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What’s the Difference Between a Lab Diamond and a Natural Diamond?

Before you decide on a diamond ring, it’s worth considering the differences between man made diamonds vs real diamonds. These differences include the size, clarity and color. They also differ in their carbon footprint. So, which is better? The answer depends on your budget and taste.

Differences in size

There are a few differences between a natural diamond and a lab diamond. The first is their size. Natural diamonds are much larger than lab-grown diamonds, which are much smaller. Then there’s their color. Lab diamonds can be colorless, or come in a candy color spectrum. They can also vary in shape. Typically, a natural diamond is round, but lab diamonds are available in many shapes, including marquise, cushion, radiant, and pear. However, both types of diamonds are equally durable, and they have the same hardness rating of 10 on the Moh’s scale.

Natural diamonds are much more expensive than lab-grown diamonds, but they are still very valuable. While lab-grown diamonds are not as valuable as their natural counterparts, they are still real and exhibit the same chemical properties. Many people choose a natural diamond over a lab-grown one for their engagement rings. Some prefer a natural diamond because of family tradition. Others prefer natural diamonds for their beauty or price. Some couples also prefer to learn about the nuances of their particular stone.

Color

If you are planning to buy a diamond, you need to know the difference between lab diamond vs natural diamonds. The difference between the two lies in the color grade. While a natural diamond is colorless, a lab diamond will appear more yellow than natural. In addition, the color of a lab-grown diamond may vary depending on the material used in the manufacturing process.

Natural diamonds are more expensive than lab-grown diamonds. This is due to heavy machinery and marketing practices, which increase the overall cost of a natural diamond. Moreover, diamond crystals produced by these methods often compromise on color, carat weight, and clarity. By contrast, lab-grown diamonds do not require any labor force, which makes them cheaper than natural diamonds.

Clarity

The clarity of a lab diamond is evaluated using the same grading system as a natural diamond. It refers to the number of inclusions found within a diamond, which makes it an indicator of the diamond’s quality. Most lab-grown diamonds are eye-clean, meaning that they have no visible flaws, except for some metallic inclusions. These inclusions can be colorless, but they are usually visible under magnification. Diamonds that are eye-clean are also less expensive.

Inclusions are classified according to their location on the diamond, from near the girdle to the table. The closer to the girdle an inclusion is, the less noticeable it will be. Inclusions are also graded according to their relief, or how easily they are visible in comparison to the rest of the diamond. A diamond with a lower clarity grade will have more visible inclusions.

Carbon footprint

The carbon footprint of a lab diamond is significantly smaller than that of a natural diamond. According to a study by Trucost for the Diamond Producers Association, the carbon footprint of a lab diamond is 510kg CO2 versus 160kg CO2 for a natural diamond. To minimize their carbon footprint, the diamond industry is looking into ways to offset the carbon emissions they create. For example, Anglo American, the parent company of De Beers, is working on a carbon-neutral mining process. This is a process that involves carbon capture inside the porous mined rock, known as kimberlite. This method, known as mineral carbonation, is said to offset the emissions produced by the diamond mining process.

However, comparing the carbon footprint of natural and lab diamonds is a difficult task. While the carbon footprint of natural diamonds is much larger, the energy needed to grow lab diamonds is significantly lower. The Diamond Producers Association has estimated that the greenhouse gas emissions from mining natural diamonds are about three times lower than those from growing lab diamonds.

Cost

The difference in cost between a natural diamond and a lab-grown diamond is minimal. In deciding between a natural diamond and a lab-grown diamond, you need to look for the certification. While most natural diamonds are GIA-certified, lab-grown diamonds aren’t. Although GIA-certified diamonds are the most trustworthy, they also cost more. Most lab-grown diamonds are graded by a different lab. The International Gemological Institute and the Global Quality Assessment Lab are among the most reputable.

Lab-grown diamonds are cheaper than natural diamonds, and they look and feel almost the same. However, there are some people who question whether a lab-grown diamond is genuine.

Choosing a lab-grown diamond over a natural diamond

Choosing a natural diamond or lab-grown diamond for your engagement ring comes with a number of pros and cons. The biggest advantage of natural diamonds is their rarity, and they tend to hold their value better over time. There is also a finite supply of natural diamonds. This means that demand for them increases as the supply decreases. On the other hand, lab-grown diamonds can be produced in large quantities, which may decrease the value of a diamond over time.

Conclusion

In addition to being more expensive, natural diamonds tend to fluctuate in price a lot. A 1 carat natural diamond can cost as much as 25 to 35% more than a lab-grown diamond – and the price difference can be even larger for bigger carats. This fluctuation is often caused by global issues and supply chain problems. For example, sanctions in Russia have reduced the supply of Russian diamonds.

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