Diamonds are a girl's best friend. And now that they can be created in an ethical, more affordable way, the old saying is especially true.
With an increase in the production of lab-grown diamonds, fetching an enchanting engagement ring has become more accessible and affordable than ever before, pushing the age-old two-month salary rule to the side.
So what exactly is a lab-grown diamond? And are they real?
Lab-grown diamonds are one hundred per cent unequivocally real, with the same chemical composition and physical properties that natural diamonds possess.
The difference? Natural diamonds are carbon atoms bonded together over millions of years deep within the Earth's mantle, under extreme pressure and heat. Similarly, Lab-grown diamonds are produced in a controlled environment utilising advanced technological processes that follow the same process, but over weeks or months.
How are diamonds 'grown' in a lab?
High-Pressure High Temperature (HPHT)
The technological process involves replicating the natural process. Commonly referred to as High-Pressure High Temperature (HPHT), scientists use a tiny diamond piece, aptly named a 'seed' and place it inside a chamber. Here it is exposed to extreme heat and pressure, causing the atoms within to rearrange and grow into the same structure as a natural diamond.
Chemical Vapour Deposition (CVD)
A newer method Chemical Vapour Deposition (CVD), involves breaking down a carbon-containing gas to deposit each component into the 'seed', allowing it to propagate a larger diamond.
A single lab-grown diamond can take weeks, even months, to grow. But once established, it is polished, allowing it to shine like any other natural diamond.
Why choose a lab-grown diamond?
Each lab-grown diamond is ethically sourced. There is no mining process, so no one has the potential to be harmed––a reason that resonates well with the new generation of diamond shoppers conscious of maintaining a sustainable environment.
Additionally, they benefit from fewer impurities, are available in several colours if desired, and are less expensive––in fact, 20-30% less costly than natural diamonds.
Will my lab-grown diamond be certified?
We've established for all intents and purposes that lab-grown diamonds are real––but for peace of mind, it is essential to address concerns that may beset you or your bride-to-be.
"GIA certified" is a standard reference used by jewellers to refer to natural and lab-grown diamonds that have undergone a rigorous grading process against international standards.
Since 2007, the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) has been grading lab-grown diamonds. 'Beginning July 1, 2019, GIA Laboratory-Grown Diamond Reports and identification reports no longer use the term "synthetic."'
Each GIA Laboratory-Grown Diamond Report includes the 'colour, clarity and cut grading scales for reference purposes.'
However, rather than using the international 4Cs D-to-Z colour grading scale, that begins with colourless (D) and increases in colour to light yellow, brown (Z). The GIA report for lab-grown diamonds uses descriptive terms to identify their colour and clarity.
For added assurance, each report identifies the process used in growing your diamond, whether it be High-Pressure High Temperature (HPHT) or Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD). It will also denote any evidence of post-growth treatments that may change its colour.
If you're considering purchasing a lab-grown diamond, ask your jeweller about certification––it will give you and your fiancée peace of mind.
How much do lab-grown diamonds cost?
Despite looking the same and having the same chemical composition and physical properties as natural diamonds, lab-grown diamonds are much less expensive.
When it comes to colour, cut and clarity, like a natural diamond, the properties of the lab-grown diamond engagement ring you select will reflect the price.
The benefit is that pricing remains stable when it comes to size––one of the elements your fiancée is most likely to consider. For instance, the International Gem Society suggests that 'a round-cut, 2-carat natural diamond starts at about $14,000. You can get a similar lab-grown diamond for about half the cost.'
Protect Your Investment
The decision on whether to purchase a natural or lab-grown diamond is personal and will come down to the fiancé and his fiancée, who will be the one to wear it daily. It is a sentimental investment that holds significant value both emotionally and financially.
You can insure your lab-grown diamond with JewelCover and protect your investment long after she says, Yes!