Learn more about lab grown diamonds.
Lab grown diamonds, also known as lab created, lab made or man made diamonds, are chemically identical to natural diamonds. They have the same durability and sparkle but not the same price tag!
Is a lab grown diamond a real diamond?
Yes! Lab grown diamonds are real diamonds. A laboratory grown diamond is physically and chemically identical to a natural diamond. The only way to detect the difference between them is with highly specialized equipment.
The answer to if the average Joe or Jane can detect the difference between a natural and lab created diamond is a definite no. Most jewellers and gemmologists can’t tell the difference either, not without that specialized equipment I mentioned. Lab diamonds are equal to natural diamond in quality, durability and sparkle.
What’s the difference between a lab diamond and a diamond simulant?
The short version is that a lab diamond is a genuine or “real” diamond and a diamond simulant is not. A diamond simulant is something such as cubic zirconia which is used to mimic the look of a diamond but at a much lower cost.
Unfortunately, although beautiful, cubic zirconia is not durable enough to stand up to everyday wear. Within months the facet edges will start to abraid and the surface of the gem will start to look “foggy”. This will not happen with a lab created diamond because, since it is identical to a natural diamond, it is just as durable.
It is also important to note here what we mean when we say “synthetic diamond” versus diamond simulant or imitation diamond. A synthetic diamond is a lab created diamond. It is identical to a natural diamond but made in a lab so it can be called synthetic.
A diamond simulant or imitation diamond is not a diamond. As we discussed above this would be something like a cubic zirconia that is meant to look like a diamond but is not a diamond.
How much do lab grown diamonds cost?
Initally lab diamonds were about 30% less expensive than natural diamonds. Recently, however, the cost of lab created diamonds has decreased even further due to competition in the market and improvements in production. Today you can expect to pay between 30-40% less for a lab made diamond. You could also look at it at as getting a larger lab created diamond for the same price as a smaller natural diamond.
Are lab grown diamonds graded the same as natural diamonds?
All lab grown diamonds are graded according to the “4 C’s” just as natural diamonds are, ie: colour, clarity, cut, carat. However, lab diamonds receive a different report than natural diamonds. All lab created diamonds will come with a report that states they are lab grown and this information should also be laser inscribed on the girdle of the stone.
Fun fact, you can even get a custom personalized message inscribed on the girdle of your diamond!
How are lab grown diamonds made?
So how does one go about growing diamonds? Lab diamonds are created in one of two ways.
The first is called High-Pressure High-Temperature or HPHT. Did you know lab diamonds were around in the 1950’s? Companies were actually using this HPHT process back then to create lab diamonds to use for industrial purposes. They were not as focused on producing gem quality diamonds for the jewellery industry.
As you may have guessed this process uses extreme heat and extreme pressure and applies it to a natural diamond seed. This simulates the extreme environment that causes natural diamonds to form.
The second process is called Chemical Vapour Deposition or CVD. This method was also around in the 1950’s but it’s only recently that it has become as viable the HPHT method. CVD also starts with a natural diamond seed which is placed in a chamber then subjected to high temperatures. Following this a combination of hydrogen and methane is released into the chamber which causes the electrons to separate and actually frees the pure carbon atoms which then deposits onto the diamond seed.
Are lab grown diamonds available in all sizes?
At first lab grown diamonds were mostly only available in larger carat weights. But now smaller melee (small accent sized diamonds) are available in a range of sizes and shapes. The most accessible shapes for melee are round, pear, straight baguette and tapered baguette.
It can still be difficult to find some of the rarer or unusual shapes such as trillion, marquise or kite in a lab created stone. This is especially true with the small melee stones.
It is possible to have a lab diamond custom cut to your specifications but this can easily add thousands to the final cost. I am finding more and more variety available as the demand for lab created diamonds increases so it may just be a question of waiting until the suppliers can catch up with the demand.
Are colours other than white available in lab grown diamonds?
Yes, coloured lab diamonds are available but they are harder to find. As with the shapes, it is a question of the time needed for the supply to increase in order to meet the demand. Because the most popular colour of lab diamond is white, that it the colour that is most produced.
Where can I purchase a lab grown diamond in Toronto?
There are a number of websites that offer lab grown diamonds for purchase. If you decide to purchase your lab grown stone online we can work together to create the ring. The only trouble with purchasing a diamond online is that you can’t see it in person which often can make a big difference. I also have access to a number of lab diamond suppliers and I’m happy to bring stones in for you to choose one in person.
Should you choose a lab grown diamond for your engagement ring?
Ultimately, of course, only you can answer this question. Personally I feel lab grown diamonds are in every way as beautiful as natural diamonds but with two significant differences.
The first is the price point which, as we’ve discussed, is much lower than a natural diamond. The second is that a lab made diamond is conflict free and has a much lower environmental impact than a mined diamond. If you have your heart set on a diamond, and either of these factors are important to you, then I say go for it! You won’t be disappointed.
If you’re still on the fence then the way I work will, I think, make it easier. If you’ve never seen a lab diamond before I can bring some in to the shop so you can see them in person. I can even source out the shape and size you’re looking for so you can visualize what it will look like on your finger.
And unlike in the creation of these diamonds there’s no pressure. If the options are not what you were looking for we can always return them and try something else. This is really about finding out what’s right for you.
I hope this information has helped you but if you have any other questions definitely get in touch!