Lab Grown Diamonds: The Science & Style Behind These Stones
By Casey Pontrelli
With the recent explosion in the popularity of lab grown diamonds, chances are you’ve heard a lot of buzz around this extraordinary new process over the past few years.
Scientists have been able to replicate the natural conditions that produce these gemstones, resulting in a new source to use in fine jewelry.
So what does this mean for jewelry designers and jewelry lovers? These individuals now have access to beautiful gems that are identical to the shimmer, shine, and quality of the best natural diamonds. Read more to find out if a piece featuring lab grown diamonds might be right for you.
What Are Lab Grown Diamonds?
Lab grown stones are also referred to as “man-made diamonds” or “lab created diamonds,” but all of these terms refer to stones that are created using a scientific means that replicates the very long natural formation process for diamonds that are found underground and have traditionally been mined under harsh and naturally destructive processes to be used for jewelry.
Scientists have now perfected this process, and lab grown diamonds are physically and chemically identical to natural ones. In fact, even many jewelers need specialized lab equipment to tell the difference.
The Traditional Growing Process
Diamonds form within the earth’s mantle under conditions of heat and pressure.
This modifies the atomic structure of crystalline carbons until they form diamonds.
Scientists are uncertain as to how long this actually takes, but some estimate millions of years for the formation to be complete. Sometimes there are even interruptions in the diamond’s maturing process, which prolongs their formation.
The Lab Process
To reproduce natural conditions, the man-made rocks are created when a diamond carbon “seed” is placed into a heated and pressurized environment.
These seeds are the same carbon structures that produce diamonds in nature, and the crystallization that occurs is what leads lab grown diamonds to have the same structure and appearance as those found in nature.
This process, however, is vastly more efficient, taking only a few weeks as opposed to millions of years.
Cut From The Same Carbon
Even seasoned gemologists are often unable to make a distinction between lab grown diamonds and natural diamonds! Because man-made diamonds have the same chemical structure, they offer the exact same brilliance and clarity as those that are mined.
This means that, carat for carat, lab created diamonds are better priced and just as beautiful as natural ones, whether loose or cut, polished, and set in order to show off their stunning qualities.
The Benefits of These Special Stones
There are many diverse benefits to using lab grown diamonds, both to the consumer and to the environment and the communities where diamonds are mined. Here are the top reasons you should consider lab grown diamonds:
- Ethics. We now live in a world where people are thinking hard about not only what they want to buy, but where products come from and how they are made.
The popularity of lab grown diamonds has grown alongside this new age of consumer awareness. While some natural diamonds are mined with a respect for the earth and the sensitive ecology of their natural environments, for many years the world’s love of diamonds has resulted in mining practices that exploit workers and are carried out in dangerous conditions.
Again, while not all natural diamonds are procured in this manner, the diamond industry has had difficulty balancing the demand for diamond jewelry with labor and mining practices that are respectful of workers and our planet Earth.
A Shining Solution
One of the key reasons so many jewelry designers and consumers are turning towards lab grown diamonds is that they are created in ways that avoid the ethical and environmental complications that can arise when diamonds are mined unethically and irresponsibly.
For the earth-lover, these lab created gemstones are one guaranteed way to take advantage of the beauty of diamond jewelry while being able to rest assured that the stone did not come from a mine that exploits its workers or harms the environment.
Lab grown diamonds are a sustainable jewelry choice, and one that will likely only increase in popularity as pressure on diamond mining increases and interest in green consumerism continues.
- Cost. Because the creation time of lab grown diamonds is short compared to the vast geological time for natural ones, they are more efficient and cost less to procure.
While labs must invest in equipment and research, there are no mining or transportation costs involved.
In general, lab grown diamonds can cost up to 50% less than traditional ones, which can mean great things for jewelers and jewelry lovers. With a decrease in price, you can afford a quality stone with greater clarity and brilliance, or get more stone pieces for your money.
Quality of Lab Grown Diamonds
Lab grown diamonds represent a unique opportunity to improve on nature and create consistently high-quality diamonds.
Man-made diamonds can be produced to the highest standards, including achieving hardness measurements that only the top tier of natural diamonds meet.
Lab grown diamonds are graded by the same metrics as natural diamonds when it comes to hardness, clarity, brilliance, and color by gemological labs, so you can feel confident that assurances of quality are genuine and that lab grown diamonds are rigorously examined in the same way as natural diamonds.
Trends for Lab Grown Diamonds
Because lab grown diamonds are generally more affordable than natural diamonds, they offer jewelry makers a chance to experiment with different sizes and designs.
While you may be able to afford a quality 1 carat natural diamond, for the same amount of money you could find a stone of comparable quality in a nearly 2 carat size.
Fancy colored diamonds can also be produced using lab technology and heat treatment procedures, resulting in stones with yellow, blue, and pink tones.
Eco-Friendly and Boho Chic
So many jewelry designers are taking advantage of the opportunity to use lab grown diamonds to express the full range of their creativity.
While diamonds haven’t always been considered bohemian, there are some jewelry makers who are using lab created stones to craft boho chic pieces that have a chic and natural look, including diamond slices and colorful lab grown diamonds.
If this is your style, the time has never been better for you to take advantage of the on-trend looks.
Beautiful and Classic
While there are many designers playing with new ways to wear lab grown diamonds in haute hippie styles, just as many jewelry retailers are working with lab grown diamonds as a way to offer customers higher quality diamonds at a lower price point.
This means simple solitaire rings, diamond earrings, tennis bracelets, luxury watches and other classic diamonds jewelry looks are available at a lower cost and with higher quality stones, so you can have these timeless and traditional styles at a fraction of the cost.
Engagement and Wedding Rings
There are many retailers and jewelry makers who have already started using these rocks in engagement rings to create stunning, ethical pieces.
If you’re someone who is money conscious and on a budget or someone who insists on organic food at your eco-friendly wedding reception, these are perfect for marking your commitment to your partner.
With the rise of popularity in eternity bands and channel set diamond wedding bands, you’ll also start to see plenty of lab grown diamonds rings in these styles to add a little extra sparkle to your wedding set.
Choosing Lab Grown Jewelry
While some shoppers are afraid that lab created diamonds aren’t “authentic”, those worries are unfounded. With their excellent quality, versatility, brilliance, clarity, and color, lab grown diamonds are an amazing way for consumers to wear heirloom quality diamond jewelry than ever before.
It’s time to embrace the amazing technology of lab grown diamonds and revel in the sparkle and joy that these gorgeous pieces will add to any jewelry-lover’s collection.