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A Guide to Laboratory Grown Diamonds

Laboratory grown diamonds offer an alternative for couples getting engaged and consumers looking to purchase jewellery at more affordable price points in comparison to mined diamonds.

Source: GIA

Laboratory Grown vs. Mined Diamonds

Grown inside a laboratory using cutting-edge technology, and not mined from the earth, laboratory grown diamonds can be physically, chemically and optically similar to mined diamonds. Both laboratory grown diamonds and mined diamonds are made from pure, crystallised carbon.

Laboratory grown diamonds are graded according to the same 4 C’s as mined diamonds, although not priced off the Rapaport used for mined diamonds. I recommend buying laboratory grown diamonds that are certified by gemological laboratories. The most recognised laboratory grown diamond certification laboratories are:

Gemological Institute of America (GIA)

International Gemological Institute (IGI)

Below is a sample of a laboratory grown diamond certificate;

Are laboratory grown diamonds eco-friendly?

Reports confirm that the laboratory grown diamond creation process leaves a considerable carbon footprint, as with any process that uses a large amount of energy. Upon publishing this article, there are few producers who have achieved carbon-neutral certification. The De Beers’ Lightbox laboratory grown diamond brand is amongst the most recognised by consumers. While the mined diamond industry is committed to ethically sourced gemstones and responsible stewardship of natural resources, laboratory grown diamonds are substantially less invasive on the land. Potential buyers need to weigh the benefits of purchasing a laboratory grown diamond against the important social impact mined diamonds have on the communities mines operate. More so from a South African context where diamond mining, cutting and polishing contributes towards jobs and our local economy. Follow the links below for more;

https://www.gemsociety.org/article/sustainable-alternative-to-diamond-mining/

https://www.debeersgroup.com/sustainability-and-ethics/building-forever-2030-goals

Are laboratory grown diamonds valuable?

The US Federal Trade Commission recently amended its Jewellery Guides to help prevent deception in jewellery marketing, its decision in favour of scientific facts. The ruling is as follows “A diamond is a diamond no matter whether it is grown in a lab or comes out of the ground”. In terms of value, it’s important to remember that the ability to produce laboratory grown diamonds quickly and in abundance will impact laboratory grown diamond prices. As technology advances laboratory grown diamonds are becoming cheaper to produce. In comparison, mined diamonds were formed over 1000 million years ago, around 150kms below the earth’s surface and have an origin that predates dinosaurs by at least half a billion years; hence the value of laboratory grown diamonds cannot be compared to mined diamonds. Provenance carries value; an example of this would be a Louis Vuitton handbag. A well-made counterfeit Louis Vuitton may be made from real leather and may look the same as an authentic Louis Vuitton, but it will never have the same value.

Summary;

If you’re looking to purchase an item of jewellery or an engagement ring set with larger stones, within a limited budget, without a return on investment, laboratory grown diamonds are a wonderful alternative.

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