Natural Diamonds, Lab-Grown Diamonds and Cubic Zirconia

Natural Diamonds:

A natural diamond is a type of gemstone that is formed deep within the Earth’s mantle over millions of years under intense pressure and high temperatures. It is a mineral composed of pure carbon in a crystalline structure, and it is the hardest known substance on Earth. Natural diamonds are prized for their beauty, rarity, and durability, and are commonly used in jewelry such as engagement rings, earrings, necklaces, and bracelets. The investment grade, high-quality diamonds are colorless with few inclusions. Their value is determined by size, color, clarity, and cut. The value of a diamond will be lower with a hint of color and visible inclusions. However, Fancy Colored Diamonds come in a rainbow of intense different colors and can sell for millions of dollars!

Lab Grown Diamonds:

A lab-grown diamond, also known as a synthetic diamond or a man-made diamond, is a type of diamond that is produced in a laboratory using advanced technological processes that mimic the natural process of diamond formation. Unlike natural diamonds, which are formed over millions of years deep within the Earth’s mantle, lab-grown diamonds can be produced in a matter of weeks. The process of creating a lab-grown diamond typically involves one of two methods: high pressure, high temperature (HPHT) or chemical vapor deposition (CVD). In both methods, a small diamond seed is placed in a chamber that is heated and pressurized to create the conditions necessary for diamond growth. The seed is then slowly built up with layers of carbon atoms until a rough diamond is formed, which is then cut and polished to create a finished gemstone. Lab-grown diamonds have the same physical, chemical, and optical properties as natural diamonds, and are visually indistinguishable from natural diamonds to the naked eye.
They are also more affordable than natural diamonds, as the production process is more efficient and cost-effective. However, lab-grown diamonds are not considered “natural” and may not hold the same symbolic or emotional value as a natural diamond for some people.

Can you visually tell the difference between a Natural and Lab Grown Diamond:

To the naked eye, it is visually impossible to tell the difference between a natural diamond and a lab-grown diamond, as they have the same physical, chemical, and optical properties. Both types of diamonds have the same crystal structure, and they are made of pure carbon. However, there are some differences that can be detected through careful examination by a trained gemologist using specialized equipment. For example, lab-grown diamonds may have different growth patterns and inclusions compared to natural diamonds, which can be identified through microscopic examination. Additionally, lab-grown diamonds may have a different type and distribution of impurities compared to natural diamonds, which can be detected through advanced spectroscopy techniques. In summary, while it may be difficult to tell the difference between natural and lab-grown diamonds, a trained gemologist with specialized equipment may be able to detect differences in growth patterns, inclusions, and impurities.
Also, when purchasing a high-quality diamond, the stone should come with a GIA or IGI gemological certificate. This will state whether the diamond is natural or lab-grown.

The long-term investment value for Natural vs Lab-Grown Diamonds:

It’s difficult to predict the long-term investment value of natural diamonds versus lab-grown diamonds because it depends on various factors such as supply and demand, consumer preferences, and technological advancements. However, historically, natural diamonds have held their value well and have even appreciated over time due to their rarity, high demand, and their value as a luxury item.
On the other hand, lab-grown diamonds are relatively new to the market and their long-term investment value is yet to be fully determined. They may face challenges in terms of consumer perception and market acceptance, as some people may prefer natural diamonds for their symbolic and emotional value. However, as the technology for creating lab-grown diamonds improves and the demand for sustainable and ethically sourced diamonds increases, their long-term value may also increase.
Ultimately, the decision to invest in a natural or lab-grown diamond should be based on personal preferences and budget, as well as the specific characteristics and qualities of the diamond in question, rather than solely on potential long-term investment value.

Price Distinction between Natural Diamonds and Lab-Grown Diamonds :

Recently Lab-grown diamonds have come down significantly in price. Originally when they first came onto the market they were approximately 25-30 % less than a natural diamond. Today they can be as much as 60-90% less expensive depending on where you buy one.

This gives you a rough estimate of the price difference for a top quality Diamond:

Natural Diamonds:
A Single Diamond- 4-6+ carats, EF color, VVS-VS clarity,    $100,000-$200,000++
Diamond Suds- 2+carats each/4 ct total weight, same quality-   $65,000-$100,000+
Diamond Eternity band- 5-7+carats (.25-.50 each)- $25,000-$65,000+
Diamond Bracelet & Necklaces- 10-20+ carats total weight (.25-.50each)- $35,000-$150,000+

Lab-Grown Diamonds:
Single stone- 4-6+ carats, EF color, VVS-VS clarity,    $6,000-$12,000+
Diamond Suds- 2+carats each/4+ ct total weight, same quality-   $3,500+
Diamond Eternity band- 5-7+carats total weight (.25-.50 each)- $4,000+
Diamond Bracelet & Necklaces- 10-20+ carats total weight (.25-.50each)- $6,000+

What is the difference between a Lab Grown Diamond and a Cubic Zirconia:

A lab-grown diamond is a diamond made of pure carbon, just like a natural diamond, but created in a laboratory using advanced technological processes. It has the same physical, chemical, and optical properties as a natural diamond and is visually indistinguishable from a natural diamond to the naked eye. On the other hand, cubic zirconia is a completely different material made from a combination of zirconium and oxygen. It is a synthetic crystalline substance that is optically similar to a diamond, but not chemically the same. Cubic zirconia is generally considered to be a diamond simulant or imitation diamond, as it is designed to look like a diamond but is not actually a diamond.
While cubic zirconia may look similar to a diamond to the naked eye, it has a lower hardness and density than a diamond, which means it is less durable and more prone to scratches and damage over time.

Additionally, cubic zirconia does not have the same value as a natural or lab-grown diamond, as it is a synthetic material that is relatively inexpensive to produce. In summary, the main difference between a lab-grown diamond and cubic zirconia is that a lab-grown diamond is a real diamond made of pure carbon, while cubic zirconia is a diamond simulant made of a different material. A lab-grown diamond has the same properties as a natural diamond, while cubic zirconia is less durable and less valuable, and over time it will not have the same sparkle or brilliance as a lab diamond.

No matter what your budget might be, the key is to deal with a reputable company that is knowledgeable and service-oriented to help guide you in the right direction.

Please contact Heidi Ortman Sheff, who has been in the Diamond industry for over 40 years and comes from a fourth-generation, family-owned, wholesale Diamond, Precious Stone & Fine Jewelry company, est in 1899.

Heidi Ortman Sheff

J. Ortman Inc

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