In 2020, more lab diamonds were purchased by consumers than in any year before. Lab diamonds are becoming more and more popular to jewelry shoppers and that is a trend that looks like it will continue in 2021.
This has many people wondering, if I’m in the market for a beautiful piece of diamond jewelry or an engagement ring, should I buy a lab grown diamonds or an earth diamond? Let’s look at the pros and cons.
How are Lab Diamonds and Earth Diamonds Similar?
Let’s start with what is the same about both of these types of stones. First and foremost, they are both real diamonds. Some people may try to convince you that since lab diamonds aren’t mined from the earth, they are not real, but that is not the case. In 2018 the FTC changed it’s definition of a diamond to remove the word natural. This is because the chemical makeup of a lab diamond and an earth diamond are identical.
Additionally, to the eye no one would ever be able to tell the difference between a lab diamond and an earth diamond. They sparkle the same, the have the same types of color and clarity, they are cut the same and come in the same sizes.
If you’re wondering if this is true for other common diamond replacements like cubic zirconia or moissanite, it is not. CZ and moissanite are diamond simulants, which means that while they may look similar, they have a different chemical makeup. Lab diamonds are made by replicating the process that earth diamonds are made – subjecting carbon to intense pressures and heats for a significant amount of time. That’s why they product the same chemical output. CZ and moissanite are completely different materials, down to the atom.
How are Lab Diamonds and Earth Diamonds Different?
While appearing identical, there are still. A few differences between earth and lab diamonds. They typically fall into three categories: Rarity, sustainability and cost.
Earth diamonds are rarer than lab diamonds
Realistically speaking, lab diamonds aren’t as rare as earth diamonds because they can be made in a lab. Right now, there are more earth diamonds than lab diamonds in the world, but that’s just because diamonds have been mined from the earth for hundreds of years, and they’ve only been grown in labs more recently. Furthermore, lab diamonds have only become commercialized to consumers in the past decade. If you’re looking for rarity, you might want to buy an earth diamond.
Lab diamonds are more sustainable than earth diamonds
Along the same lines of the rarity – think about how earth diamonds are mined. It takes thousands of people to dig into holes and caves deep into the earth, often without a guarantee of finding anything. That take a significant amount of time, money and energy. Eventually, all of the diamonds will run out of these mines and it will only become tougher to produce earth diamonds.
Lab diamonds on the other hand are significantly more sustainable than earth diamonds. They are created in labs using commonly found elements on earth like carbon and natural gases. It usually takes weeks to months to grow and can be replicated time and time again without running out.
Earth Diamonds are more expensive than lab diamonds
Simply put, the costs of producing gem-worthy earth diamonds is significantly higher than the cost of producing gem-worthy diamonds from a lab. These costs are passed onto the consumer, making lab diamond much 30% cheaper than earth diamonds. Let’s look at a comparison of similar diamonds from online diamond retailer, Ritani.
1.12 Carat Lab Diamond – $2,311
- Cut – Ideal
- Color – F
- Clarity – VVS1
1.12 Carat Earth Diamond – $8,470
- Cut – Ideal
- Color – F
- Clarity – VVS1
Identical diamonds in each area of the Four Cs, but the lab diamond is $6,000 cheaper.
Should you buy a lab diamonds or earth diamond?
Ultimately, the choice is yours. If you want a stone that is rarer and potentially worth more in the long term, an earth diamond is the choice for you. If you are looking for a less expensive option while maintaining the quality of a traditional diamond, than yes, you should.