Lab-Grown Diamonds vs. Natural Diamonds

One of the best parts about the wedding industry today is being able to have the exact engagement ring you want. The story of your ring is yours to create. With that comes a major decision if you choose to have a diamond center stone — lab-grown vs. natural diamond center stone. But what’s the difference? The difference is that lab-grown diamonds are made in a laboratory instead of inside the earth. That difference in origin is also what makes lab-grown diamonds typically 30%-40% less expensive than natural diamonds.

Both are beautiful options — optically, chemically, and physically identical — and choosing between them is simply a personal choice.

Did You Know?

Both are the same in so many ways:

  • One-of-a-kind with unique internal characteristics.

  • Available in a range of qualities and fancy colors.

  • Cut and faceted from rough diamond material.

  • Made of pure carbon with a hardness rating of 10.

  • Identical in scintillation (sparkle) and fire with a 2.42 refractive index and dispersion of .044.

  • Graded using the same universal standards of carat, cut, color and clarity.

They differ in their origin and cost.

Lab-Grown Diamonds
Created in 4–6 weeks in laboratories and are less expensive
Natural Diamonds
Created over millions to billions of years within the earth and are more expensive

How can you tell the difference between them?

Since lab-grown diamonds are optically, chemically, and physically identical to natural diamonds, you can’t tell the difference between them with your naked eye or even a jeweler's loupe. But don’t worry, there are established, trusted, and accurate ways through advanced instruments to make sure you know exactly what type of diamond you have. Always work with jewelry professionals that buy diamonds that are screened either by the supplier or with their own on-site testing and screening equipment. Keep in mind that screening alone is inconclusive for identification, and further testing may be required. Some diamonds also come with a report, from an accredited grading lab, that validates the type of diamond you purchased along with other characteristics for assurance and documentation. 

How are Lab-Grown Diamonds made?

Two different methods are used, sometimes together, to create lab-grown diamonds. 

  • High Pressure High Temperature (HPHT) 
    This process mimics mother nature by applying high pressure and high heat inside specialized equipment to a diamond seed, accelerating the growth of crystalized diamond. 

  • Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD) 
    This process uses a chemical vapor-based method to stimulate growth of crystalized diamond from a diamond seed