Lab-grown diamonds (also known as CVD diamonds, man-made diamonds or lab-created diamonds, etc.) refer to the use of advanced technologies, which are the High-Pressure High Temperature (HPHT) method or the Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD) method, to simulate the growth environment of natural diamonds in order to artificially curate diamonds in the laboratory. Lab-grown diamonds are identical in chemical composition and physical properties (including refractive index and hardness) to natural diamonds. In other words, lab-grown diamonds are also real diamonds. This conclusion can be supported by the US Federal Trade Commission’s update on the definition of diamonds: “a mineral consisting essentially of pure carbon crystallized in the isometric system” that was either mined from the earth or grown in a factory.
What is the difference between natural diamonds and lab-grown diamonds? How to choose between the two?
We do not think it is fair to make a biased assertion about which type of diamond is better. Instead, we should emphasize choosing the best diamond according to the needs of different customers. With an objective and fair attitude, here is a detailed analysis of lab-grown and natural diamonds from different perspectives.
1) Price and Rarity
The biggest difference between lab-grown diamonds and natural diamonds is the price. Lab-grown diamonds’ prices are only 10-15% of that of natural diamonds. The higher the diamond quality, the greater the price difference. This is because lab-grown diamonds can be produced sustainably despite the high threshold of production set-up cost. The recurring production costs have also reduced along with the significant technological advancement over the years. Whereas in addition to the high mining cost, natural diamonds were formed deep in the Earth’s mantle under high pressure and temperature over millions of years, making them extremely rare and precious.
2) Value Retention
For those who purchase lab-grown diamonds for an engagement, value retention might not be a factor to consider. But there are many who might be concerned about the possibility of upgrading the diamonds in future or making the purchase as an investment. Diamania believes that lab-grown diamonds are more for personal use but should not be regarded as a tool for value preservation or investment. In contrast, the value of natural diamonds has generally risen by 40% between 2020 and 2022. If customers bought natural diamonds in the early days and would like to sell them, they are likely to sell for a higher price than the original purchase price. But of course, this assumption is based only on past performance; no one can guarantee that the price of natural diamonds will continue to rise in the future.
Lab-grown diamonds have the same physical properties (including refractive index and hardness) and chemical properties as natural diamonds. Therefore, they have the same sparkling nature. Even diamond experts are normally not able to differentiate the two with just naked eyes.
4)How to distinguish lab-grown diamonds
Although the appearance of lab-grown diamonds and natural diamonds seem the same, they do have different types of inclusions and unique growth patterns. These features are important for laboratories to distinguish between the two types of diamonds. Similar to natural diamonds, lab diamonds will also be graded by IGI and GIA to issue lab-grown diamond grading reports which indicate the quality of the diamonds. A graded diamond will be engraved “LABORATORY-GROWN” or “LABGROWN” together with the certificate number on its girdle. This is to safeguard consumers’ right to know which type of diamonds they are buying.
5) Are lab-grown diamonds the same as synthetic diamonds? How are they different from diamond simulants?
Lab-grown diamonds are indeed synthetic diamonds, just with different names. Their physical, chemical and optical properties are exactly the same as those of natural diamonds. However, there are merchants with poor sales practices abusing the term “synthetic diamond”. Whether it is zircon, moissanite or any simulated diamond that claims to be made by exclusive technology, those merchants would name it “xxx diamond” or “synthetic diamond” to mislead consumers. Therefore, it is highly recommended to buy an authentic lab-grown diamond from a reliable and trustworthy retailer. The lab diamond should also come with an IGI or GIA grading report.
In order to cater to the needs of different customers, Diamania has recently introduced a lab-grown diamond product line, Diamond Culture, available at competitive and transparent prices as always. In addition to listing the real-time price of lab-grown diamonds in HK and around the globe, Diamania’s website also shares all the knowledge and information in regards to lab-grown diamonds that a customer should know: >> Click to visit the Diamond Culture website<<
6) Market Acceptance
The earliest production of lab-grown diamonds in the 1950s was to meet the demand for industrial use. As the technology matures, top-quality lab-grown diamonds are able to be produced in recent years. Consumers in Europe and USA have started accepting lab-grown diamonds and they are becoming popular among celebrities. On the other hand, in HK and other Asian countries, lab-grown diamonds are still a relatively new concept. The acceptance level is not as high as that in Europe and America. But we believe that lab diamonds will quickly gain popularity in HK when consumers get to know more about their advantages.
7) How to choose between natural diamonds and lab-grown diamonds
In our opinion, lab-grown diamonds are the best alternative to natural diamonds if it is for personal use. This is because the two types of diamonds are indistinguishable with naked eyes. Yet, lab diamonds are much more attractive when you look at the price tag. On the other hand, for engagement rings, you would need to know whether your soon-to-be partner values naturality. Some people may think the concept of “Eternity” could only be presented by natural diamonds which have undergone and withstood millions of years. Therefore, it is always recommended to learn more about the features and differences between the two types of diamonds before making a purchase decision.
Diamania is one of the first diamond retailers in Hong Kong which shares diamond prices online, with transparency at the top of our minds. This represents our confidence in our pricing and quality. With many years of experience in natural diamond trading, most of our team members hold GIA qualifications and extensive knowledge to answer all the concerns you have about diamonds, both natural and lab-grown.