July 11, 2022

Pros and Cons of Lab Grown Diamonds


Lab diamonds are real diamonds at a fraction of the price. But are they worth it? Here are the pros and cons to help you decide.

You're not the only one confused about lab diamonds.

Some think they're the future of the diamond scene. But some will also say that you're better off with another stone. So should you still buy lab diamonds?

Lab diamonds are becoming popular alternatives to natural diamonds. But they also have downsides to consider. Below are the benefits of lab diamonds and why they may not be for you.

Are Lab Diamonds as Good as Natural Diamonds?

Lab diamonds are real diamonds. They're as good as natural diamonds because they're identical. They share the same chemical and physical properties.

Lab diamonds are as brilliant and durable as their natural twins.

The only difference is in where they came from. Natural diamonds are formed deep beneath the earth. Whereas lab diamonds are made by mimicking the same process inside a laboratory.

Can Jewelers Tell Lab Diamonds?

Jewelers and gemologists can't tell lab diamonds through traditional tools. Diamond testers can't detect them, either.

The only way to confirm the origin of your diamond is to test it at specialized gem laboratories. Today, jewelers are also starting to use lab diamond testers, such as GIA's iD100. However, these devices can be expensive and vary in accuracy.

Pros and Cons

Lab diamonds and natural diamonds are the same. But they still have differences in price, resale value, quality, and more.

Together, these differences give lab diamonds advantages and disadvantages over their natural counterparts.

Lab Diamond Pros

  1. Cheaper real diamonds
    Lab diamonds cost around 60%-70% less than natural diamonds. This means you can buy a real diamond for about a third of the price.

    Take the diamond collection of James Allen for example. Their 1-carat F VS1 excellent round natural diamonds retail for at least $6,970*. Meanwhile, their lab diamonds of the same quality cost as little as $1,650.

    *Prices as of June 19, 2022

  2. Better quality
    It's easier to make higher-quality diamonds by growing them inside laboratories. Lab diamonds grow under controlled conditions. That's why they're more likely to receive higher color and clarity grades.

    You don't have to worry so much about getting a diamond with visible flaws or color tint.

    Lab diamonds can also surpass natural diamonds in cut quality. They contain fewer imperfections. Synthetic roughs are also more uniform in shape. As a result, cutters have fewer constraints to come up with the best diamond cut.

  3. More environmentally friendly
    You don't need to displace hundreds of tons of soil to make lab diamonds. That's acres of forests and watersheds saved. Creating lab diamonds doesn't cause as much irreversible damage, unlike their mined counterparts.

    But lab diamonds are not spared from environmental impact. Producing them emits high amounts of greenhouse gas. Still, their environmental footprint remains lower compared to natural diamonds.

  4. Ethical sourcing
    Lab diamonds are conflict-free. They're made inside the safe conditions of laboratories. So, you don't risk buying stones extracted by enslaved workers to fund wars.

  5. Less expensive to insure
    Lab diamonds are cheaper to replace and insure. They also come with grading reports and appraisal forms to verify their value. Making them just as protected from theft, damage, travel, and more.

  6. More affordable colored diamonds
    Always wanted to stand out with a pink, blue, or yellow diamond? Natural fancy colored diamonds are rare and super-expensive. But colored lab diamonds cost a fraction of the price.

    This 1-carat pink round diamond from James Allen costs a whopping $66,530. Compare this to their 1-carat pink lab diamond priced at just $3,360.

    Check out James Allen's loose colored lab diamonds, or Blue Nile's collection of baby pink and blue lab diamond jewelry.

    Fun fact: Red diamonds are the rarest of all colored diamonds. Only 20 to 30 are known to exist in the whole world.

Lab Diamond Cons

  1. No resale value
    The resale value of all diamonds is generally weak. You can't resell any diamond for a profit. But it's worse for lab-grown.

    Lab diamonds have zero resale value. Because they're mass-produced, they don't hold value for being rare. In the future, they'll get even cheaper due to advances in technology. If you plan on reselling your lab-grown, you'd be lucky to get 10% of what you paid for it.

  2. Not rare
    Mass-produced stones are a downside if you or your partner value rarity. You don't get unique, one-of-a-kind stones.

  3. Prejudice against lab diamonds
    Not everyone appreciates lab diamonds. Some, even your partner, may just prefer a natural stone.

    If you buy a lab-grown diamond, best prepare yourself for the occasional rumors that you're owning a fake diamond. Or that you're a cheapskate.

  4. Fewer insurance providers
    It's cheaper to insure a lab diamond. But some jewelers warn that insurance policies for them may be harder to come by.

    Still, others say that insuring them is not a problem at all. In any case, be sure that you have your insurance options ready before buying a lab diamond.

Lab Diamond vs Other Diamond Alternatives

Still not sure if a lab diamond is the best for you?

See how they compare to other diamond alternatives. Note that cubic zirconias and moissanites are only diamond simulants. Unlike lab diamonds, they're not real diamonds.

Natural DiamondLab DiamondMoissaniteCubic Zirconia
CompositionCarbonCarbonSilicon carbideZirconium dioxide
CreationDeep in earthLabLabLab
CostCan be very expensiveUp to 70% less Up to 90% lessSuper cheap
Hardness (Mohs scale)10109.25-9.58.5
Refractive Index (brilliance)2.417-2.4192.417-2.4192.65-2.692.15-2.18
QualityRange of qualityUsually higher color and clarityUsually higher color and clarityPerfectly flawless and colorless

Lab Diamond vs. Cubic Zirconia

Cubic zirconia is a man-made, diamond-looking stone. They're cheap and sometimes treated as disposable.

Compared to diamonds, cubic zirconias are always white and flawless. But they're not as brilliant. And instead of a diamond's white sparkle, they radiate rainbow lights. They can also chip and get cloudy after a few years.

Lab Diamond vs Moissanite

Moissanite is a natural white gemstone discovered on a meteorite. They're super-rare, so most moissanites today are also lab-grown.

Moissanites are super-durable and won't scratch and get cloudy. They rank 9.25 to 9.5 on the Mohs hardness scale. That's almost like a diamond's perfect 10. That's why they're also forever stones, but for a fraction of a diamond's price.

Like cubic zirconia, moissanites also emit rainbow sparkles. But they're more brilliant than diamonds, so you get a very flashy ring.

Are Lab Diamonds Worth It?

This depends on what "worth it" means for you.

Lab diamonds' financial, environmental, and ethical benefits are enough to make many people switch. But they might not be for you if you're bothered by their synthetic origin, lack of rarity, and zero resale value.

If you think lab diamonds are worth it, here are three of the best places where you can buy them.

Best Places to Buy Lab Diamonds

  1. James Allen
    James Allen is among the top online diamond retailers for value, selection, and customer service. It has over 50,000 loose lab diamonds with great options for customization. However, James Allen does not offer the lowest prices.

  2. Clean Origin
    If you're looking for the best lab diamond pricing, check out Clean Origin. All diamonds from Clean Origin are lab-grown and handpicked. They're guaranteed to be visually flawless. But they don't carry as many selections as James Allen.

  3. Blue Nile
    Blue Nile's Lightbox collection sells fine jewelry made of lab diamonds. Prices are very competitive. All lab diamonds, even fancy-colored stones, are priced at $800 per carat.

Bottom Line

We hope we've helped you understand the pros and cons of lab-grown diamonds. They have lots of advantages to boot. But they also have downsides that may be deal-breakers to some people.

Ultimately, deciding if a lab diamond is worth it is a matter of personal preference. Buying a diamond is a huge decision. So take the time to learn about your needs.

Also, talk to your partner about this. In the end, what matters is you're both happy with the gem that symbolizes your love.

Write to Chesca Santiago at feedback@creditdonkey.com. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for our latest posts.

Read Next:

Lab Created Diamonds vs Natural

Lab vs Natural Diamonds

Lab Created Diamonds

Lab Created Diamonds

Moissanite vs Diamond vs Lab Diamond

Moissanite vs Diamond vs Lab Diamond


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