Natural diamonds are super rare, and that's why they're so expensive. Or at least that's what big diamond retailers would want you to believe. The truth is the earth is oozing with diamonds, but these companies have worked for years to limit the supply and drive up prices.
Then lab-created diamonds came onto the scene and gave the power back to the people. They're more sustainable. They're more ethical. They're more affordable, and… well, other than that, they're exactly the same as natural diamonds. The truth is you don't have to spend a million dollars to adorn yourself with the gem of your dreams. Want a bigger, shinier, sparklier diamond at a fraction of the price? Get a lab diamond. You can thank me later.
There are two types of diamonds: nature-created and lab-created. Both types have the exact same sparkle, hardness, and physical composition - down to the individual atom. The only difference is natural diamonds are created under the surface of the earth, and then pulled up from the earth through extensive mining. In contrast, lab diamonds are grown in labs under man-made conditions.
A few big companies control the world's natural diamond supply, and that control also lets them dictate prices. Because lab diamonds are manufactured, anyone can make them, which means they're always competitively priced.
The short answer is, yes. The long answer: there are two types of diamonds, lab-created and earth-mined. They have the same sparkle, brilliance, hardness, and... Uh... Joie de Vivre (ok, they don't have it, but they can give it to you.) Both diamonds are real, and they are identical in every way.
The fact is, lab-created diamonds are exactly the same diamond down to the atoms from which they are constructed. Simply put, lab diamonds are equivalent to natural diamonds in each and every physical way. It’s just that they are made differently, which just so happens to make one of them more affordable (and sustainable, go conservation!) To see the difference between a lab-created diamond and a natural one, you'd have to use professional equipment. Worried Betty from book club will know the difference? Don't be. The only thing people will notice if you choose a lab-grown diamond is a bigger, shinier rock on your finger.
Lab-grown and natural diamonds are identical in every way. Still wondering what the differences between them are? Let's break it down. Both stones are crystal structures composed of carbon atoms. Atomically, they're identical. A lab-grown diamond and a natural diamond with similar cut quality will have the same brilliance, fire, and scintillation. In other words, they sparkle the same.
Lab-created diamonds are grown over the course of a few weeks or months in labs around the world. This means two things. First, we know the workers are employed in good working conditions, and are getting paid fair wages. And two, we know that these diamonds are ethically sourced and are sustainable. On the other hand, natural diamonds are, of course, created in the earth and therefore have to be pulled out of it. This causes irreparable damage to the planet. While many diamond mines strive for carbon neutrality, there is no denying the damage caused by diamond mining.
This is not to mention the questionable ethics associated with diamond mining. The Kimberly Process, which was introduced in 2003, is an initiative to eliminate the sale and trade of conflict diamonds. While it is certainly helping reduce dangerous diamond trading practices, it is far from a perfect solution. There is always a concern when it comes to the morality of diamonds. At Keyzar, we make a concerted effort to make sure all of our diamonds are conflict-free. This is a guarantee that always comes with lab diamonds.
The cost of lab-grown diamonds is tied to their rate of production. This means they come at a lower price tag and a much higher value. Additionally, the number of lab-grown diamonds produced each year always meets the demand: no supply chain issues, no overly inflated prices.
Natural diamonds come at a much higher price. This is because large diamond retailers control the supply of natural diamonds, often artificially inflating their value on the market by limiting their availability. Contrary to popular belief, there is no shortage of natural diamonds. They were never rare. They have just been stashed away, so we'd think they were. There are just a few retailers in the world that keep billions of dollars worth of diamonds locked away in an effort (needless to say, a successful one) to drive up diamond prices.
It is often overstated that mined diamonds have a higher resale value. While this is technically true, it's also very misleading. For a natural diamond to retain around 50% of its resale value, it will have to be a diamond of 3 carats or more. So, realistically, if you're spending $20k on a ring just to resell it down the road and get $10k back, why not just save that money in the first place and buy a giant lab-created diamond instead?
Lab diamonds cost significantly less than natural diamonds, meaning you can get a much bigger, better, shinier diamond at a much lower price. In the end, it's the same diamond, so for the same budget, why not get a better rock? See our lab diamond engagement rings here.
Diamonds are made in three different ways: earth mined, high pressure-high temperature, and chemical vapor deposition. Let's get into it.
Natural mined diamonds were formed billions of years ago deep beneath the earth's crust. The extreme heat and pressure beneath the mantle crushed carbon atoms together into the shiny, beautiful gems we know and love today.
Then one day, a few hundred million years ago, these prehistoric gemstones hitched a ride on the hot lava express and were pushed up towards the surface via an ancient volcanic eruption. Initially, diamonds were discovered in the rivers and streams of India around the 4th century BC. They have been sought out, traded, and mined ever since.
Ok, this method is exactly what it sounds like, the end. I'm kidding! In 1956 General Electric began producing the first commercially available lab-made diamonds using this new method.
Today, billions of carats of diamonds are produced every year using this method, although those are mainly used for industrial purposes–yay, drill bits! But how does it work? HPHT diamond formation works by exposing carbon to extreme heat and pressure. A tiny piece of diamond, called a diamond seed, is placed in a high-pressure chamber.
This chamber is specifically designed to mimic the extreme conditions deep beneath the earth's crust. The carbon-coated seed may start out as an unrecognizable speck, but it will soon grow into the beautiful crystal structure we love to show off.
The second way lab diamonds are grown is CVD or Chemical Vapor Deposition. This method uses a mixture of chemical gasses to break down carbon atoms and crystalize them. Here hydrogen and hydrocarbon gas (like methane) are mixed in a low-pressure vacuum chamber. This specialized chamber converts some of the hydrogens into atomic hydrogen.
This stable environment promotes the formation of diamonds–or possibly the origin story of the world's next superhero. It sounds pretty cool in either case. One way to tell these earth-mined, HPHT, and CVD diamonds apart in their raw form is based on their shape. Natural diamonds grow in an octahedron shape, like a 3D diamond (the suit of cards, not the emoji). HPHT stones tend to have a cuboctahedron shape (think janky soccer ball). Finally, CVD diamonds grow in a cube, which enhances their ability to provide the “crushed ice” effect after they are cut and polished. However, once these stones are cut, the only way you'll be able to tell them apart is by looking at the certification.
Lab-created diamonds are quite a shiny scientific achievement. They are exactly the same as natural diamonds in every way, minus a few billion years and a couple of thousand dollars. Creation of diamonds in controlled environments means you can feel good about buying a lab diamond. You can get a bigger and better diamond for a fraction of the cost. A lower price means you don't have to settle for a smaller natural diamond.
So go big, or go home? We say go big and invest in a home with all the money you saved buying a lab-grown diamond instead. Check out our collection of lab diamond engagement rings!