Are Lab-Grown Diamonds Real Diamonds?
Alicia Briggs & Kimberly Zerkel | May 10, 2023
Alicia Briggs & Kimberly Zerkel | May 10, 2023
Yes, lab-created diamonds are real diamonds. They share the same physical, atomical, and chemical properties as their mined counterparts. Yet lab-grown diamonds have ushered in a new era of sustainability, offering environmentally friendly choices in an industry historically dominated by mined diamonds. Below we’ll break down what a lab-grown diamond is, why they are considered real, and how they compare to mined diamonds.
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What Is A Lab-Grown Diamond?
Today, lab-grown diamonds are diamonds that are produced by two methods: chemical vapor deposition (CVD) or high pressure, high temperature (HPHT). While both offer a controlled environment, the HTHP is more costly and less energy efficient. The thermodynamic process involves placing a diamond seed into pure carbon, then exposing it to intense pressure and heat. The carbon attaches to the diamond seed in 14 different directions and forms a rough diamond with a complex cuboctahedron shape.
CVD is a more economical and sustainable process, using vacuum chambers to convert carbon-heavy gasses into plasma with less energy consumption. Kinetics allows the carbon atoms inside the chamber to build on top of the diamond seed in a single vertical direction, so the rough diamond grows into a cleaner square shape.
Lab-grown diamonds are cut, polished, and evaluated by a certified gemologist, just like mined diamonds. They can be sold as loose diamonds or set into jewelry.
What Is A “Natural” Diamond?
A “natural” diamond is another name for a mined diamond. Officially, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) defines a diamond as “A mineral consisting essentially of pure carbon crystallized in the isometric system.” Whether a diamond is mined or created, both share this chemical composition. The difference and designation between lab-grown and mined diamonds lie in the way in which it is created. Titles like “lab-grown” and “mined” designate origin.
Mined diamonds are extracted from Earth through complex pit, underground, or alluvial methods, and utilize heavy machinery as well as an extensive amount of labor. To distract consumers from the human and environmental toll of these methods, some in the diamond industry have begun to call their diamonds “natural.” The term is for marketing purposes only and does not make a mined diamond atomically different from its lab-grown counterpart.
Are Lab-Grown Diamonds Considered Real?
If you’re wondering if a lab-grown diamond is a real diamond, the answer is yes. Lab-grown diamonds are considered real diamonds.
Do Lab-Grown Diamonds Test As Real?
Lab-grown diamonds test as real because they're made of crystallized carbon, as are mined diamonds. And, just like mined diamonds, lab-grown diamonds are graded by independent gemological organizations on their diamond 4C’s - cut, color, clarity, and carat weight. Not all lab-grown diamonds are “perfect” — they will differ in color and quality, just as a mined diamond would, but lab-grown diamonds will be graded and tested just the same.
Are Diamonds Made In A Lab Considered Minerals?
Lab-grown diamonds and mined diamonds are both considered minerals, as they have identical chemical compositions. The only difference between the two is how they are made, not what they are made of.
Can A Jeweler Tell If A Diamond Is Lab Created?
VRAI created diamonds are inscribed with a microscopic inscription at the girdle. A jeweler can use this lot number to pull up that specific diamond’s grades and measurements. This would inform them of its origin and therefore, if it’s a lab-grown.
Lab Diamonds Vs Mined Diamonds
Lab-grown diamonds share the same optical, physical, and chemical properties as mined diamonds. The only difference is a lab-grown diamond’s innovative origin. In 2018, The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) considers both lab-grown and mined diamonds to be real. The NAD expanded further on this topic in 2021, clarifying that a lab-grown diamond is a real diamond.
Whether diamonds are made in a lab or mined from the Earth, both diamond types share an identical formation process. Once formed, rough diamonds of either designation are cut and polished to reveal their maximum brilliance. Identical to mined diamonds, lab-grown diamonds also exhibit unique variations in color and clarity, known as inclusions, that occur naturally during the diamond’s growth process. These distinct markers are what make each diamond truly one of a kind.
Are Lab-Grown Diamonds The Same As Mined Diamonds?
Lab-grown diamonds are physically the same as mined diamonds. The difference between lab-grown and natural diamonds could be compared to the difference between ice formed outside on a winter’s day versus ice that’s formed inside your refrigerator. However, lab-grown diamonds and mined diamonds differ in sustainability, ethics, and cost. Created diamonds are made by replicating the way diamonds are made in nature without the negative environmental or human toll of mining.
Are Lab Diamonds As Valuable As Mined Diamonds?
The value of lab-grown diamonds versus mined diamonds has been largely misunderstood. The cost of mined diamonds is determined by a small group of people who control the availability of diamonds. They can charge more due to the higher demand, not the true value of the diamond. Mined diamond production is also more labor intensive, and requires more resources, than lab-grown diamond production.
This is why when comparing lab diamonds vs mined diamonds cost, you’ll notice that mined diamonds cost more. Lab-grown diamonds cost less because they are a renewable resource, not because they are less valuable. A VRAI created diamond's price reflects the true value of the diamond, with no middlemen markups.
Are Lab-Grown Diamonds As Strong As Mined Diamonds?
Yes, lab-grown diamonds are just as strong as mined diamonds. Since they have the same chemical composition, one is not stronger than the other. They both score 10 on the Mohs hardness scale.
What Are The Advantages Of Buying A Lab-Grown Diamond?
There are several advantages to buying a lab-grown diamond over a mined diamond. Lab-grown diamonds are often more sustainable, ethical, and affordable than mined diamonds, with guaranteed quality and origin.
Are Lab-Grown Diamonds Better Than Mined Diamonds?
Physically, lab-grown diamonds and mined diamonds are equal - one is not better than the other. However, when it comes to human and environmental toll, lab-grown diamonds are better than mined diamonds. The diamond industry is a largely unethical industry that has long been linked to human rights abuses and environmentally destructive mining methods. Mined diamonds can never transparently say they are conflict-free.
Since lab-grown diamonds have a guaranteed point of origin, the journey of a VRAI created diamond is fully traceable.
Are Lab-Grown Diamonds Better for the Environment?
Mined diamond production is wholly unregulated and has a significant environmental impact. However, some lab-grown diamonds are produced using fossil fuels. They can have a large carbon footprint comparable to mined diamonds.
Lab-grown diamonds are only better for the environment if you choose lab-grown diamonds that are sustainably made. VRAI created diamonds are carbon neutral. They are grown in our zero-emission foundry in the pacific northwest, using hydropower from the Columbia River.
Why Do Lab-Grown Diamonds Cost Less?
Lab-grown diamonds cost less than mined diamonds, due to fewer middlemen and less required labor. Since mined diamonds are more widely known, and therefore have more demand, diamond retailers can and do charge more for them.
VRAI created diamonds are available at the most competitive diamond prices in the industry. Since we produce our diamonds and jewelry in-house using renewable energy, we can offer high-quality, certified diamonds for less.
Lab-Grown Diamonds Vs Synthetic Diamonds
If you’re wondering if it is accurate to call a lab-grown diamond a synthetic diamond, the answer is no, lab-grown diamonds are not synthetic diamonds. Synthetic diamonds, such as moissanite and cubic zirconia, are not diamonds and are made from synthesized materials.
Moissanite vs Lab-grown Diamonds
Lab-grown diamonds are not the same as moissanite. Moissanite is a naturally occurring gemstone, with entirely different chemical properties than diamonds. To the untrained eye, moissanite resembles a diamond, which makes this stone a popular alternative.
Is Cubic Zirconia The Same As A Lab-Grown Diamond?
Lab-grown diamonds are not the same as cubic zirconia. Cubic Zirconia, similar to moissanite, is a lab-created gemstone. It’s made from zirconium dioxide and is often chosen by those who want a stone that resembles a diamond for a much lower price point. However, cubic zirconia is not the same thing as a lab-grown diamond and it will not offer the same beauty, durability, or value that a diamond has.
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How Are VRAI Created Diamonds Produced?
VRAI created diamonds are lab-grown diamonds are grown in our own foundry using the CVD method. We begin with a thin foundation of diamond. Carbon is atomized in a plasma reactor and, one by one, the atoms stack on top of the slice, extending the unique crystal structure of diamonds. They then grow into a pure, jewelry-grade diamond of gem size. The foundation material can be sliced off and reused as starting material any number of times. Once the rough stone forms, our diamonds are then cut and polished to the most exacting standards by master craftspeople in our international workshops.
Combining proprietary technology of superior efficiency with the zero-emission power of the Columbia River, VRAI created diamonds are produced in America’s beautiful Pacific Northwest. Choosing just a carat of VRAI created diamonds vs. mined diamonds saves 250 tons of earth, 120 gallons of water and 143 lbs of carbon dioxide released into the air.
VRAI goes beyond zero carbon emissions. We convert greenhouse gas into VRAI created diamonds by crystallizing it in our foundry. Once crystallized, the gas is no longer trapped in our atmosphere, making the sky reflect heat and warming the planet.
Crafted from the very elements in our atmosphere that would otherwise harm our planet, VRAI created diamonds are true to our most precious luxury: the future.
How Are VRAI Created Diamonds Priced?
As the only jewelry company that is vertically integrated, VRAI eliminates middlemen and markups to provide diamonds of impeccable value and origin. We own the complete production process, including cutting and polishing studios, so our diamonds pass through fewer hands and incur fewer expenses along the way. Utilizing superior technology and renewable energy, our prices reflect the more economical and sustainable means we’ve created to grow our own diamonds in today’s market.
We offer complete transparency throughout this process and ensure that every one of our diamonds has no human or environmental toll. With a responsibly sourced, vertically integrated supply chain, we are certain about the origin of our diamonds at all times. Every VRAI created diamond truly represents the beauty of evolution.
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