to choose is a personal one. However, here are some key considerations to help you decide which type of diamond is right for you:
Lab Grown Diamonds vs Natural Diamonds - Environmental issue
Lab-grown diamonds are more environmentally friendly. However, mined diamonds require a lot of energy and water to extract from the ground, which can have negative environmental impacts.
On the other hand, lab-grown diamonds are created in a controlled environment using less water and energy.
Lab Grown Diamonds vs Natural Diamonds - Cost
Lab-grown diamonds are often less expensive than mined diamonds. This is because the supply of lab-grown diamonds is not limited by the amount that can be mined from the earth. In addition, lab-grown diamonds do not require the same investment in mining equipment and infrastructure as mined diamonds.
The price of lab-grown diamonds has decreased significantly in recent years and can be up to 30% cheaper than mined diamonds. One of the main reasons for this is the technology used to create lab-grown diamonds has dropped over the years.
Mads Twomey-Madsen, VP for corporate communications and sustainability for Pandora, says …
“Lab-grown has been evolving over many years, and it has come down in price as the technology has become more widely available.”
However, the price of lab-grown diamonds is still dependent on the diamond's size, quality, and colour. Therefore, lab-grown diamonds are also graded using the Four Cs (carat weight, clarity, colour, and cut), just like mined diamonds.
Both diamonds look similar
Your lab-grown diamond ring is chemically identical to a mined diamond engagement ring. This is because they have the same physical and chemical properties as diamonds mined from the earth.
Lab Grown Diamonds vs Natural Diamonds - Colour range
Lab-grown diamonds are available in a broader range of colours than mined diamonds.
This is because the process used to grow lab-grown diamonds can produce diamonds with a wide range of Fancy Colored Diamonds (FCD), which are rare and expensive.
An FCD is a diamond with a natural colour that does not result from an impurity. FCD are graded on a scale from D (no hue) to Z (a yellow-hued diamond). Lab-grown diamonds can also be made in different colours by adding impurities during the growth process.
The benefits of natural or real diamonds
They are rare. The value of diamonds comes from their rarity.
For many people, the history and tradition behind natural diamonds are part of their appeal.
Some believe that natural diamonds are more valuable because they are more challenging to obtain.
Natural diamonds come with a certification from a reputable authority, such as the Gemological Institute of America (GIA).
The benefits of lab-grown diamonds
They are produced without harming the environment.
Lab-grown diamonds have the same chemical and physical properties as natural diamonds.
They often cost less than natural diamonds.
Lab-grown diamonds come with a certification from a reputable authority
They can be produced in colours that are rare or impossible to find in nature.
So, which type of diamond is best? That depends on your personal preferences. If you prefer the idea of a diamond that is created by nature, then a mined diamond is probably the best choice for you.
However, a lab-grown diamond may be the better option if you are looking for a unique diamond with specific characteristics or trying to save money. If you are still undecided, why not try looking at both types of diamonds side by side and see which one you prefer?
Book an appointment to visit our Elegant flagship store in Dublin to learn more!
Can you get lab-grown diamond engagement rings?
The answer is a resounding yes!
Lab-grown diamonds are becoming increasingly popular in engagement rings and other jewellery. Many celebrities have been spotted wearing lab-grown diamond engagement rings, including Meghan Markle, Scarlett Johansson, and Penelope Cruz.
Also, it seems the public is just as interested in purchasing a lab-grown variety of diamonds. According to insurance experts BriteCo, the average expenditure for a lab-grown diamond engagement ring has increased by over 8% between 2020 and 2021.
If you're looking for a lab-grown diamond engagement ring, you'll want to ensure that the diamond is certified by a reputable organisation. This organisation will be able to certify that your diamond is indeed lab-grown.
To finish on...
When it comes to choosing between a lab-grown diamond and a natural diamond, it ultimately comes down to personal preference.
Some people prefer the idea of wearing a diamond that is naturally mined, while others are more drawn to the eco-friendly aspect of lab-grown diamonds. Whatever type of diamond you choose, rest assured that you'll get a beautiful and unique piece of jewellery.
Before you go, don't forget to browse our store for our exquisite range of both natural diamond and lab-grown diamond engagement rings.