Last updated on December 16, 2021
It is not a secret you can get a beautiful lab-created diamond at an excellent price. Although the price is an appealing factor, you should still know how lab-grown diamonds differ from natural diamonds to make an informed purchase.
Lab-Grown Diamonds vs Natural Diamonds
Many people get confused when hearing the term “lab-grown diamond”. For some reason, they think that these diamonds are fake, which is a huge misconception.
Lab-grown diamonds, also referred to as synthetic, man-made, created cultured or cultivated diamonds, are not diamond simulants. Lab-created diamonds are identical to natural ones in terms of crystal structure, chemical composition, appearance and physical properties.
The difference between natural and lab-grown diamonds is the way they were made and their price. No wonder synthetic diamonds are more affordable than natural ones because the latter are rare and hard to mine. In fact, by buying a lab-grown diamond, you can save up to 40%.
Colour of Lab-Grown Diamonds
Colour in both lab-grown and natural diamonds is caused by chemical impurities and structural characteristics within the stone, which is why the process of evaluating the colour of lab-created diamonds is the same as for mined stones.
Although lab-grown diamonds typically receive grading reports from IGI (International Gemological Institute), their colour is still graded on the D to Z colour scale developed by GIA (Gemological Institute of America).
GIA grades laboratory-grown diamonds too. It is worth mentioning that they no longer use the term “synthetic” in their grading reports since July 1, 2019. Instead, they include the following statement: This is a man-made diamond produced by CVD (Chemical Vapor Deposition) or HPHT (High Pressure High Temperature) growth processes and may include post-growth treatments to change the colour.
Remarkably lab-grown diamonds are available in a variety of fancy colours too. Man-made diamonds are a great option if you are looking for a colour other than white because naturals are very pricey, rare and hard to find.
Clarity of Lab-Grown Diamonds
Although the clarity of lab-grown diamonds is graded on FL to I3 clarity scale developed by the GIA, this is where man-made and natural diamonds tend to differ the most.
Clarity refers to the presence of inclusions, which are one of the identifying characteristics of cultured diamonds. For example, HPHT synthetic diamonds often contain metal inclusions such as iron, nickel and cobalt, because these metals are used during the growth process and sometimes they enter the diamond crystal. While CVD diamonds never contain metal inclusions, they often come with graphite or other mineral inclusions.
Since lab-grown diamonds are man-made and the process of production is fully controlled, they often come flawless, unlike naturally formed diamonds. This does not mean that lab diamonds do not have impurities at all. Of course, they have, but these flaws are minimized due to the strict control of the creation process, and they are usually not seen to the naked eye.
Cut of Lab-Grown Diamonds
In terms of cut quality, there is no difference between lab-created and natural diamonds. The more proportional the cut, the more brilliance, fire and scintillation a diamond shows.
The precision of angles, proportions and symmetry are the factors that determine a diamond’s cut quality which is graded on the scale of Excellent, Very Good, Good, Fair and Poor.
A poorly cut stone, whether natural or lab-grown, will still look dull even if it has no inclusions or colour tints. That is why the cut is the biggest indicator of a stone’s beauty, and it should be made a priority among other components.
Are Lab-Grown Diamonds Worth Anything?
This question is not easy to answer. On the one hand, man-made diamonds are less expensive than naturals. On the other hand, you can not ignore their resale value.
A mined diamond on average devalues roughly by 50% after purchase. However, its price will eventually rise because, historically, diamond prices rise consistently. Meaning, if you ever try to resell it, you should be getting at least half of the original price.
As for lab-grown diamonds, they usually have no resale. But there is another logic. If a natural diamond loses 50% of its value immediately after purchase and a lab-grown diamond costs nearly 50% less than a natural diamond, then a man-made stone comparable to the mined one.