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LAB GROWN DIAMONDS -
YES, THEY ARE REAL BUT….
Shoppers have long been advised to look at the four c's – carat, cut, clarity and color – when buying a diamond but now there is another one to consider; conscience. With environmental issues and sustainability a bigger talking point than ever, the diamond trade has also come under scrutiny.
Sometimes marketed as “laboratory-grown,” “cultured,” “created,” “cultivated,” “synthetic,” “simulated,” or “man-made,” it’s important to understand the difference between a natural diamond and a lab-grown diamond before you make a purchase.
Believe it or not, Lab-grown diamonds have been around for a while. The first synthetic diamonds were created in the 1950s for industrial uses by companies like General Electric. They did not approach gem quality until the 1970s and 1980s. However, Gemological Institute of America said it was not until approximately 2013 that manufactured
diamond producers began to create stones that could compete with natural diamonds.
Consumers are often confused on whether natural diamonds are the same as lab grown diamonds. Lab-grown diamonds are in fact real diamonds. A diamond by definition is a precious stone consisting of a clear and colorless crystalline form of pure carbon, the hardest naturally occurring substance. Lab grown diamonds share the same physical, chemical and optical properties as natural diamonds. They have the same sparkle, clarity, and aesthetic of an earth mined diamond. Keep in mind there are low quality lab-grown diamonds just as there are low quality natural diamonds. It may shock you to know that even trained geologists can't tell the difference between the two with the naked eye alone. That being said a well trained geologist and GIA certified gemologist should be able to tell the difference with a loop – though still even with a loop it’s not easy to identify an excellent quality lab-grown specimen – only distinguishable by its crystal patterns.
Natural diamonds undergo extraordinary environmental circumstances and takes between 1 billion and 3.3 billion years to form. Laboratory grown diamonds take a few months under controlled conditions.
Cubic Zirconia (CZ) and Moissanite are not the same thing as a lab grown diamond. Moissanite originates from meteors. Moissanite is not a diamond, nor is it attempting to be one. While lab made diamonds and natural diamonds are made of pure carbon, CZ is made of zirconium dioxide.
So the question many ask is, “if lab grown diamonds are real diamonds, then why not just buy a lab-grown diamond?” Unfortunately, from a personal perspective, I cannot answer this easily. In my opinion it comes down to you and what you want. Below is what I believe are the pros and cons to both. But first thing first. Do NOT let anyone convince you that they value of love or the “soul” of a piece of jewelry or the ability to catch the imagination of a diamond wearer is measured how much you spend or whether your diamond is natural or lab-grown. Sentimental value can be found in anything – a piece of rice. You can grab a pebble from your garden and create a masterpiece. Exuding love has absolutely nothing to do with how much is spent on a diamond or whether the diamond is natural or otherwise! I nearly jumped out of my skin when I read some “experts” opinions relating to such nonsense.
Lab Grown Diamond Benefits:
• Lab grown diamonds are much less expensive than earth-mined diamonds – Lab grown diamonds cost about 40% less.
• Lab grown diamonds are sustainable – they are not mined or dredged, making them the environmentally conscious choice
• Lab-grown colored diamonds are more readily available and for a fraction of the cost of natural colored diamonds. They tend to be brighter and more perfect than natural colored counterparts.
• Lab grown diamond are grown in scientific conditions by highly skilled and qualified scientist. This means have a clean history and are a guaranteed trackable source – no history of child labor, human rights violation or slave-like working conditions.
Natural Diamond Benefits:
• Natural diamonds have intrinsic value to its owner.
• Though less than 5% of natural diamonds have the opportunity to actually appreciate in value (in financial terms) over time, natural diamonds do tend to hold its value or depreciate less than a lab-grown diamond.
• Natural colored diamonds are rare – this will have long term financial benefits and philosophical or psychological benefits to its owner
Lab Grown Diamond Drawbacks:
• Fraud. Because lab-grown diamonds are physically, chemically and optically identical to natural diamonds, authenticity can be difficult – therefore lab-grown diamonds can be passed off as natural diamonds and consumer can be fooled into purchasing. As lab grown diamonds become more widely distributed this make it especially critical that consumers make any diamond or fine jewelry purchases only from trusted GIA certified jewelers in good standing.
• Economic value of synthetic diamonds will more than likely drop as production costs fall and production increases thus the ability to resell manufactured diamonds will fall. Once big producers like China ramp up quality production others will start lowering their sales price for these stones. More than likely there won’t be a secondary market for manufactured diamonds, largely because diamond traders will not deal in them.
Natural Diamond Drawbacks:
• The consequence of mining diamonds is significant. Many diamonds in the marketplace are known as blood diamonds or conflict diamonds. These diamonds have connection to rebel groups, terror groups, slavery and or other human rights violations. (Robert Palma Designs does NOT deal in any of these types of diamonds)
• Conflict-free diamonds are still mined. That means the destruction of local habitat and wildlife.
As lab-grown diamonds improve their quality, we are starting to see it reach the Hollywood elite and the red carpet. The Duchess of York, Megan Markle continues her focus on ethical fashion – she wore an 18kt yellow gold lab created set of diamond earrings, The Felicity Drop Erring by KIMAI. Actress Penelope Cruz, one of the most vocal advocates for lab grown diamonds wore an entire collection by Atellier Swarovski o the Cannes Film Festival. Lady Gaga attended the London premiere of A Star is Born in September 2018 wearing a pair of ethically-sourced cluster earrings from London-based jewelry designer Anabela Chan. Each Constellation Pearl Earring is made with three freshwater pearls and nine brilliant-cut lab-grown diamonds. Anabela Chan also created a look made of lab grown diamonds and pearls for Zoe Kravitz to wear at the 2019 Met Gala. Leonardo DiCaprio is one of the largest investors in lab created diamonds. He founded Diamond Foundry in San Francisco, California. The company uses solar energy to produce their diamonds.
At Robert Palma Designs, we offer lab grown diamonds for custom pieces. We specialized in custom jewelry and utilizing lab-grown diamonds give us the ability to create even more imaginative projects because of its lower cost – especially with the colored stones. Give us a call or make an appointment to discuss your next piece – everything we do is built around you! (808)946-4332. Visit us at: https://www.robertpalmadesigns.com