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lab diamonds

What Are Lab Diamonds?

Lab diamonds have skyrocketed in popularity over the past decade. As lab techniques have improved and production has increased, as has the desirability of the stones. But what are lab diamonds? Are they as ethical as advertised? And should you choose them for your engagement ring? We have done the research so you don’t have to!

lab diamond halo engagement ring
Halo engagement ring with split shank

What Are Lab Diamonds?

Lab diamonds are chemically and physically identical to naturally mined diamonds. The only difference between lab created stones and naturally mined stones is the creation process. There are two major methods to synthesise diamond. The first is to compress carbon under extreme high heat and pressure until it forms diamond. The more recent process involves creating the conditions where carbon atoms are attracted to another substance in a controlled environment. The carbon atoms gradually form layers until it becomes diamond.

Another term for lab diamonds is “synthetic diamonds”. “Diamond simulant”, however, is an industry term for fake diamonds made from non-diamond material. Look out for these key terms when you are shopping around, to ensure you are not mis-sold a diamond simulant at the price of a synthetic diamond. Lab diamonds are diamond. Moissanite, cubic zirconium, and white sapphire are all “diamond alternatives” but they are not lab diamonds.

Are Lab Diamonds Ethical?

The ethics of lab created diamonds is a complicated topic, much like the ethics of naturally mined diamonds. One pro of lab stones is that they do not cause deforestation and environmental devastation from mining. The second benefit of choosing a lab diamond is to avoid a conflict-associated stone. Both of these factors are huge positives.

However, lab diamonds are not necessarily a completely environmentally friendly choice. For example, the term “lab” is somewhat misleading. The stones are not made in test tubes, and are really produced in large scale factories. These have their own downfalls in terms of polluting the surrounding area. It also takes an astonishing amount of energy to produce a single stone.

Both lab grown and naturally mined diamonds have their ethical pros and cons, far too many to go into here. It is up to you which set of pros outweighs the cons more for you!

lab diamond
Kimberley, South Africa, 10th April -2019: Mine shaft head from old diamond mine.

Natural Mined Diamonds Vs Lab Created

So why choose a lab diamond over a naturally mined stone? One of the biggest benefits for the consumer is that they are less expensive – about 20% cheaper than mined diamonds. They are also more likely to be of an ideal colour and clarity. This is because inclusions occur in natural diamonds due to differing conditions in their place of origin.

The majority of lab grown diamonds are made in rare fancy colours. This means that if you always had your heart set on a J-lo style pink diamond ring, but don’t have a million to spend, you may be able to get your dream ring after all.

Furthermore, you can be sure that your lab diamond ring is 100% conflict free. A lab diamond cannot have directly caused habitat destruction from mining.

What about natural diamonds? Unlike lab stones, natural diamonds hold their value for future generations and can even increase in value in rare cases. The colour and clarity of naturally mined stones is important to their value. As such the grading certificate adds value to the stone.

Lab diamonds are not rare, and are in fact abundant due to being infinitely reproducible. Natural diamonds have a fascinating geological history, rarity, and are often older than the dinosaurs. It is a privilege to wear something of such significance.

There is a pledge known as the Kimberly Process designed to keep diamonds ethical. It means that mined diamonds sold in countries which signed up cannot have been sourced from diamond conflict stones. This means there are plenty of options to purchase ethical natural diamonds which are conflict free.

Where Can You Purchase a Lab Diamond Ring?

If you would like to chat about purchasing a lab created diamond for your engagement ring, get in touch with our bespoke jeweller to discuss your options. We currently do not offer lab diamonds as a standard option on our website, but would love to make more lab diamond rings.

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