naturally sourced vs. lab-grown diamonds

Two Distinct Choices – Both Diamonds – Is Lab-Grown or Natural Mined for Me?

by Kat Morrow

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As a Private Gemologist, I have chosen to focus my specialty in diamonds.  I love looking at them, wearing them, buying them, selling them, and appraising them. It’s all magical to me.  I had to do some real soul searching as the popularity and demand for laboratory grown diamonds has heightened in the past few years.  Would I be the purist who would dig their heels in and only offer natural mined diamonds to my clients – or would I educate myself and therefore my clients, on the two choices to help them decide which was the best purchase for them?  I chose to embrace both to honor the requests of my clientele and to offer them what they wanted.  I’m totally excited to have these two great options!

Now as a G.I.A. Graduate Gemologist and appraiser of diamonds, I can honestly tell you to the naked eye, if presented with 2 diamonds of equal size, quality, and cut – one lab-grown and one natural mined – I would not be able to identify by sight only the lab-grown vs. the mined diamond.  It is only through magnification and the use of very precise testing tools that we can separate them and identify the lab-grown vs. natural mined diamond. 

All other things being equal, the sparkle is the same when it comes to both diamonds, but the origins couldn’t be more different. On one hand, we have the traditional natural mined diamonds which have adorned jewelry pieces for centuries, symbolizing luxury, status, and love. On the other, the modern contender is lab-grown diamonds, which offer a more sustainable and often more affordable option for those looking to dazzle responsibly.

As you stand at this glittering crossroads, you might wonder, “Which is the right choice for me?” This article delves into the world of lab-grown versus mined diamonds, shedding light on the environmental, ethical, and economic aspects to help you make an informed decision.

Whether you’re eyeing an engagement ring or a statement piece or simply curious about the future of luxury, let’s explore the facets of this sparkling debate.

Lab-Grown Diamonds

These are created in controlled environments using advanced technological processes which mimic the Earth’s natural diamond-creating conditions. The benefits of lab-grown diamonds include a significantly lower environmental impact than natural mined diamonds, as they require less land and water usage. They are also generally more affordable, allowing consumers to purchase larger or higher quality diamonds for the same budget. However, some may argue that lab-grown diamonds lack the ‘romantic’ element associated with the natural formation process of mined diamonds.

Natural Mined Diamonds

Mined diamonds are formed naturally within the Earth over billions of years and are extracted through mining operations. The allure of mined diamonds often lies in their uniqueness and the traditional aspect of their origin.

However, diamond mining can have a substantial environmental footprint, including land degradation and water usage. They are more expensive than lab-grown diamonds, partly due to the extensive process required to locate and extract them, their rarity and scarcity.  Mining operations have made great strides in the last several decades though to reduce harm to the environment, and have shown a great commitment to the local communities to provide a positive financial impact and enhance their quality of life.

Making the Right Choice

The decision between lab-grown and natural mined diamonds ultimately depends on personal priorities. Lab-grown diamonds might be the right choice if you desire a larger, better quality diamond for a relatively low cost.  On the other hand, if you cherish tradition and the natural origin of your gemstone, natural mined diamonds could be more appealing.

What is the Better Value?

Traditionally, natural mined diamonds retain or increase in value depending on the time period. This holds true when having your fine diamonds and jewelry reappraised for proper insurance value over time.  This also applies to trading your natural mined diamond in for an upgraded natural mined diamond.

On the other hand, lab-grown diamonds do not represent any kind of investment as it has been shown as more manufacturers come into the field and the market is flooded with these diamonds, the value has in actuality – dropped significantly.  So as far as resale of a lab-grown diamond…there is virtually none!

When deciding between the two, consider the following questions to guide your choice:

  • What is your budget? Lab-grown diamonds are more affordable than mined diamonds, offering similar quality for a significantly lower price.
  • How important is the environmental impact to you? Lab-grown diamonds have a smaller environmental footprint than natural mined diamonds, which may appeal to those prioritizing sustainability.
  • Are you looking for specific physical, optical, and chemical properties? Lab-grown and mined diamonds share identical characteristics, making them equally durable and brilliant.
  • Is the origin of the diamond important to you? Some buyers prefer natural mined diamonds’ traditional aspect and rarity, while others may value lab-grown diamonds’ modernity and ethical sourcing .
  • Have you considered the resale value? Natural mined diamonds typically hold their value better over time than lab-grown diamonds, which might be an important consideration for some buyers .

Both lab-grown and natural mined diamonds have their advantages and considerations. By reflecting on what aspects are most important to you, you can choose to suit your values and desires best.

I invite you to book an appointment with me or Contact me today and let me help you make an informed decision on whether lab-grown or natural mined diamonds are the right choice for you.

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