Lab-grown diamonds, also known as synthetic diamonds, were first produced by General Electric (GE) in the 1950s. The journey to creating Lab-grown diamonds started in 1797 when scientists discovered that natural diamonds consist of pure carbon. Though there were many experiments, scientists couldn’t develop a perfect replica of a diamond.
In 1954, the first set of Lab-grown diamonds was made by General Electric (GE) under a project named “Project Superpressure.” However, over time, diamonds were found in several other countries worldwide. So what distinguishes a lab-grown diamond from a natural one? Well let’s start with their definitions.
Lab-grown diamonds are diamonds that are produced through a controlled technological process. Most lab-grown diamonds are made through a process called chemical vapor deposition (CVD). They are created with the same materials as naturally formed diamonds. They also share the same physical and chemical properties.
Definition of Natural Diamonds
Natural diamonds are crystal clear carbon acquired through geological processes and obtained by mining from a rock called kimberlite. It is made up of pure carbon crystallized in the isometric cubic system.
5 Differences between Lab-grown and Natural Diamonds
- Their Prices: Lab-grown diamonds cost around 75% less than Natural diamonds. This is not because natural diamonds have more quality than Lab-grown ones but because of the healthy competition found in Lab-grown diamonds and the unhealthy monopolies in natural diamonds. Other reasons include its scarcity and the labor and resources involved in the stones’ mining and polishing.
- Process of Creation: Natural diamonds are created down beneath the earth’s surface. They are made from carbon and created over a period of one to three billion years under natural conditions of high pressure and high temperature. It thereafter travels to the earth’s surface through molten rocks, where it is mined and refined. On the other hand, Lab-grown diamonds undergo the same procedure in a lab through a chemical vapor disposition (CVD) process.
- Their Composition: although both natural and Lab-grown diamonds have the same compositions, natural diamonds have a small amount of nitrogen in them, while Lab-grown diamonds do not have nitrogen in them; this difference, however, cannot be seen naturally.
- Value: The diamond value for a Lab-grown diamond differs from those made naturally. The difference in their resale value is higher than the price difference. While natural diamonds retain around 50% of their original value, Lab-grown diamonds are almost impossible to resell immediately after purchase.
Also, diamond value and price have not been static over time. While the cost of natural diamonds has historically been rising in value, Lab-grown diamonds have been dropping in price. A natural diamond will most certainly be worth more than a Lab-grown diamond of similar grade even before considering the difference in resale price.
Lab-grown diamonds and Natural diamonds, for the most part, are identical to the naked eyes. If you buy a Lab-grown engagement ring or any other jewellery, you can be assured that no one will know. Although there are differences between the two, these differences are barely noticeable. It usually requires a specialist to easily spot the difference.