What Is The Difference Between Lab vs. Natural Diamonds?
Have you heard of Lab Grown Diamonds? Do you want to know what they are, how they stack up against Natural Diamonds, and what Lab Diamond prices are? Read on to learn the differences between Lab vs Natural Diamonds, and decide which you think wins. Because, at the end of the day, it’s your opinion that really matters!
What is a Lab Diamond?
- Lab Grown Diamonds are real diamonds.
- Lab Diamonds and Natural Diamonds are basically the same, both chemically and visually.
A “Lab Diamond” is just like a Natural Diamond, except instead of growing in the Earth, they grow in a lab. There is no visual difference in Lab Created Diamonds vs Natural Diamonds. They sparkle the same, have the same types of color and clarity, and can come in the same sizes and shapes. Likewise, Lab Grown Diamonds are just as hard as Natural Diamonds.
Is a Lab Diamond Fake?
No. A Lab Diamond is a real diamond. Because Lab Grown Diamonds have the same chemical and visual properties as Natural Diamonds, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) even recognized Lab Diamonds as real in 2018.
How is a Lab Diamond different from Cubic Zirconia (CZ) and Moissanite?
Cubic Zirconia and Moissanite are diamond simulants. This means that although clear in color like a diamond, they are not the same chemical substance as a diamond.
Lab Diamond vs Cubic Zirconia (CZ)
- CZ is softer than Diamond, and will scratch with wear.
Cubic Zirconia (CZ) is a lab gem that was first made in 1976. There is no such thing as natural CZ. CZ can be completely colorless or a variety of colors. It is flawless. CZ produces more colored light (or “fire”) than diamond does, however it reflects less light in general. Importantly, CZ is nowhere near as hard as diamond. So, over time, CZ often develops unsightly scratches and wear. Diamond, on the other hand, is the hardest substance known to man, and will resist showing wear.
Lab Diamonds vs Moissanite
- Like a firework, Moissanite sparkles WAY more than Diamond.
Moissanite can be natural, but it is rare. Instead, scientists create Moissanite for jewelry. At a hardness of 9.25/10, Moissanite is much harder than CZ, but still softer than 10/10 Diamond. Moissanite can be colorless and near colorless. It shows MUCH more colored sparkle (“fire”) than CZ or Diamond. For those looking for an alternative to a Natural Diamond, Moissanite’s hardness and sparkle make it a good engagement stone option to consider, along with Lab Diamonds.
What are the differences between Lab Diamonds vs Natural Diamonds?
Although there is no difference in appearance between high quality Natural Diamonds vs Lab Diamonds, there are big differences in cost, value, rarity, and sustainability.
- High Quality Lab Diamonds and Natural Diamonds look exactly the same.
- Lower clarity Lab Diamonds have a few inclusions that do not occur in Natural diamonds.
There is no difference in look between high quality Lab Diamonds vs Natural Diamonds. Both Natural and Lab Grown Diamonds can be colorless or near colorless. They both can also be a variety of candy colors. Likewise, both Lab Diamonds and Natural Diamonds come in all standard shapes such as round, princess, oval, marquise, pear, cushion, radiant, emerald, and asscher. The sparkle and brilliance of Lab and Natural Diamonds are the same. High Quality stones are identical in look. Lower clarity lab diamonds (those where inclusions are visible to the naked eye) may have different inclusions than their natural counterparts.
Lab Diamonds Price
- Lab Diamonds cost much less than Natural Diamonds.
As you’d expect, Lab Diamonds cost significantly less than Natural Diamonds. This is because we depend upon Mother Nature to create Natural Diamonds, whereas we make our own Lab Diamonds. High quality Lab Grown Diamonds are fairly new. So, Lab Diamond prices have been changing a bit in the last few years. Currently, in a comparison between Lab Diamonds vs Natural Diamonds of similar size, cut, color, and clarity, a Lab Diamond is approximately 30-50% of the price of a Natural Diamond. For example, the stones shown above were listed at:
|Natural||Round||Excellent||G||VS2||6.63 x 6.68 x 4.14mm||$7,713|
|Lab||Round||Excellent||G||VS2||6.72 x 6.75 x 4.15mm||$3,776|
- The long-term value of Lab Diamonds is not yet settled.
- High quality Natural Diamond values have stayed fairly consistent.
Because high quality Lab Diamonds are newcomers to jewelry, and new Lab Diamond brands are launching regularly, the long-term value of Lab Grown Diamonds is not yet settled. That is to say, in the future, technology could advance and Lab Diamond prices could decrease, lowering the value of previously sold Lab Diamonds. Or, on the other hand, as couples learn more about the benefits of Lab Diamonds, demand could rise, increasing values.
With the creation of Lab Diamonds, and the changing needs of millennial buyers, demand for Natural Diamonds has decreased. However, with rising education on diamond grading, and the invention of diamond grading tools like ASET Scopes, the Natural Diamonds purchased today are of much higher quality than ever before. So, high quality Natural Diamond values have stayed fairly consistent.
Grading and Certification
- As of August 11, 2020, GIA now certifies both Natural and Lab Diamonds. You can also choose GCAL or IGI Certifications for Lab Diamonds.
Almost all gem labs grade Natural Diamonds on the D-Z color and FL-I3 clarity scales. Many gem labs grade Lab Diamonds differently. For more information read this article from GIA.
Are Lab Diamonds flawless?
Not usually! Unlike flawless Cubic Zirconia (CZ) and Moissanite, Lab Diamonds, just like Natural Diamonds, typically have internal marks that gemologists call “inclusions.” These inclusions are a diamond’s birthmarks. Because Lab Diamonds are also crystal carbon, they have the same types of inclusions as Natural Diamonds, like feathers, clouds, and pinpoints. I am asked sometimes if I can tell real vs. lab diamond by a stone’s inclusions. The answer is, sometimes.
Because of the way Lab Diamonds are made, certain Lab Grown Diamonds have small metallic inclusions and flux-like inclusions that mined diamonds do not. Also, due to the way some lab grown diamonds are laser engraved with their inscription, some lab diamonds also show reflections of their black certification number.
Why do couples choose Lab Diamonds?
- Couples choose Lab Diamonds because they are less expensive and sustainable.
Couples choose Lab Diamonds for a variety of reasons. Cost is king to many newly engaged couples. A big look for less money? Yes, please! As Lab Diamonds vs Natural Diamonds are indistinguishable, many couples feel there’s no reason to pay more money for a natural, mined stone.
Other couples like knowing that their Lab Diamond did not need to be mined from the Earth. This can be due to their preference that the Earth be left in its natural state, or because they want diamonds free from conflict.
Why do couples choose Natural Diamonds?
- Couples choose Natural Diamonds because they are traditional, rare, and mysterious.
Like Lab Grown Diamonds, couples have different reasons for choosing Natural Diamonds. For some, it is a family tradition. Others really enjoy wearing something that is so rare. For many, it is the mystique that the Earth produced this clear, sparkly gemstone. These couples enjoy learning about the nuances of their specific stone, and how it could have formed that way. Finally, some couples feel it is a matter of value, and the consistency in Natural Diamond pricing is a comfort.
Will people know if I have a Lab Diamond?
No! Not unless you tell them. There’s no visual difference between Lab Diamonds vs Natural Diamonds to the naked eye. So, can you tell real vs lab diamond? Not without a diamond lab in your back pocket!
Can you help me choose the right Lab Diamond?
Of course! We would love to discuss the benefits of Lab Diamonds vs Natural Diamonds with you and help you pick the perfect stone! Send me a message at this link to ask for more information and for our available inventory.