The 4 Cs:
Understanding Man-Made or "Lab Created" Diamonds
One of the most interesting modern alternatives to traditional, geologically sourced diamonds... Is diamond.
Here's what that means:
In the 1950s, General Electric invented a method of manufacturing diamonds under high pressure and high temperature. These are called "HPHT diamonds." This process was effective for creating industrial quality diamonds for industrial purposes like drill bits.
The HPHT process is also used today to improve the characteristics of low quality diamonds, particularly improving their color grade.
But it wasn't until recently that another process called chemical vapor deposition (CVD) was dramatically improved that manufactured, gem-quality diamonds were reliably possible.
This amazing advancement in diamond creation has made it possible to own a beautiful diamond without it being mined from the earth (these diamonds are chemically identical to mined diamonds, but simply come from a different source).
This makes them synthetic diamonds. They are chemically the same as their natural counterpart, but are man-made.
Synthetics are different from diamond simulants, which are alternatives that look similar to diamond but are not the same in their chemical makeup or crystal structure.
Things To Consider When Buying a Lab-Created Diamond
Buying a created diamond gives you a gemstone that is chemically identical to natural diamond, for a lower price.
So, why doesn't everyone buy a created diamond instead of a natural, geologically sourced diamond?
If you read through the Color & Clarity section of our diamond buying guide, you probably already know the answer:
Natural diamonds are prized and valued for their rarity.
So, when CVD diamonds first started gaining popularity, many speculated that these new diamonds would destroy the natural diamond industry and bring prices down across the board.
But this isn't the first time something like this has come along in the jewelry industry, and this isn't the first time speculation has been wrong.
YES, as more and more CVD diamonds are produced, the more the prices will come down. This is true of any technologically produced product. The more efficient the process becomes, the more supply there is, the lower the prices go.
But the prices that have been going down are only those of created diamonds specifically.
Natural diamond prices have not changed (at least in a downward direction). Why? Because the rarity of natural, gem-quality diamonds hasn't changed.
So, here are a few pieces of advice when purchasing a created diamond:
First, they are extremely beautiful and you can get a bigger diamond for a price that would be impossible purchasing a natural diamond of the same quality.
Here's an example of a beautiful lab created diamond we recently had in stock:
As of this writing, we're seeing a price difference of around 40-50% cheaper for larger diamonds. Where a natural 2 carat diamond might be priced around $12,500, a similar lab created might sell for $7,5000.
That's incredible savings, and you still get all of the benefits of diamond: Beauty, sparkle, and incredible durability for everyday wear.
If all care about is getting a bigger and more beautiful diamond for a price lower than buying a natural diamond, this is a fantastic way to go.
Having said that... The prices of created diamonds have already begun their descent.
You need to be fully aware that what you pay for a created diamond today will very likely not hold its value over time the way geologically sourced diamonds do.
This also means that most jewelry stores will not offer trade-in or trade-up programs on created diamonds the way some do with natural diamonds.
Understanding Created Diamonds, Wrap-Up:
There is no right or wrong answer to "should I buy a created diamond instead of a natural diamond?"
It is a decision that's dependent on personal preference and budget.
If you want a diamond that is big and beautiful, want to save a bundle, and you're not concerned with long-term value or re-sell/trade value, a created diamond might be a wonderful choice.
If you want "real and rare," there is no sign that created diamonds are going to take down the rarity and value of natural diamonds anytime soon.