Lab Grown Diamonds Vs. Natural Diamonds
The jewellery industry has always been one full of innovation, with popular designs and trends ever-changing.
One element of jewellery design that has soared in popularity in recent years is the use of lab grown diamonds over natural stones, especially in mass-produced jewellery.
If you’re looking to invest in a new piece of diamond jewellery and are considering choosing a lab grown diamond, it’s certainly worth weighing up the differences between the two before making an informed decision. Read on for our guide to lab grown vs natural diamonds.
What are lab grown diamonds?
Lab grown diamonds – often referred to as synthetic diamonds – are an artificially-created alternative to the classic precious gemstone.
The popularity of lab grown diamonds has increased sharply during the previous decade, but they have actually been in circulation for much longer.
The earliest examples of lab grown diamonds can be traced back to the 1940s but weren’t widely available commercially until the 1980s, when the manufacturing process was first refined to a point that lab grown diamonds were attractive enough for use in jewellery.
How are lab grown diamonds made?
Lab grown diamonds have been produced using a range of different techniques over the years, with varying degrees of success.
The current method favoured by manufacturers is to replicate the natural forming process of diamonds by using specially designed heavy-duty machinery, a process known as Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD).
Genuine diamonds are formed through carbon deposits being exposed to intense pressure and high temperatures over hundreds, though often millions, of years. This process is recreated within a laboratory by placing a tiny piece of a genuine diamond into a sealed chamber, which is then filled with carbon-rich gas and heated to around 800°c.
This causes the gases to ‘stick’ to the diamond sample, leading to the diamond growing atom by atom. This process can often lead to the completion of a new diamond in under a month.
So, how do synthetic diamonds compare to authentic diamonds on other key factors?
Cost of lab grown diamonds vs natural
While you’d be forgiven for assuming that lab grown diamonds are likely to cost a fraction of the price of authentic diamonds, this isn’t always the case.
Despite their wider availability and shorter manufacturing process, the cost of lab-grown diamonds runs at just as wide a range as authentic diamonds, generally costing multiple thousands of pounds depending on shape, clarity and carat weight.
Value of natural vs lab grown diamonds
While lab grown diamonds, like their natural counterparts, often come with a sizeable price tag, they differ wildly when it comes to resale value.
The value of natural diamonds varies depending on not only the shape, clarity and carat weight of a stone, but also its age.
A diamond that was more recently produced is likely to carry a substantial resale value, while antique and vintage diamonds like the pieces at Gatsby Jewellery tend to hold their value.
Some antique diamonds even increase in value over time. While natural diamonds can often be resold for a substantial return, the same can’t be said for lab grown diamonds, which hold little to no value and are generally rejected by professional jewellers in the event that you are looking to sell.
This is due to the wide availability of lab-grown diamonds. Synthetic diamonds can be quickly and fairly easily mass-produced, leaving professional jewellers uninterested in purchasing these stones secondhand.
Longevity of lab grown vs natural diamonds
Diamonds are famously viewed as the strongest substance on earth – but could lab-grown diamonds carry the same reputation?
If you’re looking to invest in a piece of diamond jewellery, you likely want to ensure that your purchase is built to last.
When it comes to the longevity of natural diamonds, there’s no disputing that these mesmerising gemstones – if cared for correctly – can maintain their high quality and incredible shine for hundreds of years.
Some of the diamonds at Gatsby Jewellery – such as this stunning Victorian 2.06 carat diamond cluster ring, circa 1865 – are well over a century old. However, thanks to the enduring beauty of natural diamonds, they are just as dazzling as the day they were mined.
While lab-grown diamonds have identical chemical properties to natural diamonds and generally look like the real thing, the difference in the way that they are created may have an impact on their longevity and durability over time.
While every effort has been made to replicate the natural diamond-forming process as closely as possible, the use of a man-made manufacturing style means that there’s always room for error. A lab-grown diamond may appear sparkling when new, though there’s always a chance that its dazzling look will fade over time.
For true longevity, you are always better off with a natural diamond.
Are lab grown diamonds more sustainable than natural diamonds?
Lab grown diamonds aren’t necessarily the most sustainable choice.
While it’s certainly true that mining for new diamonds has a detrimental effect on the environment, lab grown diamonds aren’t without their own sizeable carbon footprint.
Most factories manufacturing lab grown diamonds in the world today are powered using energy generated by fossil fuels, giving them a carbon footprint that may well rival that of diamond mining.
If the reason that you are considering purchasing lab grown diamonds is due to their lower environmental impact, keep in mind that this may not be the case.
For a sustainable option, consider purchasing pre-loved diamond jewellery. By taking advantage of the abundance of stunning second-hand vintage diamonds in circulation, you’ll be doing your part to extend their lifetime and reduce the demand for newly mined natural diamonds or for the creation of new lab-grown diamonds using powerful fuel-powered generators.
Are lab grown diamonds better than natural diamonds?
There’s no black or white winner in the debate between lab grown and natural diamonds, as every person in the market to purchase diamond jewellery has different needs.
However, when comparing the rarity, value and longevity of the two, we can confidently say that antique natural diamonds come out on top.
There’s something so very special about vintage diamond jewellery like the pieces within the Gatsby Jewellery collection.
Not only were antique diamond rings, necklaces and such created using a level of craftsmanship rarely seen within modern mass-produced pieces, but you can guarantee that the diamond at its core was formed by nature over many years – the story behind every authentic diamond is entirely unique.
Antique diamond rings with Gatsby Jewellery
At Gatsby Jewellery, we offer hundreds of incredible antique and vintage diamond jewellery pieces from throughout history, with the pieces within our mesmerising collection dating back to the Georgian period.