Lab Grown Diamonds

Diamonds that are man-made in a laboratory are becoming increasingly popular. Many jewellery companies are starting to make jewellery out of them. The awareness of the existence of such diamonds is slowly growing among the customers of the largest jewellers. Continuous progress in production makes them cheaper and cheaper. Although, unlike natural diamonds, they cannot be treated as an investment of capital, they have permanently found their place on the diamond market. Therefore, it is worth learning more about them.

A method of producing laboratory diamonds

Diamonds produced in laboratories and used in industry for the first time appeared in the 1950s. The first gemstone of jewellery quality was grown in 1971. However, it was not until 2015 that diamonds were laboratory grown for the use in jewellery on a large scale.

Two methods are used to produce synthetic diamonds:

1. HPHT (High pressure, high temperature). A method taken from nature. Like natural diamonds, stones created in a laboratory are created by high pressure and heat.

2. CVD (The chemical vapor deposition). The method consists in breaking down carbon-rich gas, e.g. methane, into carbon and hydrogen atoms. Then the diamond structure begins to build from the carbon atoms.

Regardless of the method chosen - it takes about a month to produce a diamond. It is worth knowing that uncut synthetic diamonds will differ in the shape of a diamond crystal from natural uncut diamonds.

Graph 1. Differences in diamond shapes depending on the process of its creation

Źródło: https://www.gia.edu/gia-news-research/difference-between-natural-laboratory-grown-diamonds#

Synthetic diamonds differ from natural diamonds mainly in that they were produced by man, in a laboratory, in a very short time. They did not form inside the Earth for billions of years. Along with the price, these are the main significant differences between natural and synthetic stones.

There are no visible visual differences between synthetic and natural diamonds after they have been cut. A gemmologist will need professional equipment to distinguish between these two types of stones. Only with magnification will he be able to see tiny inclusions, characteristic of diamonds grown in a laboratory.

The certificate of each diamond must contain information about its origin, therefore checking this document is the easiest way to distinguish between synthetic and natural stones.

Despite the lack of differences that cannot be identified without expert opinions and documents, natural diamonds are more expensive than diamonds produced in a laboratory.

However, consumers are guided by different reasons. Therefore, those who are guided by, for example, price, will choose diamonds grown in a laboratory. For others, other characteristics of natural diamonds will be more important and will draw their attention.

Just a few years ago, the price of synthetic diamonds was higher than that of natural diamonds. Today, stones produced in the laboratory are on average 30-50% cheaper.

It should also be remembered that the prices of laboratory diamonds are for the primary market. If you want to resell an artificial diamond, you should take into account that you will receive just a small percentage of it from the price at which it had been purchased.

This is due to the fact that the prices on the primary market of laboratory-grown stones are falling due to technological development and faster and cheaper production. It works with more force on the aftermarket. Just at the very moment when it is being bought from a retailer, a diamond grown in a laboratory is worth a fraction of the price it was purchased at.

Chart 1. Prices of natural and artificial diamonds in 2019 at selected retailers (in USD)

Źródło: https://www.cleanorigin.com/comparison/

* 1,48 - 1,52 carat round stone in F color, VS2 clarity & minimum very good cut grade

** 1,98 - 2,02 carat round stone in H color, VS1 clarity & minimum very good cut grade

Looking at the history of the price of natural diamonds, we can observe an increase, while the prices of lab-grown diamonds continue to fall. It is most likely that this scenario will be maintained in the future.

The most important differences between natural diamonds and LAGs

Both types of stones have found their place on the market. This is due to the fact that consumers are guided by different needs when making a purchase. Those for whom diamonds are an investment of capital - will choose natural stones. On the other hand, those for whom the fact whether a diamond was created in a laboratory or extracted from the inside of the Earth does not matter so much, and what matters most is the fact that it is much cheaper and visually identical (at first glance) - will choose the LAG.

Table 1. Differences between diamonds

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Fancy Colour Diamonds

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