Everything You Need to Know About Lab-Grown Diamonds

As the name implies, lab-grown diamonds are produced above ground in a laboratory, not mined from beneath the earth. And even though they aren’t formed naturally, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recognized lab-grown diamonds and real diamonds in 2018, making them a beautiful and more affordable alternative to natural diamonds. JCPenney was one of the first retailers to market selling lab-grown diamonds 2018.

What is a Lab-Grown Diamond?

Lab-grown diamonds are often called man-made or created diamonds, because they are produced in a laboratory setting rather than being mined to avoid the negative environmental impact or human toll of mining. However, it is important to note that lab-grown diamonds are chemically, physically, and visually identical to mined diamonds, so you will get the same hardness, brilliance, and fire you love with lab-grown diamonds.

What are Other Names for Lab-Grown Diamonds?

Lab-grown diamonds are also referred to as cultured diamonds, synthetic diamonds, man-made diamonds, cultivated diamonds, or lab-created diamonds.

What is the Difference Between Lab-Grown and Mined Diamonds?

Due to innovation in the diamond industry, customers now have two choices when it comes to diamond origin: 

•Mined Diamonds: Mined from the earth, are often prized due to their rarity. 

•Lab-Grown Diamonds: Mining-free diamond alternative. They generally cost less than mined diamonds so you can get a bigger or better-quality diamond for the same price as a smaller mined diamond. 

Ultimately, choosing the right kind of diamond is a personal choice based on your preference of diamond origin.   

Natural diamonds are formed via intense heat and pressure within the earth, which transform carbon atoms into the diamonds we all know and love today – but the process takes millions of years and extensive mining efforts are required to access raw diamonds that are suitable to be cut down and used for diamond jewelry.   

Lab-grown diamonds are chemically, physically, and visually identical to natural diamonds, the only real difference being that natural diamonds are formed within the uncontrolled environment of the earth, and lab-grown diamonds are grown in a controlled environment in a lab.   

The untrained eye cannot tell the difference between mined or lab-grown diamonds, and even some professionals are hard-pressed to tell which is which without using advanced technology. Both types of diamonds have the same sparkle, the same types of clarity and color, and can be cut into the same shapes and sizes. They also have the same hardness, and lab grown diamonds can even have the same inclusions (or imperfections) as a natural diamond.   

Additionally, lab-grown diamonds are engraved with “LGD,” which lets you know they were created above ground – but it’s not an engraving you can see with the naked eye.

How are Lab-Grown Diamonds Made?

Diamonds are formed when carbon atoms crystallize into cubic structures with tetrahedral bonds, making it the hardest substance on earth. A similar process is used to grow diamonds above the earth using one of two methods: 

1. High Pressure High Temperature (HPHT): This method uses a special type of press that applies intense heat and pressure onto the diamond seed, which allows the carbon atoms to generate a large diamond crystal – mimicking the conditions needed for natural diamonds to form inside the earth. 

2. Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD): This process requires a “seed diamond” – a very thin slice of diamond on which carbon atoms deposit to form a strong tetrahedral structure, which grows into a larger rough diamond. To achieve this, the seed is placed in a vacuum chamber filled with heated hydrogen and gasses containing carbon. Once the temperature is hot enough, the gas molecules break down and form crystallized carbon layers around the seed, resulting in a diamond. This process usually does not require high pressure and allows more control of the diamond’s quality and properties

How Much do Lab-Grown Diamonds Cost?

Lab-grown diamonds generally cost less than natural diamonds. Like natural diamonds, lab-grown diamonds are also valued by the 4 Cs of Diamonds – cut, color, carat, and clarity – with the weight of the diamond (carat) being a large factor. 

 Lab-grown diamonds are commonly expressed in fractions such as ½ carat, ¾ carat, etc. Carat Total Weight (CTTW)- refers to the total carat weight of multiple stones in a piece. The more carats, the higher the price. So, with the lower cost of lab-grown diamonds, you can get a bigger sized lab grown diamond for the same price as a smaller natural diamond. 

What are the Benefits of Lab-Grown Diamonds?

As mentioned above, lab-grown diamonds are an amazing alternative to naturally mined-diamonds. They are physically identical to mined diamonds, responsibly sourced, and are more cost-effective for customers looking to save money without sacrificing style. 
Some other benefits include: 

•Lab-grown diamonds have fewer defects than their mined counterparts, due to the highly-controlled creation environment.
•They can be made using colors that are rarely found in nature, giving customers more unique options. 

•Their origins are trackable, allowing sellers to source from reputable places that uphold ethical working and environmental conditions. 

•Lab-grown diamond methods also allow businesses to keep up with the demand for diamonds without sacrificing quality or participating in harmful processes.

JCPenney Diamond Comparison
Lab-Grown Diamond
Mined Diamond
Is it a diamond?
Is it Fake?
Can be Certified?
Chemical Composition?
Source of Diamonds
Grown in a lab
Mined from earth
Conflict Free
JCPenney Protection Plan Eligible

CLICK HERE for more information on the 5Cs of diamonds.