Growth of the Lab-Grown Diamond Market



growth of the lab diamond market

Lab grown meat has been a concept that has been tossed around in recent years, but have you heard about the lab grown diamond? Though it may sound like a strange concept, it could potentially have impactful benefits when it comes to your wallet and budget. If you were being proposed to, would you be as okay with a lab grown diamond as you would be with a traditional one? If you were the one proposing, would you consider a lab grown diamond as an option? Not sure? This article can help you make a more informed decision.

What is a Lab Grown Diamond?

lab grown blue diamond

According to Nathan Alan Jewelers, lab grown diamonds are pretty much exactly the same as traditional ones. Besides being grown in a lab, they have the same chemical, physical, and optical make up. Of course, there is that one glaring difference that may make potential buyers wary, the being grown in the lab part.  Knowing how something is made could ease these worries a bit. Let’s address that next.

How is a Lab Grown Diamond Made?

small lab grown diamonds

Besides the obvious difference that lab grown diamonds are made in a laboratory and traditional ones are mined, lab grown diamonds can be made using one of two processes called Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD) and High Pressure High Temperature (HPHT).  Brides.com explains the process of Chemical Vapor Deposition as “starting out with a very slim slice of a diamond, as the crystalline structure for the diamond has to already be formed. This is often called the “diamond seed” and is composed of pure carbon. The seed is then placed in a vacuum where carbon molecules assimilate to the diamond seed. To put it simply, it’s almost like 3D printing your own diamond.

While Nathan Alan Jewelers describes the High Pressure High Temperature process as “replicating the Earth’s process of forming natural diamonds.” Natural graphite is placed in a large machine that crushes it with extreme pressure and temperatures. These conditions turn the graphite into a diamond.

Now that we know how they are made, what are the differences between the two processes? The simple answer is that you can’t tell the difference with your naked eye. Both processes will make the same kind of diamond. However, naturally mined diamonds have something that lab grown diamond doesn’t; nitrogen. Natural diamonds have tiny amounts of nitrogen in them and this is actually a signifier that helps experts tell the difference between the two. That is actually really impressive if that is the only way to tell.

If you’re still on board after learning about the processes, let’s cover some benefits that could come from buying a lab grown diamond.

Potential Benefits

lab grown purple diamond

In 2018, the Federal Trade Commission recognized lab grown diamonds as real. So, right off the bat, you’re not getting a cheap imitation. However, what’s in for you if you decide to go the lab route if the two would be exactly the same?

Let’s look at the one major factor that comes first when purchasing any product; price. When it comes to lab grown diamonds, they could possibly be up to 50% less than the traditional ones. This is due to factors such as the rarity of mined diamonds and the cost of labor and energy that goes into mining them. Lab grown diamonds actually eliminates both of these cost consuming issues.

How about durability? As mentioned before, these diamonds are pretty much exactly the same as the ones from the mine. They are made from the exact same material and therefore are the same on the hardness scale. The same goes for color too; exactly the same.

Okay, but clarity is also important. How about that? According to gemsociety.org, lab grown diamonds are graded on the exact same scale as a mined diamond. This means that if the lab grown diamond doesn’t make the grade, it’s not making it to the stores.

With the up to 50% lower price with virtually no drop in quality, there must be some cons to this idea, right?

The Cons

smile face image

Vintageddiamondring.com states that lab grown diamonds might not be as ecofriendly as they are advertised to be. It is true that it does cut down on labor; however the process of prolonged high temperature and pressure does take up a lot of electricity. There is also the social impact of creating fewer jobs in the mining industry.

Besides these more political factors, it is important to address that lab grown diamonds cannot be appraised. Companies will appraise them like any other diamond, however it will say lab grown on its tag. Remember, an appraisal is all about how much it would be to get the piece replaced. Therefore, jewelry companies probably won’t replace your lab grown diamond with a traditional.

This means that the resale value on your lab grown diamond may be next to nothing – since they can be produced, there is no issue with scarcity. So if you ever need to resell a diamond ring that you purchased, a lab grown diamond won’t hold its value nearly as well as a natural diamond will.

Our diamond price calculators do not even attempt to assign a value for lab grown diamonds. The calculators are relevant for natural diamonds only.

At the end of the day, it really is up to you on whether any of these factors would hinder you in considering a lab grown diamond. If you feel passionately about some of these environmental and social issues or you just don’t like the idea of not being able to appraise your diamond, this might not be the option for you.

The Industry

cutting a diamond ring

CNN.com stated that in March data showed that the sales of lab grown diamonds had jumped up 63% from last year. That is a really impressive increase. Furthermore, traditional diamond sales actually decreased by 25%. Of course, this is not that big of a decline for a massive industry, but maybe this could be a trend we could see in the coming years?

The market of lab grown diamonds is still a small one, but may be a more attractive option with the lowed price tag. People are still feeling the financial effects of COVID and could be looking for ways to downsize on certain expenses. This could also potentially benefit couples that are ready to get married and want to spend more money on the wedding or honeymoon, while still having a quality engagement. No matter what the reason for buying a lab grown diamond, it will be interesting to see what becomes of this industry in the future.