Lab-Grown Diamonds vs. Natural Diamonds

Lab-grown diamonds have grown in popularity, offering exceptional beauty and value. If you’re considering these alternatives to natural diamonds, come to The Vault Jewelry and Loan. We’ve been buying, selling and pawning high-value luxury items like diamonds since 1989. We are licensed, bonded and insured and will provide expert recommendations.

What Is a Lab-Grown Diamond?

Lab-grown diamonds, also known as artisan or cultured diamonds, are created in a controlled laboratory setting. They have the same physical and chemical properties as their natural counterparts, making lab-grown diamonds just as real as the ones that come from the earth. Like natural diamonds, these gemstones also come with certifications from the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) and the International Gemological Institute (IGI).

How Are Lab-Grown Diamonds Created?

Lab-grown diamonds are created in a lab setting that mimics the amount of pressure natural diamonds undergo when being formed. To produce a lab-grown diamond, a seed from a natural diamond or an already-formed lab-grown diamond is carefully chosen. The seed acts as a catalyst for the growth and crystallization process.

Two processes can be used to create a lab-grown diamond.

Chemical Vapor Deposition Diamonds

The chemical vapor deposition (CVD) method requires that the diamond seed be placed in a small vacuum chamber. The chamber, which is filled with carbon-rich gases, gets heated up to ionize the gases. When the gases reach the right temperature, carbon atoms start to deposit on the seed and form diamond crystals. As the layers continue to accumulate, it creates a diamond.

High-Pressure, High-Temperature Diamond

Diamonds can also be formed through the high-pressure, high-temperature process. Just like the CVD method, this process recreates the natural environment and conditions needed to create natural diamonds. A small diamond seed enters a high-pressure press where it is exposed to carbon, catalyst materials and extremely high temperatures. These elements cause crystallization to occur around the seed, forming a diamond.

Pros and Cons of Lab-Grown Diamonds

If you’re thinking about purchasing a lab-grown diamond, there are a few pros and cons to keep in mind:

  • Price: Because lab-grown diamonds can be made at any time and don’t require thousands of years to form, they are available for a much lower price than natural diamonds. These alternatives are a great value for discerning buyers wanting to enjoy the same quality and beauty for less.
  • Rarity: Lab-grown diamonds are not as rare as natural diamonds. Since they can be grown quickly, they hold less value than a natural diamond over time.
  • Quality control: Like natural diamonds, lab-grown diamonds are evaluated based on the traditional “Four C’s” — carat weight, color, clarity and cut. These criteria ensure that each gem is carefully monitored for quality control and will offer exceptional beauty, hardness and durability.
  • Sustainable and ethical: Since no mining is involved in creating a lab-grown diamond, they are seen as a more ethical alternative. Both methods for creating lab-grown diamonds require high heat and large amounts of energy, which can have an environmental impact.

What Is a Natural Diamond?

A natural diamond is formed deep within the earth over thousands of years. They are made up of pure carbon deposits that are subjected to temperature and pressure in the earth’s crust.

After the diamonds have formed, molten rock from volcanic eruptions carries them to the earth’s surface, where they can be mined, cut and refined.

Because they can look nearly identical once refined and polished, one way to differentiate a natural diamond from a lab-grown diamond is by looking for the presence of nitrogen. A natural diamond will have small amounts of nitrogen, but lab-grown diamonds won’t have any.

Pros and Cons of Natural Diamonds

Individuals considering natural diamonds should also weigh the pros and cons, especially because there are some notable differences between lab-grown and natural diamonds:

  • Price: Natural diamonds come with a much higher price tag than their lab-grown counterparts. You can expect to pay more than double what you would for a similar lab-grown diamond.
  • Rarity: Because diamonds are so rare and there is a finite supply of them, they hold their value very well. Every natural diamond forms under distinct geological conditions, so every gem is unique.
  • Long-term value: While they are often more expensive, natural diamonds usually hold their value well over time, which makes them a good investment. Sometimes, diamonds will even increase in value.
  • Durability: Due to the way they are formed, natural diamonds are extremely hard and durable — and known as the hardest natural substance on earth. This hardness helps them resist damage like scratching and scuffing.
  • Environmental: Obtaining natural diamonds involves mining, which can have a negative environmental impact. The process can disrupt the local ecosystems and cause soil erosion, harming the environment.

Explore the Diamond Selection at The Vault Jewelry and Loan

At The Vault Jewelry and Loan, you’ll find high-end luxury goods like diamond jewelry and gemstones — all for the best deal. Enjoy the best quality while negotiating the fairest price. If you have any questions, we encourage you to contact us today at 703-379-1006 or by filling out our online contact form.

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