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4 C's of Lab Grown Diamonds

 

Lab-grown diamonds are real diamonds with the same chemical composition as natural mined diamonds. Although they are man-made, they still exhibit variations across the 4C’s - Carat, Color, Clarity, & Cut. 

Lab-grown diamonds are a great budget-friendly option, and are typically priced around 30%-50% less than natural diamonds. In this post we’ll provide guidance on what to keep in mind when choosing a lab-grown based on the 4C’s.

While we typically suggest a certificate from the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) for natural diamonds, for lab-grown stones we recommend a report from the International Gemological Institute (IGI). IGI offers a fully detailed report with specific color and clarity grades, while GIA only offers ranges for color and clarity at this time. 

CARAT

Carat weight, as it sounds, is the measure of a diamond's weight. One carat is equivalent to one-fifth of a gram, and this metric is the same for both lab-grown and natural diamonds. Lab-grown diamonds come in the same variety of sizes as their natural counterparts. However, due to limits associated with supply and the manufacturing process there may be less availability of certain weights. That said, keep in mind that carat weight is NOT a measure of size. To determine a diamond’s actual size we recommend looking at its millimeter measurements to understand the stone's face-up spread. For example, watch the video below to view diamonds with measurements that make them appear larger than their actual carat weight.

 

COLOR

 Color in both natural and lab-grown diamonds is commonly caused by chemical impurities and structural characteristics within the stone, which most often make them display tones of yellow or brown. The closer a diamond is to colorless, the more rare and valuable it is. Although lab-grown diamonds typically receive grading reports from the International Gemological Institute (IGI), their color is still judged based on the grading scale originally established by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA). For diamond shapes like round brilliant, emerald, asscher, and cushion we would recommend a J color or above. For elongated diamond shapes such as pear, radiant and oval, I color and above is best. Note, color differences can be very subtle and they will fluctuate based on the diamond and your color sensitivity. For an in-depth lesson on diamond color grade you can view the video below: 

 

CLARITY

Clarity is where lab-grown diamonds and natural diamonds tend to differ the most. Clarity refers to the presence of inclusions, which are identifying characteristics within a diamond such as minerals or fractures that were introduced when the stone was formed. Lab-grown diamonds tend to have darker inclusions typically composed of metal or carbon due to their manufactured growth process. These darker inclusions are more visible, which warrants a HIGHER clarity grade. We recommend lab-grown diamonds that have a clarity grade of VS2 or higher to minimize the potential of visible inclusions. Watch the video HERE to view a round diamond featuring visible dark inclusions you want to avoid. 

 

CUT 

A diamond with well-cut proportions will maximize light return, resulting in a display of brilliance and fire. Fancy cut lab grown diamonds, such as ovals, cushions, and radiants, are often cut in a modified style. This style features extra facets that often increase the weight of the diamond, but do not add to its overall size or brilliance. To maximize the light return in a diamond, a more brilliant cut faceting style is recommended. This style more closely mimics the facet patterns of a round brilliant diamond, which was engineered to offer the highest amount of brilliance and fire. With the exception of round diamonds, brilliant faceting styles are less common in lab-grown diamonds but can still be found on occasion. Watch the video below for a comparison of a modified vs brilliant cut cushion:

 

At Lauren B, we partner with select lab-grown diamond vendors to curate a selection of IGI certified stones based on the highest quality standards. To view diamonds or to receive personalized guidance please email [email protected] to arrange an in-person or remote consultation with one of our diamond experts! 

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