Made Simple is a blog series dedicated to demystifying the jewelry industry and equipping you with the information you need to shop with confidence.
Finding jewelry you love shouldn’t be overwhelming or confusing—we believe in fine jewelry made simple. Frank & Georgia began as a quest to understand the processes behind fine jewelry, and making the jewelry industry easier to understand remains one of our primary goals.
As alternatives to mined diamonds grow in popularity, we thought it was worth taking the time to answer a few of the questions we get the most about our engagement ring collection. We’ve already covered moissanite, so we’re moving on to another lab-grown sparkler: the lab-grown diamond! What are the benefits of diamonds produced in a lab? Is it the right stone for your engagement ring, or other jewelry pieces? Read on to find out!
Are lab-grown diamonds really diamonds?
Absolutely. Lab-grown diamonds are diamonds. Whether a diamond is mined from the earth or made in a lab, they are the exact same chemically, physically, and optically. An expert gemologist might be able to tell the difference underneath a microscope, but that has to do with the unique kind of inclusions that can occur as a result of the lab-grown process. To the naked eye? Even the most experienced expert couldn’t tell the difference.
How are lab-grown diamonds different from moissanite?
Though moissanite and diamonds look similar, they are not at all the same in their physical makeup. Even when they are both lab-grown (naturally occurring moissanite is exceptionally rare), the two are completely different stones. Using the moh’s hardness scale for gems, diamond is well-known as the hardest material with a score of 10. Nothing but a diamond can scratch another diamond. With a hardness of 9.25, moissanite is the second-hardest gemstone material. Natural occurring moissnite does have more color than diamonds, but with lab-grown moissanite there is little difference in color between lab-grown moissanite and a diamond.
How are lab-grown diamonds made?
When diamonds are created naturally, pockets of carbon in the Earth’s mantle are subjected to incredible high temperatures and pressures. There are two ways of mimicking this process in the lab: Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD) and High Pressure High Temperature (HPHT). CVD begins with a “seed” crystal or small diamond that’s placed in a chamber with heated gasses, which causes layers of carbon to form around the “seed.” HPHT more closely mimics the natural process, with a machine crushing natural graphite under extreme temperatures and pressure.
What are the benefits of a lab-grown diamond?
There are two main areas of appeal to lab-grown diamonds: price and provenance. On average, lab-grown diamonds cost 30% less than traditionally mined diamonds. (Yes, you read that right!) Part of why diamonds are so expensive is because of their rarity, especially if you’re looking for a “fancy” color stone like yellow, pink, or blue. Lab-grown diamonds, though not cheap to produce, do not have the same issues with limited supply and can easily be produced in a variety of colors.
Lab-grown diamonds also avoid all the messy ethics and harmful labor practices that come with diamond mining. The mining process requires the removal of over two hundred tons of earth, the use of hundreds of gallons of water, and the production of over one hundred pounds of carbon. It can also be difficult to determine how diamonds were sourced, leading to questions about human rights abuses. “Blood diamonds,” for example, are diamonds that have been stolen or mined illegally for the purpose of raising money for militia groups.
Are lab-grown diamonds “graded” the same way as mined diamonds?
Yes and no! The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) uses a different system for artificial diamonds—it’s called the Synthetic Diamond Grading Report. It covers everything the traditional report does, in addition to information about the diamond’s general color and clarity.
Lab-Grown Diamonds at Frank & Georgia
We all know that quality can vary wildly from jeweler to jeweler, so we want to be transparent about the standards we keep for the diamonds used in our pieces. We don’t settle for less than the best, and you shouldn’t either. We work with companies on the cutting edge of lab-grown technology, including Diamond Foundry, who are the first and only company producing lab-grown diamonds with zero carbon emissions.
Keep It Simple
- Lab-grown diamonds are chemically, physically, and optically the same as mined diamonds. Same sparkle, same durability.
- If you’re on a tight budget and still want a diamond, lab-grown diamonds are a wonderful option.
- Worried about the ethical implications of a diamond for your engagement ring or other pieces of jewelry? Lab-grown diamonds will give you the stone you want without any of the moral issues.