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The Truth About Lab-Grown Diamonds

Lab-grown diamonds have become increasingly more popular over the last few years. After they began to trickle into the market in 2013, Morgan Stanley released a report in 2016 predicting that lab-growns could take a 7.5% market share in sales for larger stones. As consumers become more educated about the striking similarities between natural and lab-grown diamonds, an increase in demand for these less expensive stones is inevitable!

What are Lab-Grown Diamonds?

Lab-grown diamonds have the exact same chemical make-up and appearance as a natural, mined diamond. What’s the difference? One was made in a lab and one was made in the Earth’s crust. Think of it this way: ice in snowcaps in Antarctica is ice the same way ice in your freezer is ice. The only difference is the location. If you're more of a visual learner, check out our IGTV about lab-grown diamonds!

Lab-growns have not always been viewed in the most positive light and that has mainly to do with the misinformation that has been pumped into the media by mining companies. Previously referred to as “synthetic diamonds,” lab-grown diamonds are in fact 100% real diamonds. In a Federal Trade Commission ruling, the FTC stated “a diamond is a diamond, whether it is grown in a lab or comes out of the ground.”

How are Natural Diamonds Formed?

Natural diamonds were formed billions of years ago in carbon atoms found hundreds of miles beneath the Earth’s surface. Exposed to extreme heat and pressure, these tiny carbon atoms began to crystalize and eventually formed rough diamonds. They eventually make their way closer to Earth’s surface through volcanic eruptions where they can be mined and fashioned into polished diamonds. 

DISCLAIMER: All diamonds are required to go through the Kimberley Process to ensure they are ethically sourced.

How are Lab-Grown Diamonds Made?

Contrary to popular belief that lab-grown diamonds are synthetic, these stones are incredibly real. Carrying the same chemical properties as a natural diamond, lab-grown diamonds are formed using similar conditions found in nature, just recreated in a lab. These man-made diamonds are formed using two methods: HPHT, which stands for High Pressure, High Temperature, and CVD which stands for Chemical Vapor Deposition.

High-Pressure High Temperature (HPHT Method)

The HPHT Method s most similar to how natural diamonds are grown in that an environment is created where extreme heat (up to 2200°F) and extreme pressure (1.5 million pounds per square inch) are applied to a carbon seed. After a careful cooling process, pure carbon forms around the original seed which is then used as the rough diamond. In total, this process can take several days to weeks depending on the size of the diamond being created.

Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD)

CVD diamonds are made under less intense conditions and in a slower developing process taking around 6 to 12 weeks. A small diamond seed is placed inside a sealed chamber and subjected to intense heat, sometimes reaching 1500°F. Hydrogen and methane are introduced to the chamber and then ionized to break down molecular bonds thus causing a pure carbon atom to attach itself to the seed. As the carbon builds, it forms atomic bonds with the diamond seed creating one, larger diamond.

Durability and Appearance of Lab-Grown Diamonds

Because lab-grown diamonds have the same chemical and visual characteristics as natural diamonds, they also possess all the same attributes that make natural diamonds highly sought after for both jewelry and industrial use. Don't believe us? Check out the comparison below!

The hardness of a lab-grown diamond ranks 10 on the Mohs scale making it the most durable gemstone. Lab-grown diamonds also have a high refractive index giving them a beautiful sparkle—exactly like a natural diamond.

Lab-grown diamonds can be cut in every same shape that natural diamonds can; from round and oval down to heart and marquise. For these reasons, lab-grown diamonds make beautiful options as center stones for engagement rings.


During the growth process, color can be introduced to the lab-grown diamond which will give it a tint of yellow or brown and will negatively impact its color grade. The more colorless the diamond the more desirable it is and those in the D-H color range are most popular for lab-grown diamonds. With natural diamonds, there is more willingness to explore lower color ranges due to the higher costs associated with natural stones.


Inclusions are imperfections that form within a diamond during its growth process; the same occurs for both lab-grown and natural diamonds. These inclusions can vary in synthetic diamonds based on the method used to grow them and can also help differentiate between the types of formation (natural or lab-grown). For both HPHT and CVD diamonds, there are outside elements used as catalysts to help grow the diamond. During this process, any of the catalysts can become trapped within the diamond's structure and become inclusions. For the most part, GIA identifies all inclusions within lab-grown diamonds as “Growth Remnants” regardless of the inclusion’s shape or size. As with natural diamonds, lab-grown diamonds can also have feathers which are surface-reaching inclusions that occur during the cutting process.


Identical to natural diamonds, lab-grown diamonds are cut and polished to maximize sparkle and brilliance. A cut grade is only assessed for round brilliant finishes as it can be quantified based on its angles, proportions, and measurements. Fancy shapes (non-rounds) are based on their visual appearance and a wider range of factors.  Parallel to natural diamonds, there are premium cut cushions and radiants that have sharper facets on the pavilion and less hidden weight underneath to give them a brilliant appearance. There can also be variations in length-to-width ratios for all shapes so selecting the right one for you is based solely on preference.


Diamonds are measured in carats which is simply how much the stone weighs once placed on a scale. The carat weight of a diamond is only an indication of how large it will look like the cut of the stone and its depth/proportions will also impact its face-up appearance.

Why Lab-Grown Diamonds?

There are many reasons why someone may choose a lab-grown diamond as the center stone for their custom engagement ring. First, it is important to reiterate what has been mentioned above: these special diamonds possess the same beauty and durability as natural diamonds. Many who choose lab-grown diamonds point to the fact that they are ethically sourced and eco-friendly as being a factor in why they selected this center-stone over a natural diamond.

Arguably the most important factor is the price point; having something that looks identical to a natural diamond at a fraction of the cost is very enticing. Compared to natural diamonds, lab-grown diamonds are generally priced at discounts of 50-70% lower—depending on the size of the stone. For example, a 2 carat colorless/VS clarity natural diamond could be $20,000 while a lab-grown diamond with the same specifications can be around $8,000.

At Lauren B, we offer our clients both natural and lab-grown diamonds as center stone options for their engagement rings. Each diamond we sell has been thoroughly inspected to ensure not only its origin but the quality and visual beauty of the stone.  

You can browse our entire loose diamond inventory here.