Natural vs. Lab-Created Diamonds
At a Glance
Lab-created diamonds are extremely inexpensive compared to natural diamonds and offer a beautiful alternative for those on tight jewelry budgets.
Lab-created diamonds — also known as synthetic diamonds — are grown in laboratories where scientists duplicate naturally occurring diamonds in physical properties and atomic structure so they are virtually indistinguishable from naturally formed mined diamonds. Lab-created diamonds have unique growth features and thus don’t look identical to natural diamonds under high-powered magnification, but most people are unable to tell the difference. Today, synthetic diamonds are available commercially in a number of shapes, sizes and colors. A laboratory with basic equipment will be able to produce a colorless diamond that weighs one half carat and a colored one that weighs close to three carats.
Lab-Created Diamonds are Cheaper than Natural Diamonds
Pictured at top: Blue Diamond Engagement Ring
Since synthetic diamonds do not have to cultured for millennia below the earth’s surface and can be produced in a matter of days in a controlled lab setting, they are a lot cheaper when compared to natural diamonds. However, diamond loyalists would rarely compromise with natural diamonds because to them, the idea of wearing gems that were formed over billions of years in the Earth’s mantle and then polished to perfection is irreplaceable. They irk at the thought of diamonds being produced artificially in canister like reactors in laboratories across the world. On the other hand, for those who wish to wear diamonds because they are beautiful jewels and do not care much about being loyal towards precious stones, lab-created diamonds make for ideal low-cost alternatives.
How Much Cheaper are Lab-Created Diamonds?
Even though there may not be as many retailers that provide synthetic diamonds to consumers, two companies who have mastered the technique offer them for prices significantly lower than that of natural diamonds. These two companies are Apollo Diamond in Boston and Gemesis Corporation in Florida. While the former is known for their colorless diamonds that cost 30 percent less than natural colorless diamonds, the latter sell colored diamonds for roughly one fifth the cost of their mined equivalents.
Where Can Lab-Created Diamonds be Found?
Since the diamond industry scorns upon the idea of synthetically produced diamonds, the number of places that offer them are limited. One can purchased lab-created diamonds directly from the manufacturer or from online retailers including Amazon, home shopping networks and big-box retailers.
Shortcomings of Lab-Created Diamonds
The technique of producing lab-created diamonds is relatively new and so synthetic diamonds have their share of limitations. The classic colorless synthetic diamonds tend to be available only in smaller sizes. It is also difficult to find high-quality loose lab-created diamonds. One may also be concerned about the certification of these synthetic gems. While each of the companies do provide with certification reports, the common man barely knows if the stated standards match up to those laid down by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA). More often than not, consumers may feel the need to send the diamonds for a second round of analysis and this becomes quite a tedious process. Lastly, the lack of manufacturers also cuts down on the options of shapes and shades that a consumer can choose from, especially when compared to the unending options of natural diamonds.