Lab vs Mined Diamonds- Do You Know The Difference

Lab Grown or Mined Diamonds?

Do you know the difference between lab-grown and natural diamonds? 

This has been a hot topic in the fashion world and in-store as well, especially after the Met Gala, where celebrities donned stunning headpieces, beautiful necklaces, and whole tops totally made from lab-grown diamonds. 

While lab diamonds have existed since 1954, they have really come into their own over the last decade, sparking the conversation about how they differ from mined diamonds. We will cover the most commonly asked questions about those differences and what you should know before buying your next piece of diamond jewellery. 

What is a lab grown diamond?

Let's start with the basics, what exactly is a lab grown diamond?

Lab grown diamonds are created in a controlled laboratory setting that mimics the same environmental conditions that form diamonds in the natural environment.

In the natural world, diamonds are formed under extreme heat and pressure around 150-200km below the earth's surface. In a lab with cutting-edge technology, scientists can recreate these same conditions and grow a diamond in a period of a few months rather than millions of years.

There are two main methods of growing diamonds. 

CVD- Chemical Vapour Deposition Method

This method involves breaking down the molecules of a carbon-rich gas, such as methane, into carbon and hydrogen atoms, which are then deposited layer by layer on diamond seeds (very small bits of natural diamond) to produce a square-shaped diamond, which is then cut or shaped. 

HPHT- High Pressure High Temperature

This method involves using a diamond seed and placing it in a large press that produces high temperatures and high pressure. A high-purity carbon source is dissolved in the metalix flux, which is made molten in the process. The carbon atoms crystallise around the diamond seed, forming the lab-grown diamond, which is later cut, polished, and ready for you. 

diamond rings on the fingers of a ladies hands
Leskes Jewellers

Are lab grown diamonds a new trend?

Even though lab-grown diamonds have been around for a while, they have really taken off in the last few years. Even retail giant and jewellery heavyweight Tiffany and Co. has famously reversed its stance on using lab-grown diamonds in its jewellery, stating that its belief now that lab-grown diamonds are a responsible choice aligns with its ongoing commitment to environmental and social responsibilities. 

With the younger generations having such a focus on sustainability, human rights, and ethically sourced goods and services, lab-grown diamonds are certainly a trend that is here to stay.

A common question we answer in-store is whether these diamonds are indeed real diamonds, and the answer is a resounding "YES!" Lab diamonds and mined diamonds possess all the same physical components as mined diamonds. The only difference is the price, with lab-grown diamonds fetching 20-40% less than their natural sisters. This is great news if you want a larger stone, or are working to a tight budget. 

three diamond rings in different cuts
Leskes Jewellers

Why are people put off by lab grown diamonds

There are three main reasons that people are put off by lab grown diamonds:

 1. Perceived Value

Because lab-grown diamonds are manufactured in a lab setting and take significantly less time to create, some people think they are less valuable and do not hold the same status as mined diamonds. 

2. Misinformation about lab-grown diamonds

One of the main reasons people are weary of lab-grown diamonds comes down to awareness. To an uniformed buyer, lab grown diamonds are often thrown into the same category as cubic zirconia or moissanite. They are however very different, and as mentioned before physically the same as mined diamonds.

3. Environmental Concerns

To some the environmental impact of lab produced diamonds is a concern. Because lab-grown diamonds require a significant amount of energy and resources to produce, some customers are concerned about this. It is worth considering, however, the environmental impact that mining has on the planet and how that compares to the energy consumption manufacturing them. There is also the ethical side of diamond mining, with workers often being subject to terrible conditions. 

Diamond rings and a diamond resting on stone tiles
Leskes Jewellers

diamond facts

The word diamond derives from the Greek word ‘adamas’ meaning indomitable and invincible, a fitting name for the hardest natural substance on earth. 

A diamond carat differs from a gold carat. One diamond carat is 200 milligrams (0.007055 oz). The word carat derives from the carob bean. Gem dealers used to balance their scales with carob beans because these beans all have same weight!

The tradition of a  diamond engagement ring  started in 1477 when Archduke Maximillian of Austria gave a diamond engagement ring to Mary of Burgundy.

The Greeks believed diamonds were the tears of the gods, and Romans thought they were shards from the stars.

Many stars have diamond cores. In 2004, astronomers discovered a diamond star that is 10 billion trillion trillion carats. Astronomers named the star “Lucy” after the Beatles song, Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds. According to scientists, eventually, our own sun will turn into one such large diamond star.

The atmosphere of Venus was first analysed through the diamond window of a US spacecraft, as only a diamond had the strength and transparency to endure the pressure in the atmosphere.

The majority of diamonds mined today are used for industrial purposes, and that may also be the very first use of diamonds by humans. Ancient Chinese used diamonds to polish ceremonial burial axes in the late Stone Age, over 4,500 years ago. Today, 80% of mined diamonds (about 100 million carats) are used for cutting, drilling, grinding, and polishing.

A diamond over one carat in weight is one in a million.

Diamonds are extremely rare. If you were to gather together all the diamonds ever polished since the beginning of time, they would fill only one double-decker bus.

diamond rings on the four fingers of a womans hand and a diamond necklace
Leskes Jewellers