Lab Grown Diamonds
Discover lab grown diamonds: what they are, how they’re made and why the efficiency of their production makes lab diamonds significantly less expensive than their natural counterparts. Is a lab diamond right for you? Find your answer with our detailed guide, written by our cultivated-diamond experts.
What is a lab grown diamond?
A lab grown diamond is created in a laboratory setting that emulates the natural process of a diamond’s growth. While it is visually, chemically and physically identical to a natural diamond, lab created diamonds can cost up to 85% less and are considered a more sustainable option than mined diamonds.
What are lab grown diamonds called?
Often referred to as cultivated, man made, or even synthetic diamonds, lab grown diamonds continue to grow in popularity with couples across the globe choosing lab diamonds for their engagement rings.
Book an appointment with our expert gemmologists at our Hatton Garden Jewellers showroom to view a selection of diamonds sourced for your specific budget; as a lab grown diamond supplier we'll help you find the perfect stone for your engagement ring.
Are lab made diamonds real diamonds?
Yes, lab diamonds are 100% real diamonds, and are optically, chemically and physically identical to natural, mined diamonds. The demand for lab made diamonds has soared in recent years, as engineering methods and technology have been perfected to produce diamonds that are, by all accounts, beautiful, economical, real diamonds.
Here, our gemmology experts take you through an extensive guide to how lab created diamonds are grown, how they do and don’t differ from natural diamonds and diamond alternatives, and discuss the intricacies of grading, certification, and the cost of man made diamonds. You’ll come away with an expertise that will help you decide if a lab grown diamond ring is the best choice for you.
Lab Diamond Ring Inspiration
Get inspired by our custom made engagement rings, individually designed with love and crafted by us.
£5,550 - Lab Diamond
2ct Pear Oberon
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2.50ct Emerald Cut Bardot Scallop
£5,500 - Lab Diamond
Lab Diamond - £20,000
2.60ct Pear & 2ct Princess Bespoke Toi et Moi
Lab diamonds appear identical to natural diamonds & are considered entirely authentic diamonds. Thanks to the efficiency of their production, lab diamonds cost considerably less than natural diamonds.
Lab diamonds vs natural diamonds - what are the differences?
The first thing most people want to know is ‘are lab grown diamonds real diamonds’? Rest assured, diamonds created in a lab are 100% real diamonds. Visually, chemically, physically, a man made diamond bears no difference to a natural diamond. For this reason, lab grown diamonds will register as real diamonds when they’re tested. Specialist laboratory equipment will note whether a diamond has been created in a laboratory, but even the most advanced gemmologists are unable to make the call - by eye or under extreme magnification. See the scientific similarities between natural and lab diamonds below. Learn more about lab diamonds vs natural diamonds.
How are lab grown diamonds created?
We all know natural diamonds are a wonder of nature, but how are diamonds formed? Understanding the natural process of diamond creation is fundamental for learning about the creation of synthetic diamonds. So let’s start with how natural diamonds are formed: around 90 to 150 miles deep in the Earth’s mantle, pure carbon particles are exposed to intense heat and pressure, encouraging crystallisation that builds over time. Diamonds are transported to the Earth’s surface through volcanic explosions.
So how are lab diamonds made? Essentially, the conditions of the Earth’s mantle are emulated in a laboratory. There are two techniques to create a lab diamond: HPHT (high pressure, high temperature) and CVD (chemical vapour deposition).
During HPHT, graphite (pure carbon) is exposed to intense heat and pressure, via extreme electric pulses and pressed between pieces of metal, until the carbon melts and a diamond is born - this usually takes a number of days. To create CVD diamonds, a minuscule piece of existing diamond (usually created via HPHT) is treated with a heated, carbon-rich gas, which reaches intense temperatures. The carbon gases ionise and, eventually, particles stick to the original diamond and cause crystallisation. Typically, HPHT produces the best quality lab diamonds, as the CVD process is incredibly fast - this can cause internal spots and graining. CVD diamonds also tend to have a brown undertone, and when enhanced with post-growth treatment the diamond can be left looking milky or hazy compared to a top quality HPHT diamond. HPHT diamonds rarely require such post-growth treatment and are created with exquisite, gem-quality.
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How much do lab diamonds cost?
With evolving improvements to the techniques and machinery involved in creating a lab diamond, the price of lab grown diamonds is less than natural diamonds by 60% to 85%, and has even dropped in recent years. Lab made diamonds are cheaper than mined diamonds for two main reasons.
Firstly, the demand for lab created diamond rings is still considerably less than for mined diamonds. Secondly, their future value is not known - are lab diamonds a good investment? It’s unclear whether lab grown diamonds will have resale values comparable to natural diamonds, causing some to hesitate when choosing a lab created diamond for their engagement ring. Such doubts are keeping the global cost of lab grown diamonds suppressed. As of right now, you might not even know where to buy a lab diamond as some jewellers refuse to sell them; but with increases in ethical awareness, their demand will only rise.
Compare the price of lab diamonds vs natural diamonds with the chart below with our Lab Diamonds Price & Value guide.
Are lab diamonds more ethical than natural diamonds?
Yes, lab grown diamonds are an assured way of making sure your diamond has been ethically produced and sourced - so in short, lab grown diamonds are more ethical than mined diamonds. Ethical diamonds are in greater demand than ever, as consumers, NGOs and bodies such as the UN call for an end to the trade of conflict diamonds.
Global efforts, including the UN’s Kimberley Process, continue to work towards eradicating mined blood diamonds from the global market, and have prevented 99.8% of the worldwide trade of blood diamonds. So whilst a mined diamond in the UK market is almost certainly conflict free, choosing a lab based diamond ensures 100% transparency of its ethical origins.
Are lab grown diamonds sustainable?
Compared to the land used for mining efforts, lab grown diamonds are a less disruptive, more sustainable option than mined diamonds. Having said this, artificial diamonds take a great amount of power to enable their growth - typically between 250 kWh and 750 kWh. This is a figure likely to fall with improved technologies, and already some producers claim their lab diamonds take as little as 20 kWh to grow. More and more lab diamond producers are creating diamonds with solar energy, including some of our trusted suppliers, that produce solar energy to offset the energy used during diamond creation.
During your search for an ethical diamond ring, whether lab created or mined, it is important to know you’re buying from a trusted, ethical jewellers. Queensmith takes pride in ensuring we only work with the most renowned, trusted and transparent diamond suppliers, sourcing only GIA and IGI certified diamonds for our mined and lab grown diamond rings.
Why choose lab grown diamonds?
- Carat for carat, lab grown diamonds are less expensive than natural, mined diamonds. This means you can expect a larger carat weight for your budget, such as an upgrade from a 0.5-carat to a 1 carat engagement ring.
- Scientifically and visually, lab made diamonds are exactly the same as mined diamonds
- No land is mined to produce lab grown diamonds, meaning they are considered more environmentally sustainable
- There is greater certainty that lab grown diamonds have ethical origins
- A lab diamond will have the exact same lasting lustre as a natural diamond - and no-one could tell the difference. Not even a qualified gemmologist! Only specialist lab equipment can tell a natural and lab diamond apart.
We get it, you’ve never done this before.
That’s why we have diamond and design experts on hand, who are here to guide you through every step - from understanding what carat, color, cut and clarity mean, to designing the perfect ring.
Learn More About Lab Diamonds
Do you have additional questions? No problem, let us help you through the process
Natural Vs Lab Diamonds
Are lab grown diamonds real?
Yes, lab grown diamonds are 100% authentic diamonds, they are just grown in a lab setting with conditions made to replicate what happens in nature.
What are lab grown diamonds called?
Lab grown diamonds go by multiple names, such as man-made diamonds, artisan-created artificial, synthetic or cultured diamonds. If you encounter any of these names you’ll know it’s what we refer to as a lab grown diamond. It’s important to specify this distinction as it can get confusing with other gemstones that may look similar, such as Moissanite. Although Moissanite is also frequently man made, it has a different chemical makeup to that of a diamond, and is a diamond simulant rather than genuine diamond.
Will lab created diamonds test as real diamonds?
Yes, a lab diamond will test as a real diamond - because it is chemically, physically and optically identical to a natural diamond, and is therefore a genuine diamond. Specialist equipment can be used to tell a lab diamond from a natural diamond - and the origin of a diamond is included on its certificate.
Do lab grown diamonds last as long as natural diamonds?
Yes, a lab diamond will last just as long as a natural diamond. The makeup of a lab diamond is exactly the same as a natural diamond - both measure 10 on the Mohs scale of hardness, making them the hardest natural substance on Earth. This makes them resistant to scratches, abrasion or breaking.
Why are lab grown diamonds cheaper than natural diamonds?
Lab diamonds take only a matter of weeks to form in a relatively small laboratory with a small but highly skilled workforce - whereas natural diamonds require large expanses of land, excavation, infrastructure and workforce - as well as time to find the diamonds. The reason lab diamonds are significantly cheaper than natural diamonds is that their production is far more efficient and cost-effective!
Buying A Lab Diamond
Where can I buy lab grown diamonds in the UK?
Queensmith is one of the first jewellers to offer lab diamond rings in the UK.
The world of lab created diamonds is still relatively untouched by the UK engagement ring market, meaning there are few retailers where you can buy lab grown diamond engagement rings and jewellery. Queensmith is at the forefront of understanding and retailing lab grown diamonds alongside our bespoke engagement ring and jewellery services.
After learning your rough budget and an idea of what you’re after, our gemmologists will work on putting together a select range of the finest lab grown diamonds for your unique budget, before meeting with you to discuss your engagement ring or jewellery design.
Book an appointment online or in-store to meet with our diamond & design experts.
What’s the sentimental value of a man made diamond?
This one is up to you. Some adore the romantic history behind naturally grown diamonds, formed over billions of years, rare, precious and perhaps nature’s most beautiful and enchanting creation. Others prioritise the ethical value of lab grown diamonds, and praise the wonder of science in creating something it took the earth billions of years to do so. It’s the power of nature versus the wonder of science - which camp are you in?
How to choose the best lab created diamond for your ring
Choosing the best lab grown diamonds for your engagement ring is no different to choosing a natural diamond. If you’ve decided a lab grown diamond engagement ring is right for you, follow these steps:
- define your rough budget
- choose the ring style you like, and minus the cost of this to see how much you can dedicate to the diamond
- choose the shape of lab diamond you’re after
- consider diamonds graded Excellent cut (for round diamonds, or Excellent polish & symmetry for other shapes), D to F colour, VS2 to SI1 clarity
You can read more about choosing the best diamond for your engagement ring here, but the characteristics to prioritise are an excellent cut, followed by a high colour grade. This will ensure that a diamond appears bright, white and extremely sparkly. When narrowing down the options for your lab grown diamond engagement ring, it’s important to seek advice from qualified gemmological experts, to help you understand the intricacies and characteristics of each diamond, point out any flaws, and help you find the best value diamonds for your unique budget. For more advice or to receive a tailored quote, get in touch with our experts.
Can I insure my lab grown diamond engagement ring?
Absolutely. Just like any high value purchase you make, it is important to insure your lab grown diamond ring. The cost of insuring your lab grown diamond is likely to be less than that of a mined diamond, and your insurer of choice will most likely need to see a copy of your order invoice to verify the value of your insurance.
Price & Value
How much cheaper is a lab grown diamond?
Lab diamonds are typically 60% to 85% cheaper than natural diamonds. This is because the process of creating a lab diamond is more efficient and cost effective than the process to mine a diamond. Typically, the larger the carat weight, the larger the price difference between an otherwise identical natural vs lab diamond.
Will lab grown diamonds lose their value?
The future value of lab diamonds is uncertain, as they are so new to the market and it is unclear whether lab diamonds will become cheaper in the future. There is a possibility the value gap between lab diamonds and natural diamonds could widen, or close. When it comes to reselling a lab diamond, it’s likely you would receive 30% to 40% less than the price you paid - which is true of natural diamonds too.
What is the best certification for lab grown diamonds?
The best certification of lab grown diamonds is either IGI or GIA. IGI provides a more thorough grading system for lab diamonds, whereas GIA provides more general grade ranges for features like the colour grade of the stone. GIA are, however, regarded as the most renowned, trusted graders worldwide for diamonds in general, particularly for natural diamonds which receive more comprehensive grading.
Why are lab grown diamonds so expensive?
This is a common misconception, artificial lab diamonds are much less expensive than natural diamonds, yet buying a lab diamond still requires a significant sum - because a diamond is a diamond! Lab diamonds are 100% authentic, real diamonds, equally scintillating and beautiful. While lab diamond creation is an efficient process, it requires a great deal of high-tech equipment and top scientific minds, which costs money. Plus, lab diamonds are still pretty rare. This rarity, beauty and demand for lab diamonds are reflected in their prices.
Making Lab Diamonds
How long does it take to make a lab grown diamond?
Lab diamonds typically form between 2 and 4 weeks. The process can be quicker if other elements are introduced, like nitrogen, but this can make the diamond yellow-tinted.
Do lab diamonds test as real diamonds?
Yes, lab diamonds test as real diamonds, because they are authentic and identical to those found in nature, with the exact same chemical makeup. However, specialist laboratory equipment can tell lab diamonds from natural diamonds.
Is it possible to make a lab grown diamond at home?
No - you’d need a great deal of specialist equipment to create a lab diamond, and it could be an incredibly dangerous process in the wrong hands. It takes a wealth of knowledge for trained scientists and engineering specialists to create a lab diamond - and it’s a very exact science in which the creator must work out the precise, perfect conditions for diamond growth. The intense heat and intense pressure that takes place during lab diamond creation isn’t something you can replicate at home.
Do lab grown diamonds come in different colours?
Yes, lab diamonds can be created in a number of fancy colours, including yellow, blue, pink, orange, green, red and black. In nature, trace elements enter the otherwise pure carbon diamond to cause colouration - like boron in blue diamonds, and nitrogen in yellow diamonds. The same idea can be applied to lab diamonds, where the scientist will work out the perfect amount of trace elements to add during the diamond creation.
More About Lab Diamonds
Why are human-made diamonds called ‘synthetic diamonds’?
Whilst the terminology can seem a little confusing, man made, ‘synthetic diamonds’ are real diamonds - created in a lab. The term ‘synthetic diamond’ refers to the synthetic (i.e. human-made) environment in which a lab grown diamond is created.
Synthetic diamonds are not to be confused with diamond simulants. Diamond simulants are not diamonds, but are stones that are somewhat similar in appearance and are generally used for cheaper, high street jewellery, such as cubic zirconia and moissanites. Our gemmological advice is to steer clear of diamond simulants: they do not retain value, and more importantly are less striking in appearance, particularly their sparkle, lustre and crisp structure.
What else are lab grown diamonds known as?
Lab grown diamonds are referred to as synthetic diamonds, artificial diamonds, as well as man made, manufactured, lab created, engineered, cultivated and cultured diamonds. These terms all mean the same thing, but 'lab grown' is the term that is most commonly used by jewellers and jewellery buyers.
How long does it take to create a lab grown diamond?
Typically, lab grown diamonds take between one and two weeks to form. Compared to the natural process, which takes billions of years for diamonds to form and enter the Earth’s surface, it is an incredibly quick process!
CVD & HPHT Diamonds
Are CVD diamonds treated?
Most CVD diamonds are treated after creation to enhance their clarity and colour grades. In comparison, fewer lab diamonds created by HPHT need such post-growth treatment to enhance their beauty. Having said this, some CVD diamonds are perfectly gem-quality when created, meaning they don’t need to be treated. This is the same with natural diamonds. You’ll see whether a diamond has been treated on its certificate.
Are CVD diamonds real?
Yes, CVD produces authentic diamonds. A CVD diamond is not artificial - it is 100% genuine diamond, identical in every way to the diamonds found in nature. You might hear some people call CVD diamonds ‘artificial diamonds’, but this refers to the artificial environment in which they are created, rather than the diamonds themselves being fake. It is a confusing term, which is why the industry is starting to abandon the phrase.
Which is better, CVD or HPHT diamonds?
Most experts agree that HPHT diamonds are better quality than CVD diamonds. CVD diamonds are fast growing, which can cause spotty internal marks and graining. CVD diamonds are also known to have brown-ish undertones when produced, meaning they must undergo post-growth treatment to enhance their beauty. HPHT diamonds are typically produced at a higher standard, without the requirement for post-growth treatment.
Do you have additional questions? No problem, let us help you through the process