Published on September 16th, 2023
Lab-grown diamonds’ popularity continues to skyrocket. Lab diamonds are “real” diamonds that share the same chemical composition, optical properties, and physical features as natural diamonds.
They’re an affordable alternative to natural diamonds and have plenty of other benefits.
The first lab-made diamonds were made by GE in 1954, but it took years to perfect the process to create gem-quality lab-made diamonds that you see today.
The process to create a lab grown diamond is somewhat similar to the process of creating natural diamonds – however one occurs within the earth’s crust and the other is in a laboratory.
The manufacturing process for lab diamonds replicates conditions used to create a natural diamond (extreme temperatures and pressures that turn carbon into a diamond).
If you’re wondering if lab grown diamond engagement rings are a sustainable choice, the answer is “yes”. In this article, we’ll tell you why…
The resources necessary to produce a laboratory gem are less than the damage from natural mining operations that impact ecosystems, wildlife, and human populations.
Two common natural diamond mining methods, open-pit and underground diamond mining, hurt the environment. Open-pit diamond mining requires digging large pits up to hundreds of meters deep.
They dig up millions of years worth of sediments and displace hundreds of acres of earth. This devastates the natural environment and disrupts fragile ecosystems, which impacts the area’s wildlife.
Underground mining begins once an open-pit mine has been depleted or when the diamonds are located too deep below the surface to reach through an open pit. This process costs more than open-pit mining.
Natural diamond mining also emits carbon. Mining companies typically move about 250 tons of earth per carat of mined diamond. Moving this much digging requires substantial amounts of fossil fuel resources.
Plus, using fossil fuels releases carbon and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. It also requires energy to run the diamond mining facilities.
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Another benefit of lab diamond engagement rings is that they’re conflict-free and you know exactly where they were made.
Conflict diamonds (also called “blood” diamonds) refer to gemstones that are mined in war zones to perpetuate war or to fund warlords and insurgents. Many diamond origins are unknown. Choosing lab grown diamond rings means you aren’t supporting conflict diamonds.
Quality And Purity
Lab grown diamond engagement rings are virtually indistinguishable from sparklers with natural diamonds.
The quality, purity, and brilliance between the two are the same. The only way one could distinguish a lab grown diamond from a natural diamond is with the help of a professional.
Natural diamonds will have tiny amounts of nitrogen, whereas a lab grown diamond engagement ring will not.
Selecting a lab diamond engagement ring allows you to get a bigger diamond for an affordable price.
They typically cost 30-50% less than earth-mined diamonds because the manufacturing process cuts out lengthy supply chains and eliminates expensive mining costs.
Certification And Traceability
Look for certified lab diamonds if you’re browsing for loose diamonds. This means that the diamond is verified as being either 100% natural or lab-grown and that the quality of the diamond (color, clarity, and often cut) meets a certain standard according to a qualified, experienced gemologist.
Well-known organizations that grade diamonds include GIA (Gemological Institute of America) and the International Gemological Institute (IGI).
GIA has graded laboratory-grown diamonds since 2007. Certification also ensures that you can pinpoint the origin of the diamond – they’re traceable and conflict-free.
As of 2022, lab-created diamonds accounted for nearly 10% of diamond sales, and their popularity is growing tremendously. More budget-conscious and socially-conscious couples help increase the demand for lab diamonds.
Some couples prefer a diamond with a known origin to prove that it’s not part of any conflict in another country.
Others appreciate the environmental benefits – the resources used to create natural diamonds do not include limited natural resources.
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The Demand For Lab Diamonds Will Continue To Rise
They have the same chemical composition, optical properties, and physical features as natural diamonds, and the only way to distinguish between the two is with a microscope.
Natural diamonds have tiny traces of nitrogen, but lab-made diamonds do not. Many budget-conscious couples appreciate the affordability and hope to get a bigger diamond for less money.
Plus, lab-grown diamonds are ethically sourced and environmentally friendly. The resources necessary to produce a laboratory gem are less than the damage from natural mining operations that impact ecosystems, wildlife, and human populations.
It’s also nice to pinpoint the origin of a lab-made diamond, which is often a part of lab diamond certification.
Look for lab-grown diamonds that have GIA (Gemological Institute of America) or International Gemological Institute (IGI) certification so you can confirm the quality and origin.
Feature Image Credit: withclarity.com