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Understanding the Key Differences Between Lab-Grown and Natural Diamonds

March 07, 2024 3 min read

Are you considering purchasing a diamond but unsure whether to go for a lab-grown or a natural stone? Perhaps you’ve heard that there’s no right or wrong, and the choice is simply a matter of personal preference. While this is true to some extent, it’s best to consider all the factors that should ultimately influence your decision.

It's a common dilemma many customers face when they step into our store. Let's delve into the distinctions between these two types of diamonds to help you make an informed purchase.

1. Origin:

Natural diamonds are formed deep within the Earth's mantle under extreme pressure and heat over millions of years. They are composed of carbon atoms arranged in a crystal lattice structure, making them one of the hardest known materials. On the other hand, lab-grown diamonds are created in controlled laboratory environments using advanced technology. They are also made of carbon atoms arranged in a crystal lattice structure, just like natural diamonds.
Despite these differences in formation, the composition of lab-grown diamonds is virtually identical to that of natural diamonds, making them indistinguishable from natural diamonds in terms of their chemical and physical properties.

2. Cost Considerations:

The price gap between lab-grown and natural diamonds has significantly expanded in recent years. Thanks to advancements in technology and increased competition in the market, lab-grown diamonds now offer a more affordable alternative without compromising quality.

For example, when plasma TVs were first introduced in the early 2000s, a 50-inch model could cost up to $18,000. However, as technology improved and supply chains became more efficient, today's 50-inch LCD TVs can be found for approximately $400. This demonstrates the typical trend where advancements in manufacturing technology lead to a decrease in product prices over time.
Similarly, when they were first brought to market, lab-grown diamonds offered a relatively more affordable option, typically priced at 30 to 40% below natural diamonds. For instance, seven to ten years ago, if a natural diamond was valued at $10,000, a lab-grown equivalent could be purchased for $6,000 to $7,000. As technology has progressed and manufacturing costs have decreased, lab-grown diamond costs have significantly decreased as well, so much so that that same stone today could be valued at $500, which means the individual who initially paid up to $7,000 could replace it for just $500.
Not everyone considers their diamond as an investment piece. But if you foresee a future desire to upgrade to a larger center stone, tastes that are likely to change, or even unexpected financial events, then a natural diamond may be the way to go.

3. Ethics and Sustainability:

While it's true that natural diamonds have been traditionally associated with ethical and sustainability concerns, there are efforts within the diamond industry to address these issues and promote responsible sourcing practices. Today’s mining practices prioritize worker safety, community development, and environmental conservation, ensuring minimal impact on ecosystems. Additionally, the natural diamond industry supports local economies by providing jobs and infrastructure development in diamond-rich regions, contributing to social and economic stability. Various transparency initiatives and certifications like those given by the Responsible Jewelry Council (RJC) provide reassurance that natural diamonds have been ethically and sustainably sourced.

Other Factors for Consideration


While origin, cost, and sustainability are the main differentiators between natural and lab-grown stones, there are other factors to consider when purchasing a diamond, regardless of the type.

4. Longevity and Sentimental Value:

Jewelry, especially diamonds, has the unique ability to be cherished and worn daily for decades. Unlike other luxury goods that require periodic replacement, a well-crafted diamond ring can serve as a timeless reminder of special occasions and cherished memories. Cars might break down, furniture may show wear and tear, and handbag trends will come and go, but a diamond lasts forever.

5. Choosing Timeless Designs:

Classic diamond shapes endure the test of time. Opting for timeless designs like round, oval, or emerald cuts ensures your investment retains its allure and appeal for years to come, minimizing potential losses over the long term.

6. Balancing Personal Preference with Value:

While it's essential to choose a diamond that resonates with your personal style and preferences, selecting a classic center stone can offer a balance between aesthetic appeal and potential appreciation in value. If you tend to favor more of-the-moment designs, then let your setting be trendy, but go for a timeless shape for the center diamond.

In conclusion, whether you opt for a lab-grown or natural diamond ultimately depends on your budget, preferences, and long-term goals. By understanding the key differences and considering factors such as cost, origin, and investment potential, you can make a well-informed decision that brings joy and enduring value for years to come.

Still unsure if a lab-grown or natural diamond is the right choice for you? Stop by the store or contact us and we can talk through the decision!

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