Know Your Diamond: Natural vs Lab-grown Diamond
Diamond is one of the most expensive natural elements, we all know that so far. But in the last 5 years, there has been a very drastic change after lab-grown diamonds, often called man-made or CVD diamonds, started coming to the market at a commercial level.
Nowadays it has become a great alternative to pure natural diamonds for such people who wanna wear diamonds but are short in budget. For sure, one must know whether what he/she is buying is a natural diamond or not while purchasing. Let’s take some deep breaths and get into a detailed discussion about natural diamonds vs lab-grown ones.
What is Natural Diamond?
Natural diamonds are made billions of years ago far below the earth’s surface under extreme pressure and heat. Numerous volcanic eruptions have brought them to the earth’s surface in the form of Kimberlite pipes. These pipes are mined for diamonds; only five percent
of all Kimberlite pipes have enough diamonds that are beneficial for mining. Due to its different shattering tendency beneath the surface, the majority of the kimberlite pipes give more number of smaller diamonds than the bigger ones.
What is Lab-grown Diamond?
Starting from 1950, lab-grown diamonds have evolved from time to time, and since 2010, colorless and near-colorless diamonds started coming to the gem and jewellery market at the industrial level. There are two processes for producing laboratory-grown diamonds- HPHT (High pressure, high temperature), & CVD (Chemical Vapor Deposition). So, before getting into the comparison of natural vs lab-grown diamonds, we must know a bit more about lab-grown diamonds.
The first one, High Pressure, High Temperature (HPHT), is basically a mimicking process of forming a natural diamond. Very high pressure and temperature are provided mechanically to create the same environment as the earth’s crust. In this process, a definite lab-grown diamond crystal is produced which then could be cut in different shapes or criteria.
CVD or Chemical Vapor Deposition, on the other hand, is done in a completely different way where something is used called Diamond Seed. This diamond seed is a tiny diamond with an already-formed crystalline structure and is made of pure carbon. You can compare the whole process as you’re printing a 3D diamond, you put the seed in a vacuum tube, and broken-down molecules of rich hydrogen gas form a diamond crystal of square shape.
No matter which process is used, it takes less than a month for the production of most of the sizes. Few more processes are there following this production like heat treatment for changing or enhancing the color or other characteristics of the diamond. Polishing and cutting are required for both natural and lab-grown diamonds, but one main thing is that the lab-grown ones take much lesser time to be produced than the natural ones.
Natural vs Lab-grown diamonds: Introduction
When buying diamonds, the price is always a big factor, especially when you’re investing 2-3 lacs for a 1.00 ct solitaire with H-I color, and VVS-1 purity, then you must have to know whether you’re buying a real or natural one or a CVD diamond. As per recent market values, a lab-grown diamond with a weight of 1.00, 1.02, or 1.05 ct will cost you up to 40-50% lesser than a natural one with the same weight, color, or purity. Let’s look at an example: say, a natural diamond weighing 1.21ct, H-I color, and VVS-1 purity, is costing you around Rs.200K per carat which sums into Rs.242K for buying that solitaire; on the other hand, a CVD or lab-grown diamond with the same weight, color, and purity will be available in a price range of around Rs.80-90K per carat, getting a total costing of around Rs.97-110K for buying.
We hope, by now you’ve got to know why one should be aware while buying a natural diamond which is almost 2.5 times more expensive than CVD diamonds. One must ask for any of the two- IGI (International Gemological Institute) or GIA (Gemological Institute of America) certification of a natural diamond before buying, because these two are the most popular organization for certifying diamonds.
As CVD diamonds gained popularity in the industry, there hasn’t been so much of a compromise in their beauty, but if you take a deeper look inside a diamond, then you will definitely get to know why a natural diamond is so costlier than CVD diamonds. It is true that distinguishing natural and CVD diamonds with the naked eye is next to impossible, even with 10x, but experts can identify CVD or lab-grown diamonds with higher magnifications, due to some of their exact differences from the natural ones. Lab-grown diamonds are also formed or created under the same mimicking conditions, thus they also contain inclusions, and also get purity classifications the same as diamonds- from FL (flawless) to I3 (Imperfect).
As always, for any color, purity, and clarity, lab-grown diamonds differ from natural diamonds with the same indexes in their prices. But, anytime, if you’re in a bit of a scarcity of budget but you need to buy a diamond anyhow, then you can definitely go for CVD diamonds available in the market. If untold, then someone could merely identify it with their bare eyes. But if you have set your mind that you’ll buy natural diamonds, then you must demand an IGI or GIA certification of the diamonds from the seller because there is no other way for common people to identify a natural diamond. In the case of solitaires, the organizations like IGI and GIA inscribe the certification number inside the diamond, in most cases in the girdle part of the diamond, which you can also look for with a higher magnification glass than 10x.
Resale or exchange:
After covering the two most important topics about natural vs lab-grown diamonds While buying diamonds, you must think about the future of diamonds, like after 5 years, if you change your mind about exchanging your older diamond ring with a newer one with bigger stones, then this factor comes to work. For all of the solitaires, pointers, and tiny diamonds, if you have natural diamonds, you will get almost the real-time value of them according to their color, clarity, and purity, as per the then Rapaport.
But, if you’re owning CVD diamonds, then it becomes critical to get at least 30-40% of its cost, like if you bought a lab-grown solitaire diamond 4 years ago with ₹100K, and you wanna exchange it now, you will hardly get ₹30K-₹40K as it’s resale value. So, this is a big disadvantage of owning lab-grown diamonds where the investment is good, it looks almost like natural diamonds also, but returns nearly one-fourth of its original. So, it may be critical while buying for the first time, but still buying natural diamonds is worth it.
Availability is a large factor when buying diamonds, as every time every single piece of this natural beauty is not available in the market in every color, clarity, or purity. Especially with different shapes like princess, emerald, or marquise, these diamonds are generally available in higher color and clarity grades most of the time. Basically tiny diamonds, even pointers remain available in most of their grades, but the problem starts when the size goes beyond 1 or 1.5 ct. solitaires. Most of the time, consumers don’t get the diamonds with the exact combination of 4C’s they want. But still, they prefer to buy natural ones, no matter how long the negotiations are, and no matter how much time it takes.
So, till now, we hope you’ve got to know the points of natural vs lab-grown diamonds. Visit lamarquem.com to buy from our exclusive minimalistic jewelry collection with IGI-certified natural diamonds, and 14kt hallmarked gold.