Recently, I've been receiving more and more inquiries from people asking if they should purchase a lab-grown diamond instead of a naturally-mined diamond because of its lower price point and lower negative impact on the environment. At nearly half the price with identical physical properties, lab-grown diamonds are a great alternative to mined diamonds. They've existed since the 1970's. Virtually indistinguishable from mined diamonds, their arrival has sparked debate about the definition of a diamond, mining practices of the natural diamond industry, and the environmental implications of both approaches. With that being said, I'll cover the main similarities and differences between lab-grown and naturally-mined diamonds to help you better determine which one you should go with. At the very end, I'll share with you my personal preference and why. Let's dive right into it.
Lab-Grown and Natural Diamond Similarities
Both lab-created diamonds and naturally-mined diamonds are constructed of carbon atoms structures and have the same composition They're both available in a range of shapes and carat weight. Lab-grown manufacturers claim that lab-grown diamonds are sustainable but both lab-grown and naturally-mined diamonds negatively impact the environment. Diamond mining can cause entire ecosystems to collapse and energy sources used to operate diamond mines can create greenhouse gases. Diesel fuels, electricity, and hydrocarbons used in diamond mining release harmful carbons into the air. These chemicals cause smog, climate change, and other environmental hazards yet to be discovered. Lab-grown diamonds are considered sustainable, in that, they don't cause the same level of environmental damage as mining, which requires the removal of earth and consumes freshwater and fossil fuels. However, their carbon footprint isn't exactly great either. Their manufacturing process uses energy generated from fossil fuels, which may create more carbon dioxide emissions than natural diamond mining. The amount of energy required to create lab-grown diamonds is immense.
Lab-Grown and Natural Diamond Differences
Lab-grown diamonds are created in a lab in only a matter of weeks, whereas naturally-mined diamonds are formed under the earth's surface over billions of years. Lab-grown diamonds are mass-produced. Mined diamonds are one-of-a-kind. A lab-grown diamond is priced about 40% lower than a naturally-mined diamond. A popular misconception is that the prices of naturally-mined diamonds decrease over time, but in actuality, they increase over time, whereas a lab-grown diamond decreases over time. Consider this. The technology used in creating these diamonds has advanced, which in turn has caused the price of lab-grown diamonds to decrease in value over time. At this point, lab-grown diamonds have virtually zero resale value as compared to natural diamonds. For instance, if you purchase a lab-grown diamond for $16,000 and the try to sell it later, you might only receive a few thousand dollars for it.
While some lab-grown diamond manufacturers claim that their produced diamonds are an "ethical choice", I prefer to use and purchase natural diamonds due to their societal benefits and lasting value. The journey of natural diamonds to your finger is long and difficult. Some of the world's poorest countries have gained many jobs. In sub-Saharan Africa, diamonds can represent as much as 50% of the country's national revenue and can provide employment to hundreds of thousands of people. In India, the diamond trading and manufacturing industry employs more than a million people. In the last 20 years, the diamond industry has evolved into a more transparent and ethical industry that has far more scrutiny applied to it than ever before. If a client of mine wants to purchase a lab-grown diamond, I will happily source lab-grown diamonds because I want my clients to be happy with their purchases.Comment below and let me know if you prefer either a lab-grown or a naturally-mined diamond.