One of the most exciting recent changes in the jewellery industry is the spike in popularity of lab grown diamonds.
Not only do these diamonds allow you to purchase a bigger diamond at a lower price point, they’re a great option for the many people who come to us each day looking for an engagement ring that’s been made both sustainably and ethically.
Lab grown diamond rings
What's possible with lab grown diamonds
Each of our collection or custom engagement rings can be set with a lab grown diamond, making your design a small part in a better future for our planet.
We always start by telling people that there’s many ways to ensure your special rings have a minimal impact on our earth, and opting for a lab grown diamond is one of them.
This page explains everything you need to know about these innovative gemstones in order to help you create a ring that’s perfect for your love story.
What are lab grown diamonds?
Lab grown diamonds are just that: diamonds that have been grown in a lab. Just like the naturally occurring diamonds we find in the earth, lab grown diamonds are crystals made from carbon and bear an identical crystal and molecular structure to their mined counterparts. Physically, they are no different than mined diamonds and should not be confused with a ‘diamond simulant’ such as moissanite or cubic zirconia.
To make these dazzling gemstones, a diamond ‘seed’ (a very small segment of a diamond) is used to grow a full sized diamond. Laboratories either set the seed in carbon and expose it to high pressure and temperatures or it’s put in a chamber of superheated gas which causes the diamond to replicate and grow. These processes are known as HPHT (High pressure high temperature) and CVD (Chemical vapour deposition). Because of this manufacturing process, a lab grown diamond is also sometimes referred to as a cultured diamond, engineered diamond, man-made diamond or synthetic diamond.
Both HPHT diamonds and CVD diamonds are high quality and these two processes produce gemstones that are sure to last a lifetime. At Taylor & Hart we offer lab grown diamonds that have been made using both techniques, but we like our customers to know that any CVD diamonds we procure will have also undergone an HPHT treatment to ensure they have the best clarity and colour possible.
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How long does a lab grown diamond take to create?
A lab grown diamond can take up to a month to form. The amount of time the process takes depends on the colour and carat weight of the diamond needed. The better the colour and the larger the weight, the more time it takes to create the diamond. On the other hand, a natural diamond takes millions of years to form deep in the earth’s crust so ‘more time’ is relative in this case!
Are lab grown diamonds real diamonds?
Absolutely. Lab grown diamonds are the real deal—the only thing they’re missing is having been compressed under the earth’s crust for roughly 150 million years! This is also why we refer to mined diamonds as ‘natural diamonds’: it isn’t to indicate that lab grown diamonds are any more authentic, but rather to distinguish these diamonds as having been produced by nature.
Both natural and lab diamonds have inclusions (imperfections invisible to the untrained eye) but those found in a lab diamond are caused by the molten metal solution it’s created in rather than variances in the rocks and minerals surrounding the diamond in the earth. Both come in virtually any carat weight and can be cut into any shape. You can even find coloured lab grown diamonds, although these are quite rare.
A lab diamond carries an identical crystal structure and aesthetic to a natural diamond, while diamond simulants such as moissanite or cubic zirconia have their own distinct structure (a structure which is much weaker and less reflective than diamonds). So while they do result in a similar appearance, other clear or ‘white’ gemstones should be categorised as diamond alternatives.
Where should I purchase my lab grown diamond?
We’re continuously developing relationships with lab grown diamond manufacturers and suppliers that share our values and business practices. We are currently offering lab grown diamonds sourced through suppliers in the US and India for anyone looking for a sustainable lab grown diamond engagement ring.
Should I choose a lab grown diamond or an earth-grown diamond?
Perhaps the greatest benefit of a lab grown diamond is that they’re more affordable. A 0.50ct lab grown diamond can be approximately 40% cheaper than a natural diamond of the same size and quality, while a 1ct lab grown diamond can be as much as 70% cheaper than a natural counterpart. This can have a big effect on what you’re able to achieve with your lab grown diamond ring design while remaining within your price point.
While the savings are great, there is something to bear in mind. Lab grown diamonds may not maintain their market value in the future in the same way a natural diamond might. Many see purchasing a diamond as an investment, as something that will retain a monetary value while increasing in sentimental value.
While your lab grown diamond will only become more emotionally valuable to you with each passing day, the reality is the industry forecasts that in a few decades lab grown diamonds will cost just 10% of earth-mined diamonds, which will deflate the value of all existing lab grown diamonds.
It’s also worth noting that because the technologies used to produce diamonds in a lab are relatively new, their production is limited at this time. This means that you might have fewer options to choose from when shopping for this type of gemstone.
Are lab grown diamonds always the more ethical choice?
Lab grown diamonds are great because they don’t disturb the earth through mining. It’s also easy to get full transparency on the supply chain of these diamonds and to know who exactly has produced them. We at Taylor & Hart will always ensure our lab grown diamonds come with complete quality and grading certification and certified provenance reports to make sure you’re getting the diamond you paid for.
And while there’s still so much work to be done surrounding the ecological and social impact of diamond mining, when properly monitored and audited the diamond industry can be a valuable economy for many workers and communities around the world. The diamond mining industry supports many communities who depend on the trade to earn a living. It’s all about balancing out the pros and cons of each method. You can read more about our ethical sourcing practices for natural diamonds here.
As the industry works to reform damaging mining practices across the globe, there’s no denying that the ecological cost of diamond mining has been historically high. But new responsible mining initiatives have us feeling positive about the future of our industry and we encourage everyone to read about the steps being taken in this direction before making a decision about which type of diamond they’d like to buy.
Because although growing diamonds in a lab might seem like it would have a much smaller impact on the environment, sadly this isn’t always the case. This method of production still requires an immense amount of energy and emissions to produce a small yield of diamonds.
Faced with the industry-wide challenge of finding the most energy efficient way to produce quality diamonds at scale, over the next two years we’ll be transitioning towards exclusively offering lab grown diamonds produced with mostly if not only renewable energy.
Do lab created diamonds test positive on a diamond tester?
Lab created diamonds are physically and chemically the same as a natural diamond, so they will test positive on a diamond tester. Whether from the earth or a lab, diamonds are created with crystallised carbon. In a very few rare instances an HPHT diamond has tested negative on a diamond tester due to the trace amounts of minerals and impurities sometimes created during the process. Our diamond specialists will always do their best to filter these HPHT diamonds out of the diamonds we offer.
A trained gemologist would be able to tell the difference between diamond simulants and lab grown diamonds. Although moissanite and cubic zirconia superficially look like diamonds, they have a completely different optical structure and refractive properties.
If you want to tell the difference between a diamond and a moissanite, there’s a few key differences you can keep an eye out for. First of all, a diamond is much sharper than a moissanite, with highly defined facets. A moissanite can appear milky and cloudy. A diamond’s sparkle is white, with high contrast and brilliance. A moissanite is well known for a rainbow-like sparkle, the ‘disco ball’ effect.
Diamonds have superior colour grades over moissanite. Sometimes a moissanite can have a green or yellow tone to it and wouldn’t grade over ‘K’ on the GIA colour scale. A colourless, high quality diamond would usually fall between the D-F colour grades.
Do lab created diamonds get cloudy?
Lab created diamonds will not become cloudy over time. Just as a high quality mined diamond will retain its lustre for hundreds if not thousands of years, so will a lab created diamond. Choose a diamond with a high clarity to begin with to ensure that your diamond will sparkle brilliantly for years to come.
Can you insure a lab grown diamond?
A lab grown diamond engagement ring can be completely insured. As with any high value item, it’s important to insure your lab grown diamond engagement ring, especially with a policy that will allow you to replace your ring at full cost.
In summary, lab grown diamonds are an excellent alternative to their mined counterparts, offering an identical aesthetic and quality of gemstone. It can be tricky to understand the discourse and practices surrounding natural and lab grown diamonds alike, so we believe it’s best for everyone to get a full, honest picture of our industry and offerings in order to make a well-informed decision. As always, your rings are personal and they tell the story of your love. How they’re made should be up to you.