Lab grown diamonds are here, gem gals! And they’re pretty amazing. I mean, they are diamonds, after all! If you are thinking of getting a beautiful, sparkly one to wear for the rest of your life, I’m here to answer all your questions.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with lab grown diamonds, they’ve been around since the 1950’s. And it’s not just diamonds that can be grown in a lab. Sapphires, rubies, emeralds, and opals can also be created in a lab. But let’s stay focused on diamonds. Even though we’ve been able to grow them in a lab for a while, they’re still a pretty small share of the entire market. Definitely less than 5%. However, I think that’s going to increase. More people are finding out about them, more companies are making and selling them, and more customers are asking questions about them.

In fact, most consumer surveys show a majority of people are open to purchasing lab grown diamonds. So if you’re considering one for your engagement ring, you’re in the right place. Let’s go over some of the pros and cons.

 

lab grown engagement ring from Clean Origin

lab grown engagement ring

 

Lab grown diamonds have the same sparkle

 

Some people seem to think that lab grown diamonds are somehow inferior to natural diamonds. So, let me just be very clear – they’re not. They are less expensive, and they need to labeled as lab grown so consumers know what they’re buying. But they are exactly the same as diamonds from a mine. Same chemical composition and structure. Atomically, they are identical.

There are other gems that are diamond imitations, like cubic zirconia. Or moissanite. Those are not diamonds. Lab grown diamonds are actually the real deal, they’re diamonds. They sparkle and shine just like the beautiful diamonds that they are.

So don’t let people tell you a lab grown diamond is not as good.

 

online diamond substitute

Think this is a diamond? It’s not. It’s moissanite, a common diamond imitation.

 

Cost of lab grown diamonds

 

Let’s face it. Plenty of people are strapped for cash, and the old “two or three months salary” rule for buying an engagement ring has gone by the wayside. Almost half of millennials say they paid less than two months salary for their engagement ring. Whatever your budget, the good news is that lab grown diamonds are not only less expensive than natural, but the price will likely continue to come down.

Think of lab grown diamonds like flat screen televisions. At first, they were super expensive. But now, they’re not, and it seems like everyone has them. The production of lab grown diamonds is bound to get better, and as it does, the price will drop.

Right now, the difference between natural diamonds and those grown in a lab can be as much as 30-40% less. That can add up to a lot of savings where you’re dropping over a thousand dollars!

I’m putting cost down in the PRO column.

 

diamond halo ring

A beautiful round brilliant diamond in a rose gold setting from Brilliant Earth

 

Environmental concerns

 

Diamond mining takes a real environmental toll. It’s a lot of work to get diamonds out of the ground. Big heavy equipment, roads, huge holes in the ground. Diamond mining causes pollution, soil erosion, habitat destruction, and dust issues. With lab grown diamonds, you don’t have any of that. The worst thing people have said is that it takes a lot of energy. And that’s true. Some companies are using renewable energy and some aren’t. But that energy usage pales in comparison with the environmental degradation that goes along with a diamond mine.

If you’re someone who’s looking for a more eco-friendly choice, lab diamonds are definitely in the PRO column.

 

Siberian diamond mine

One of the largest diamond mines in the world, in Siberia. You can see this crater we created from space!

 

Ethical concerns

 

Mining diamonds takes people, and sometimes those people aren’t treated very well. Diamonds are portable and valuable. They’ve been used to fund wars. Blood diamonds (aka conflict diamonds) are a real thing. And they still exist. Even though most companies try hard not to purchase from places with war, it’s often hard to know by the time the diamond gets to you.

People often talk about the jobs that go along with a diamond mine. But they’re typically not great jobs. Non-existent safety practices and rampant child labor are far more common that we’d all like to believe.

If you’re someone who’s wanting to make a socially conscious choice, lab grown diamonds go in the PRO column.

 

diamond mining in the Congo

Diamond mining in the Congo (image courtesy of Lynsey Addario/ Getty Images Reporting for Time Magazine)

 

Where to buy a lab grown diamond

 

Lab diamonds are still the new kid on the block. But that doesn’t mean they’re hard to find. Retailers James Allen and Joseph Jewelry offer lab grown diamonds for their customers. And if you’re comfortable shopping online, like 25% of engaged couples, you can go to RitaniBrilliant Earth and JTV. Companies like MiaDonna sell lab grown diamonds exclusively.

Basically, if you want a one, you won’t have any trouble getting one. Another PRO.

 

Shapes of lab grown diamonds

 

It doesn’t matter what kind of shape you want – round, pear, princess, etc. You can find those with diamonds grown in a lab. In fact, their only big drawback is that they can’t get very big. While I’ve heard they can go up to six carats, one to two carats is far more common. If that’s your plan, great. If you want something bigger, you should probably go with a natural diamond.

 

Cushion cut diamond ring from Gemvara

Cushion cut diamond ring from Gemvara

 

What will you choose?

 

So, what do you think? Would you choose a lab grown diamond for your engagement ring? As I went through my list, I’m seeing lab grown diamonds as a solid choice.

 

diamond ring with love spelled out in scrabble letters

Don’t forget the the ring is a representation of what’s most important – the love between two people

 

Whatever you decide, I hope your love lasts as long as the diamond does! Here’s to love and happiness!

 



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