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Lab-grown diamonds are rising in popularity for several reasons. For one, natural diamonds and their laboratory-born cousins appear to be twins to the everyday consumer. This is because they have the same chemical composition and the same sparkly charm. But, when it comes down to it, their price tags may be quite different: lab-grown diamonds cost significantly less than their ancient natural counterparts.

But will lab-grown diamonds hold their value?

In most cases, probably not. But why? In this article, we'll first define lab-grown diamonds and examine how they differ from natural stones. And then, we'll help you decide which gemstone is right for you.

What is a Lab-Grown Diamond?

Before we discuss how lab-created diamonds are made, it's essential to know about the origins of natural diamonds because the process is highly similar, except one occurs in nature, and the other happens in a laboratory.

Mined Diamonds 

Diamonds formed deep within the earth over a billion years ago when carbon dioxide was exposed to extreme heat and pressure. Later on, volcanic explosions transport the stones from the earth's core up to the surface, where they are mined. 

Lab-Created Diamonds

There are currently two methodologies labs use for growing diamonds: High Pressure-High Temperature (HPHT) and Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD).

With HPHT, a diamond seed is exposed to extremely high pressure and temperature using a belt press, a cubic press or a split-sphere (BARS) press. Using temperatures around 1500 degrees Celsius and pressures up to 1.5 million pounds per square inch, the process melts the pure carbon, which begins to form a diamond around the starter seed.

CVD diamonds start out as thin slices of a diamond seed (often created using HPHT). Lab workers place the diamond seed in a sealed chamber and heat it to around 800 degrees Celsius. In addition to heat, the chamber encloses carbon-rich gases ionised into plasma. The ionisation breaks the molecular bonds in the gases, causing the carbon to adhere to the diamond seed and eventually crystalise. 

How are Lab-Created Diamonds Graded and Certified?

Lab-grown diamonds receive the same grading and certification as mined diamonds. They're sent to a gem lab that specialises in grading diamonds. These are the most popular: 

  • Gemological Institute of America (GIA)
  • Antwerp World Diamond Center (AWDC)
  • American Gem Society (AGS)
  • International Gemological Institute (IGI)
  • Gemological Science International (GSI)

Although they have slightly different processes and benchmarks, the labs all provide roughly the same information. First, each diamond is graded independently by several gemologists, and then the individual grades are compiled and analysed to receive an unbiased grade. 

Labs evaluate diamonds using the 4 C's: cut, clarity, colour and carat. In essence, they grade diamonds on how well they have been chiselled from their raw form into polished jewels.

That doesn't mean that each lab would grade a particular diamond precisely the same way. Generally speaking, a diamond retailer chooses to use a lab they know and trust. But, do you trust the information? If diamond certification is critical to your purchase, talk with your jeweller about which lab they use and why.

More than anything, a good jeweller wants you to be happy with your purchase, so don't be afraid to ask questions.

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The Bottom Line: Do Lab-Grown Diamonds Hold Their Value?

Lab-grown diamonds are forever, but their value could be impacted by the brand of the supplier and the treatments used to grow and/or enhance aspects of the stone. It is more likely that lab-grown diamonds will not hold their value as methods of manufacturing improve. However, a big impact is not so much the stone itself but rather the jewellery that it sits in. A number of big named brands are playing with lab-grown diamonds and as well all appreciate, we are buying their style and brand rather than the product that it is intrinsically made from.

Why Might You Choose a Lab-Grown Diamond Over a Natural One?

People have very different priorities when it comes to jewellery purchases. Here are a couple of reasons you might opt for a lab-grown diamond.

Cost

How much will you save by choosing a lab-grown diamond? For most sizes and shapes, you can expect to save about 30 per cent. That's not pocket change. With the money you save, you could splurge on the precious metal (platinum!) or put more toward a deposit on a mortgage.

Ethics

Mined diamonds can require moving tons of earth, literally. Such a process can consume plenty of fossil fuels in addition to disrupting the environment. Some people choose lab-grown diamonds because they prefer to not contribute to the ramifications of diamond mining. 

The factors that we must not forget however, is that diamond mining also contributes to communities in countries who desperately rely on this income to survive and create a better life for themselves. Diamond mining in Africa is crucial for the lives of millions of people who benefit from this industry. There have been enormous advancements in protecting the environment and the work conditions of those involved in the mining of diamonds. 

Through the work of the World Diamond Council with the Kimberly Process, the diamond world recognised the need to stop this resource funding terrorism, child labour and unethical environmental practices. They have achieved great success and continue to do so.

Lab-Grown vs Mined

Ultimately, the choice between lab-created and mined diamonds boils down to personal preference. You might choose a natural diamond because you love the idea of sporting an ancient gemstone with mysterious origins. On the other hand, you might love to signify your modern love with today's unique technology. 

Either way, the true significance of your diamond isn't its origin, and it's not how much you paid. Ultimately, it's special because of the love it represents.

When you find the perfect diamond, protect it with Q Report insurance. You won't find more comprehensive cover or better customer service. To learn more, ring us at 1300 882 018 or start an online quote!

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Engagement Ring Budget Calculator

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