What’s the Difference Between Lab-Grown and Earth-Mined Diamonds?


If you’re shopping for a diamond engagement ring for your sweetheart, you can either choose one with a natural mined diamond or a lab grownone. Here are a few differences and similarities you should know about these gemstones:

Natural Diamonds Were Formed Long Ago

Billions of years ago, heat and pressure crystallized carbon atoms, forming diamonds hundreds of kilometres under the Earth’s crust. As the magma erupted, the diamond-carrying rocks rose to the surface. However, in Europe and North America, diamonds weren’t discovered until the 1800s. They became the go-to for engagement rings soon after and have remained one of the top choices ever since.

Diamonds Grown in Labs

As the name would suggest, lab grown diamonds are made in labs through a couple of techniques. The high-pressure, high-heat method replicates the natural processes underneath the Earth’s surface. Meanwhile, the chemical vapour deposition method uses heat to disrupt carbon atoms until diamonds form.

Although lab-grown diamonds were first created in the 1970s, they were only used in trade/industrial materials. The process for jewellery-grade lab diamonds became available in the last decade and has gained popularity since then. Now, they’re everywhere you look.

Both Types of Diamonds Look and Feel the Same

When you visit a renowned local jeweller and look at their beautiful selection of natural and lab grown diamonds — you’ll notice that they look the same. And when you hold them in your fingers, you’ll realize that they also feel the same.

Your jeweller will even tell you that they have the same physical and optical characteristics because they are the same — whether a diamond is grown in a lab or formed naturally over billions of years, it’s visually, molecularly and chemically identical.

Lab Grown Diamonds Are More Cost-Effective

Since mined diamonds are extracting from the environment, they cost more to produce and transport. It is far more labour-intensive to pull diamonds from the earth than to create them in laboratories. Also, mined diamonds must be found. If the chosen environment has no more diamonds, companies have to look elsewhere for the material.

Lab Grown Diamonds Are More Sustainable

Sustainability is a hot button issue. People are interested in shopping for sustainable products and materials — and engagement rings are no exception.

Mining can have a serious impact on the surrounding environment, which is why it’s essential to buy from suppliers that do their best to minimize environmental impact and that follow international trade standards.

Lab-grown diamonds have a far smaller environmental footprint. It does take a massive amount of energy to grow diamonds in a lab, however, scientists are improving the process. For example, a team of researchers led by the Australian National University (ANU) and RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia, creates diamonds at room temperature in just minutes.

So, What’s the Best Option?

Many people still prefer natural diamonds because they find them to be more romantic. Others like lab-grown diamonds because they’re more sustainable and environmentally friendly.

Ultimately, it comes down to your preferences and priorities as a couple. Whether you buy an ethically sourced natural diamond or get one created in a lab, you can’t go wrong.

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