Gemstone Investing: Lab-Created Diamonds vs Natural Diamonds

Differences between lab-created diamonds and real diamonds

lab created diamondDiamonds are expensive and depending on the quality, can retain their value in the long run. That alone makes them great for investing, and the best part is that you can choose from a wide array of designs too.

You have natural diamonds and lab created diamonds. But which one is a better investment? Before we go into that, we need to understand what a lab diamond is.

What is a lab diamond?                  

As the name suggests, this is a type of diamond created in a lab. They are also called synthetic diamonds. Yet despite the name, these diamonds are the real deal, because they do have the same crystal lattice structure that the natural diamonds have.

Most gem quality diamonds are mined by 7 countries with Russia leading the pack with over 23 Million Carats per year followed by Botswana with 15 Million Carats mined per year. Plus, some of the diamonds are mined using hefty machinery in one place, others will be acquired from alluvial deposits via simpler tools. Once you cut diamonds, they are pretty much the same rock, even the synthetic ones. But their origin can be significantly different here.

How is a lab diamond created?

As you can imagine, there are multiple methods one can use to create a lab diamond. One of them would be the use of high-pressure, high temperature. Here the engineers create a combination of diamond and carbon; then they use high pressure and high heat to create the diamond crystals.

There’s also another process which is called chemical vapor deposition. In this case, the manufacturer takes a small diamond crystal seed, and he grows the diamond one layer at a time. The entire process takes place in a dedicated chamber that offers all the necessary manufacturing conditions.

Creating a lab diamond is not as expensive as it once was. In fact, lab diamonds are up to 40% less expensive, and that’s felt in the sales price too. It’s the combination of clarity, color and size that will dictate the price most of the time. That being said, you will notice that it’s hard to obtain a VS or better clarity in the lab, which is why these lab diamonds tend to be very rare.

Distinguishing between a lab diamond and a natural diamond is very difficult due to the fact that they are identical in chemical composition and physical crystalline structure.  There are several tests that gemologists can perform however, the only way to tell for sure whether your diamond is a natural diamond is to ship your diamond to a specialized lab for Photoluminescence Spectroscopy and UV Radiation testing. DeBeers and the Gemological Institute of America have developed incredibly sophisticated testing equipment with names like DiamondView, DiamondSure, and DiamondCheck.

What can you use a lab diamond for?

Most of the time lab diamonds are intended for engagement rings. Some people consider them more ethical and ecologically friendly; they are also seen as unique and less expensive. It’s that combination of benefits that make a lot of people opt for lab diamonds instead of natural ones.

But should you invest in lab diamonds? It all comes down to your own belief. As we mentioned earlier, if you cut the diamonds you won’t see any difference between a natural and lab-created one. However, it’s still important to make sure that you invest in real diamonds. While lab diamonds are great, investors will always want to opt for the real deal. This way they can avoid any potential problems that may appear on the market. Make sure you keep that in mind before you start investing in diamonds!

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