How Popular Are Lab Diamond Rings?
Lab diamond engagement rings are soaring in popularity. Discover how many people are choosing a lab diamond over a natural diamond, what people really think of them, and our expert take on whether lab diamonds are a good idea for your ring.
How many people are buying lab diamond engagement rings?
Around 2 in 3 engagement rings bought are lab diamond rings, at Queensmith. There has been a huge, sharp increase in the demand for lab grown engagement rings since around 2020.
Do people really want lab diamond rings?
A 2021 survey conducted by Queensmith found that 88% of people asked would prefer a lab grown diamond engagement ring over a natural diamond. At the time of the survey, nearly 60% of people hadn’t even heard of lab diamonds before - but the allure of their ethical origins, identical appearance to natural diamonds and lower prices was enough to sway them.
The reality is, there is no physical, chemical or optical difference between lab and natural diamonds and the only difference is how they were made. So in short, there is no stigma to choosing a lab diamond engagement ring. A lot of people really do want lab diamond rings over natural diamonds!
How has demand for lab grown rings changed?
Prior to 2019, less than 1% of engagement rings bought at Queensmith were lab diamond rings. In 2020, this sharply increased to a little over 9%, and by 2021 this figure was 32.6%, meaning nearly one in three engagement rings were now lab grown. 2022 has seen this figure rise and rise, with now over 72% of engagement rings sold being lab grown. That means more than 2 in 3 engagement rings now feature lab grown diamonds!
Why are lab diamonds more popular than ever?
There are some incredibly obvious benefits to choosing a lab diamond: namely, their price and their guaranteed ethical roots.
Perhaps it is no coincidence that the popularity of lab diamonds soared following the 2020 pandemic which reaped financial repercussions for a lot of people. Purses got a little tighter for many people, but expectations remained higher than ever. We’re all shopping around for the best deals without compromising on quality - as we should! So lab diamonds offer an amazing opportunity to purchase an exquisite luxury at a fraction of the cost of natural diamonds.
It isn’t necessarily the case that engagement ring buyers have reduced their budgets - which are more or less the same as pre-pandemic levels - but instead there is simply a desire to get more for your money. You can get exactly this with a lab diamond, which is usually between 60% to 80% cheaper than an identical natural diamond, meaning your budget will achieve a much larger lab diamond.
If lab diamonds are so popular, why do some jewellers refuse to sell them?
Some jewellers have taken the decision not to sell or work with lab diamonds - typically in the fear of what lab diamonds will mean for their natural diamond offering, or simply because they don’t view them as a luxury item. At Queensmith, it has been really important for us to leave that decision with our clients; we offer both natural and lab diamonds. It was no quick and easy decision to add lab diamonds to our offering without doing our due diligence, and our experts really did the research to ensure we could be totally confident in the longevity of lab diamonds and their beauty. Plus, they’re totally still a luxury. The reality is, many jewellers that refused to sell lab diamonds a few years ago are probably kicking themselves now!
Is a lab diamond engagement ring fake?
Lab grown diamonds aren’t fake - they’re actually 100% authentic diamonds, entirely identical to a diamond produced by nature. The only ‘fake’ thing about lab diamonds is the artificial environment in which they’re grown, which is essentially a process designed by scientists to mimic the Earth’s diamond-making processes.
Lab diamonds are sometimes referred to as synthetic diamonds, but the term ‘synthetic’ refers to the artificial environment in which they’re created. It can be a misleading term, and should not be confused with diamond simulants like cubic zirconia (CZ) and moissanite which are essentially fake diamonds. Diamond simulants are created as low cost alternatives to diamonds, but have very different properties to diamonds and can look very different. Lab diamonds and natural diamonds are identical and can’t be told apart without specialist lab equipment, even by the most experienced gemmologists.
The pros of buying lab diamond jewellery
Identical to natural diamonds, you can’t tell them apart
Typically cost between 60-80% less than natural diamonds
You can achieve a bigger carat weight for your budget
Guaranteed ethical origins
100% authentic diamonds
Increasingly created via renewable energy, although not always
The cons of buying lab diamond jewellery
Maybe lacks the romance of something created by the Earth (it’s subjective!)
Future value is uncertain
It takes a lot of energy to create lab diamonds
Is it a good idea to buy a lab grown engagement ring?
The majority of couples and industry professionals alike think a lab grown engagement ring is a great idea; there’s proof in the fact that around 2 in 3 couples now choose a lab grown ring. For a lot of gemmologists, it seems like an obvious choice to choose a lab diamond ring over a natural diamond; both are incredibly and undeniably exquisite, both entirely authentic and precious - one just happens to cost less and came about in a different way.