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Lab Grown and Natural Diamond Jewellers
Lab Grown and Natural Diamond Jewellers

Here at Richard James Jewellers, we have seen a significant shift in the awareness of the lab grown diamond market in the last 12 months especially.

As a business we have prided ourselves on sourcing the best quality conflict-free and ethically- sourced diamonds for our clients budget when creating bespoke jewellery pieces.
Now the landscape is changing to include also the option of lab grown diamonds which for many of our clients is a fantastic solution to creating their dream diamond piece.

Lab-grown diamonds and conflict-free natural diamonds differ in several key aspects, including their origin, environmental impact, cost, and physical characteristics.  

On a very basic level when explaining the difference to customers who are enquiring about lab grown diamonds for the first time, we compare ice made in nature vs ice made in the ice maker in your fridge/freezer.  It's still ice, just made differently!

We thought we’d offer some further insight into the similarities and differences between the two.

Origin

  • Lab-Grown Diamonds:
    • Created in a controlled laboratory environment using technological processes that replicate the conditions under which natural diamonds form.
    • Typically produced using either high-pressure, Pressure High Temperature (HPHT) or Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD) methods.

  • Conflict-Free Natural Diamonds:
    • Mined from the earth through traditional diamond mining methods.
    • Certified to be free from the involvement in funding conflicts, human rights abuses, or unethical labor practices. Certification is often provided by organisations like the Kimberley Process.

Environmental Impact

  • Lab-Grown Diamonds:
    • Generally considered to have a lower environmental impact compared to mined diamonds.
    • Require significant energy, but advancements are being made to utilise renewable energy sources in production.

  • Conflict-Free Natural Diamonds:
    • Mining can have environmental consequences, including land disruption, water usage, and habitat destruction.
    • Efforts are made to mitigate these impacts through responsible mining practices and environmental regulations.

Cost

  • Lab-Grown Diamonds:
    • Typically less expensive than natural diamonds due to lower production costs and the ability to produce them in large quantities.
    • Prices can be approximately 60-80% lower than those of comparable natural diamonds.

  • Conflict-Free Natural Diamonds:
    • Generally more expensive due to the costs associated with mining, certification, and ensuring ethical practices.
    • Market prices are influenced by supply, demand, and the rarity of natural stones.

Physical and Chemical Characteristics

  • Lab-Grown Diamonds:
    • Physically and chemically identical to natural diamonds.
    • Can exhibit the same optical properties, including brilliance and sparkle.
    • May have different inclusions or growth patterns that can be identified by specialized equipment.

  • Conflict-Free Natural Diamonds:
    • Formed over millions of years under natural geological conditions.
    • Each stone is unique with its own set of inclusions and growth patterns, which can be considered as having historical and natural value.

Ethical Considerations

  • Lab-Grown Diamonds:
    • Considered a more ethical choice due to the lack of human rights abuses and unethical labor practices associated with their production.
    • Appeals to consumers concerned about the social impact of their purchases.
  • Conflict-Free Natural Diamonds:
    • Certified to ensure they do not contribute to conflict or unethical practices.
    • Can support local economies and communities if sourced responsibly.

Market Perception

  • Lab-Grown Diamonds:
    • Gaining popularity, especially among environmentally and ethically conscious consumers.
    • May still face some stigma from traditionalists who value the rarity and natural origin of mined diamonds.

  • Conflict-Free Natural Diamonds:
    • Often perceived as more prestigious and valuable due to their natural origin and historical significance.
    • Hold a strong place in the luxury market and among consumers who value traditional and natural products.

In summary, both lab-grown and conflict-free natural diamonds offer distinct advantages and cater to different consumer preferences. Lab-grown diamonds are celebrated for their ethical production and lower cost and while more affordable, their value may not hold up over time,  while conflict-free natural diamonds are valued for their natural origin, uniqueness and rarity that has formed over billions of years in the earth.  

Is it possible to tell the two apart?

Not to the naked eye, or your standard diamond tester that you might have seen jewellers use.  Special diamond testers are required to determine if a diamond is a mined natural or lab grown diamond and we do have one of these special machines on hand so we can test the diamonds accurately.


If you would like to know more about creating a bespoke piece and would like to discuss Natural or Lab Grown diamond options then get in contact.