Photo via iStock
For many couples looking to get engaged, a diamond is the ultimate symbol of their commitment: timeless, enduring and shining bright. But not many engagement ring shoppers realize there’s more than one type of diamond to choose from. In recent years, the rise of lab-created diamonds has garnered a bit of buzz—which may have left you wondering what exactly the difference is between these stones and their natural counterparts. Read on to learn all about these eco-friendly man-made marvels, then check out some of our favorite engagement rings from Clean Origin, where you can shop a wide array of lab-grown diamonds and ring settings, or design your own.
1. They have the same chemical and physical properties as mined diamonds.
Yes, lab-created diamonds are real diamonds. The crystalline carbon structure, durability and light-reflecting properties are all identical; the only difference is where they come from. While mined diamonds were formed billions of years ago under immense pressure and high temperatures deep within the Earth’s crust, lab-grown diamonds are created by replicating similar conditions in a highly controlled environment. They have an identical hardness rating—diamonds are among the toughest substances on the planet—and chemical composition, so they’ll refract and disperse light in the same way, giving off that telltale diamond fire and brilliance.
2. They look the same to the naked eye.
That identical chemical structure means identical sparkle—even gemologists can’t tell the difference between a mined diamond and man-made diamond of the same grade without high-tech magnification or expensive special equipment. That’s why most lab-born and mined diamonds are now marked with a microscopic laser inscription for identification. (Don’t worry; you can’t see the inscriptions with the naked eye.)
3. They’re a reliable choice if ethical sourcing or environmental impact is important to you.
If you’re concerned about where your diamond comes from, lab-created stones can provide extra peace of mind: They’re conflict-free and sustainable. While many mined diamonds are now certified as ethically produced, lab-created ones eliminate the need for the mining industry altogether, avoiding any controversial practices. They also offer a reduced carbon footprint, since the lab-growing process typically uses far less energy and resources than traditional mining.
4. They undergo the same certification and grading process as mined diamonds.
All diamonds are sent to an independent gem lab to be evaluated and graded. Most gemstone certification labs use the 4Cs (cut, color, clarity and carat) to judge both mined and lab-created stones. Since the process of growing lab diamonds is designed to mimic the natural process of diamond formation, they show similar natural variation in terms of visible inclusions (aka clarity) and color, while the cut and carat are determined after the creation of the stone.
5. They offer more bling for your buck.
Here’s news you can use: Lab-grown diamonds typically cost around 30 percent less than natural diamonds. That means you can often afford a larger or higher quality stone within the same budget.
6. They’re not the same as cubic zirconia.
Don’t confuse lab-created diamonds with diamond simulants like cubic zirconia (CZ) or moissanite. They’re not made from the same pure carbon crystals as diamonds and are much less difficult to create. Because the structure is not the same, the brilliance and ability to refract light don’t compare to real diamonds. CZ is also softer, which means it’s apt to become scratched and clouded over time, whereas real diamonds (whether natural or lab-made) are far more durable and long-lasting.
Ready to start shopping for a lab-created diamond engagement ring?
At Clean Origin, you can browse a collection of predesigned engagement rings, or you can create your own by selecting the stone and customizing the setting. Need a little inspo? See our favorites below.
This sponsored post is happily brought to you by Clean Origin.