608 5th Avenue, Third Floor · New York, NY 10020       Phone Icon  (212) 391-0633

  • Instagram Page Lauren B
  • Pinterest Page Lauren B
  • YouTube Page Lauren B
  • Blog Lauren B

CART (0)

READ MORE ARTICLES

Lab Grown vs Natural Diamonds

Lab-grown, or lab-created, diamonds feature many characteristics that are identical to natural diamonds. From precise faceting to immaculate polishing, it’s impossible for the naked eye to detect a lab-grown diamond from a natural one. While both options offer a handful of benefits, it’s wise to consider the differences between a lab-grown and natural diamond.

The Similarities:

CHEMICAL PROPERTIES

Lab-grown diamonds have the exact chemical makeup and appearance as a natural-mined diamond; both natural and lab-grown diamonds are made of carbon atoms that are arranged in a crystalline lattice structure. 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.” The only difference, one was made in a lab and one was formed in the Earth’s mantle.

HARDNESS

The Mohs Hardness Scale measures mineral hardness by scratching the mineral in question against another mineral that has already been measured on the scale. The result is a ranking between 1 and 10 with the diamonds ranking highest on the scale and talc ranking the lowest on the scale

Considering the only difference between lab and natural diamonds is the location and time taken to form, both types of diamonds measure at a 10 on the Mohs Scale of hardness.

mohs scale

BRILLIANCE

Lab-grown diamonds and natural diamonds are indistinguishable from each other to the naked eye; only a trained gemologist or diamond expert can tell the difference between the two stones and can only do so using high-tech lab equipment. Therefore, both lab-grown diamonds and natural diamonds produce the same brilliance, or sparkle.

GRADING

Since lab-grown diamonds have all the same properties as natural diamonds, they are both graded using the 4 C’s: Color, Clarity, Cut, and Carat. Unlike other grading institutes, the GIA is regarded as the highest authority in the world. At Lauren B, nearly all of our lab and natural diamonds are GIA graded and are sold with their report.

When looking at a GIA Grading Report, you should make sure that the report number at the top matches the number that has been laser-inscribed on the girdle of your diamond. The only way to spot this number is under a microscope or with a loupe. The rest of the report will outline the 4 C’s specific to your diamond.

mohs scale

COLOR

Naturally-colored diamonds got their unique color hues from traces of other elements interacting with carbon during the diamond formation process. The presence of chemical elements such as nitrogen, sulfur, and boron can color diamonds in shades of yellow, green and blue. When diamonds are being grown in a lab, these same elements can be introduced into the formation process to give these lab-grown diamonds the same color hues as natural diamonds.

The Differences:

COST

Due to the formation process being faster than that of a natural diamond, lab-grown diamonds are less costly to produce at scale. What used to be a 30% price difference several years ago has now ballooned to about over 75%. Additionally, since natural diamonds are a finite resource, they are far more rare than the infinite number of lab-grown diamonds that can be produced. Over time, the price gap between natural and lab-grown diamonds steepen, with the latter being more affordable.

FORMATION

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

Contrary to popular belief that lab-grown diamonds are synthetic, these stones are 100% 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.

INCLUSIONS

It’s rare for lab-grown and natural diamonds to be flawless. Most diamonds have some degree of inclusions — some more visible than others. These inclusions are graded on a scale that factors in the size and type of blemish visible on or inside the stone.

Since natural diamonds were formed in the Earth’s mantle billions of years ago, the growth process was prone to obstructions, causing inclusions. Inclusions in natural diamonds can range from crystals and pinpoints to clouds and needles.

In lab-grown diamonds, inclusions are actually growth remnants that resemble crystals in natural diamonds. In CVD lab-grown diamonds, these are often high relief with a dark, graphitized appearance. In HPHT diamonds, these can appear as metallic spheres or rods.

FLUORESCENCE

Diamond fluorescence is caused by trace amounts of aluminum, nitrogen, and/or boron trapped inside a diamond’s crystal structure. If any amount of these elements is present and absorbed over the billions of years it takes to form a natural diamond in the earth, then that diamond will fluoresce as these elements react to UV light. Fluorescence is not a bad trait to have and can actually work in your favor. In fact, natural diamonds with fluorescence are generally less expensive than their nonfluorescent counterparts.

On the other hand, lab-grown diamonds don’t carry any fluorescence, as no elements that react to UV light are introduced during the formation process. Some theorize that as time goes on, the differentiation between lab-grown and natural diamonds will cause natural diamonds with fluorescence to rise in popularity.

So, Which is Better for Me?

If you prefer to prioritize tradition, then a natural diamond is the right choice for you. Those who gravitate toward natural diamonds usually select a natural stone due to its elegance, classic appeal, and timeless value.

If you are looking to maximize your budget, we suggest considering a lab-grown diamond. You can select a higher carat diamond with a favorable colorless grade for a more affordable price than a natural stone. Generally, lab-created diamonds offer excellent value for their money, making them a fan-favorite.

No matter which type of diamond you choose, both center stone options are beautiful and special in their own ways. Ultimately, it really comes down to what is most important to you when designing your ring.

JOIN OUR MAILING LIST