What is the Difference Between Natural and Lab Grown Diamonds?
By TOI Staff April 7, 2023 Update on : April 7, 2023
Diamonds have been prized for centuries for their beauty, rarity, and symbolic significance. They are a popular choice for engagement rings, wedding bands, and other pieces of fine jewelry. You can find two types of diamonds in the market – natural and artificial. While they may look similar, they have many differences, including origin, rarity, and price.
Artificial diamonds have become a more affordable and sustainable alternative to natural diamonds in recent years. They are produced in a controlled laboratory environment, using advanced technology to replicate the high temperature and pressure deep within the Earth’s mantle. On the other hand, natural diamonds are formed over millions of years under unique geological conditions and are extracted from the Earth’s crust through mining.
If you are in the market for diamond jewelry, it’s essential to understand the difference between natural and manufactured diamonds. This article will explore the two’s main similarities and differences and highlight each’s advantages and disadvantages. By the end of this article, you will better understand which type of diamond is best suited for your needs and preferences.
Where Do We Get Natural Diamonds From?
Natural diamonds are a product of geological processes that have been ongoing for millions of years. These gemstones are formed deep within the Earth’s mantle, where intense heat and pressure cause carbon atoms to crystallize and form diamonds. Over time, these diamonds are brought to the Earth’s surface through volcanic eruptions and are found in specific geological formations known as kimberlite pipes or alluvial deposits.
The majority of natural diamonds are mined from countries in Africa, such as Botswana, South Africa, and Namibia, as well as Canada, Russia, and Australia. Mining natural diamonds can be challenging and expensive, as it involves extracting large amounts of rock and sediment in search of small diamond deposits. Despite the challenges, natural diamonds remain highly sought after for their rarity and unique characteristics, making them popular for engagement rings, wedding bands, and other types of diamond jewelry.
Where Do We Get Lab-Grown Diamonds From?
Manufactured diamonds, also known as synthetic diamonds, are produced in a controlled laboratory environment that simulates the high temperature and pressure deep within the Earth’s mantle. The process involves placing a small diamond seed in a chamber filled with a carbon-rich gas, such as methane, and then subjecting it to intense heat and pressure. Over time, the carbon atoms in the gas crystallize around the diamond seed, creating a larger diamond. This process is known as Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD) or High Pressure High Temperature (HPHT).
Manufactured diamonds can be produced in weeks or months, making them more readily available than natural diamonds. The technology behind manufactured diamonds has advanced significantly in recent years, enabling manufacturers to produce exceptional quality and size diamonds. They are created in several countries worldwide, including the United States, China, and India.
Artisan-created production is considered more environmentally friendly and sustainable than mining natural diamonds, as it does not require the same level of environmental disruption and energy consumption. However, some consumers may still prefer natural diamonds for their rarity and emotional significance. Artificial diamonds offer a more affordable and sustainable alternative to natural diamonds while still providing the same beauty and durability.
What Are The Advantages of Natural Diamonds?
Natural diamonds offer several advantages, making them popular diamond jewelry choices. One of the most significant advantages is their rarity and uniqueness. Natural diamonds are formed over millions of years in a specific geological environment, which makes each diamond one-of-kind. This uniqueness is highly valued by consumers seeking a special gift or engagement ring.
Another advantage of natural diamonds is their durability and long-lasting nature. Natural diamonds are one of the hardest materials known to man, making them resistant to scratches and wear. They can withstand daily wear and tear, making them an ideal choice for engagement rings and other jewelry pieces that are worn frequently.
Natural diamonds also hold their value over time and can even appreciate in value depending on market demand. This is due to their rarity and the increasing demand for high-quality natural diamonds in the global market. Those who invest in natural diamonds can be stable and profitable assets over time.
The Main Similarities of Natural Vs. Lab-Created Diamonds:
Although natural diamonds and artisan-created diamonds differ in their origin, there are several similarities between the two types of diamonds that are worth noting.
First, both natural and fake diamonds have the same chemical and physical properties. They are both made of carbon atoms arranged in a crystal lattice structure, giving them unique properties such as hardness, refractivity, and thermal conductivity. This means that man-made diamonds have the same optical and physical characteristics as natural diamonds, making them virtually indistinguishable from the naked eye.
The second similarity between natural and synthetic diamonds is their grading system. Both types of diamonds are graded using the same criteria, commonly known as the 4Cs – carat weight, clarity, color, and cut. This grading system helps determine the quality and value of the diamond, regardless of whether it is natural or synthetic.
Furthermore, natural and manufactured diamonds can create a wide range of jewelry, including engagement rings, necklaces, earrings, and bracelets. The beauty and versatility of diamonds make them a popular choice for many occasions and styles.
Finally, natural and synthetic diamonds are popular with consumers for their beauty, durability, and emotional significance. Whether natural or manufactured diamonds, diamonds are a timeless symbol of love, commitment, and prestige that many people around the world cherish.
While natural and artisan-created differ in their origin and how they are produced, they share several similarities in terms of their chemical and physical properties, grading system, versatility, and emotional significance. These similarities make it difficult to differentiate between the two and highlight the unique advantages of each.
3 Major Differences between Natural Diamonds Vs. Lab-Grown Diamonds:
- Price: One of the most significant differences between natural and artificial diamonds is their price. Natural diamonds are rare, and their value is determined by their rarity, size, and quality. On the other hand, artisan-created diamonds can be produced in large quantities, making them more affordable than natural diamonds.
- Origin: Another difference between natural and synthetic diamonds is their origin. Natural diamonds are mined from the Earth’s crust, while synthetic diamonds are created in a laboratory. This difference in origin can be important for those who prefer to purchase ethical and sustainable diamond jewelry.
- Emotional Value: Natural diamonds often hold emotional value for their owners. They may be passed down through generations, and their rarity and unique characteristics make them cherished possessions. While beautiful and valuable, synthetic diamonds do not hold the same emotional significance as natural diamonds.
Natural and artificial diamonds differ in their origin, rarity, and emotional significance. While natural diamonds are formed over millions of years and are rare, unique, and emotionally significant, synthetic diamonds are more readily available, affordable, and sustainable. Both types of diamonds offer advantages and are popular choices for diamond jewelry, depending on the consumer’s preferences.
Whether you choose a natural or artificial diamond, making an informed decision based on your values and needs is essential. When deciding, consider factors such as rarity, durability, environmental impact, and emotional significance. Regardless of your choice, diamonds are a beautiful and timeless symbol of love and commitment that you’ll cherish for years.