About Lab-Grown Diamonds

You may have heard diamonds come from coal. The truth is, diamonds take about 3.3 billion years to form inside specific areas about 90 miles under the earth’s crust. The process demands extremely high temperatures, at least 2000 degrees Fahrenheit. While it’s impossible to speed up the organic process of diamond formation in the earth, you can replicate the environment and conditions, and then speed up the process of diamond formation. That’s how man-made diamonds are grown synthetically in a lab. They’re not synthetic diamonds, because they have all the characteristics of diamonds, down to their chemical composition and molecular structure.

Lab-grown diamonds go by different names, including cultured diamonds, engineered diamonds, synthetic diamonds, and man-made diamonds. The technology for growing diamonds was first created in 1955 when the first lab-grown diamond was ever made. With the same chemical makeup, lab-grown diamonds have the same appearance and hardness of a natural diamond. However, the technology wasn’t refined to the level it’s at today until the late 1980s when the quality of lab-made diamonds increased.


What Are Man-Made Diamonds?

Man-made diamonds structurally and chemically match diamonds as we know them, which are formed by the earth naturally. While natural diamonds formed over billions of years, lab-grown diamonds can be created within weeks.

Man-made diamonds can be made in different colors, which do occur in nature but are very rare. The only person who can tell the difference between a man-made diamond and one that took billions of years to be formed naturally is a specialist who can use equipment to analyze minute differences in trace elements in the diamond and in crystal formation.

Lab-Created Diamond Benefits

Lab-grown benefits take billions of years less to make. With high demand, supplying it at a lower price point is highly profitable for businesses and beneficial for the economy right now. Before this technology became available, the reason diamonds were always so expensive was because of their rarity, taking billions of years to develop before they can be mined from the earth.

Lab-grown diamonds, however, require no mining, are much cheaper, and there’s no limit to how many can be produced. This is a huge game-changer for the jewelry industry. Plus, consumers enjoy peace of mind knowing their diamonds came from ethical sourcing. With no mining required, lab-grown diamonds are the most socially conscious choice for both the planet and fellow humans.

Another benefit of buying lab-grown diamonds is that you can walk away from the purchase guilt-free. In fact, the only way to ensure you’re not supporting unfair labor at diamond mines is to buy lab-made diamonds. There’s no need to dig into the earth inside a foreign country when a diamond lab can be established anywhere. By buying lab-grown diamonds, you’re supporting the movement away from conventional “blood” diamonds.


Lab Grown Diamonds vs. Diamond Simulants

At first thought, you might believe lab-made diamonds are a simulated diamond. In truth, they’re 100 percent real, since they are chemically and structurally identical to earth-mined diamonds. In fact, any jeweler can use the technology they have and it would tell them that a lab-grown diamond is real.

Diamond simulants are “faux diamonds” made to look like them but be available for a much lower price point. Some of the major diamond simulants include cubic zirconia and moissanite. While they all share a clear crystalline look, the properties of diamond simulants are very different from diamonds. Unlike diamonds, these crystals are not carbon-based, and you don’t need any equipment to see the difference. Because colored diamonds are so rare in the natural world, colored lab-grown diamonds may easily be mistaken for simulant diamonds like cubic zirconia or moissanite.


Lab Diamonds vs. Natural Diamonds

Lab-made diamonds are indistinguishable from natural diamonds because they are diamonds—their only difference from natural diamonds is the origin. While you can’t tell the difference with the naked, untrained eye, lab specialists use technology to look at finely detailed distinctions between the crystal structure that indicate the speed of development was much faster. Any trace elements identified in a diamond can also tell experts where the diamond was formed, and hence, whether it’s man-made or natural.

Whenever you buy a diamond that was man-made, you a gem certification from the lab, which is proof the diamond is lab-grown. On the other hand, when you purchase a diamond of earth origins, you get a certification from a grading agency that describes its quality.

While lab-grown and earth-mined diamonds are both diamonds, there are some glaring differences. First, lab-grown diamonds are ethically sourced. Every earth mined diamond has a past, and it’s hard to feel guilt-free when you can’t be sure where your diamond was sourced. It’s virtually impossible to trace a diamond’s full history after it comes out of the earth, which speaks to the lack of ethics within the diamond industry. Sadly, horror stories of child labor and human rights violations abound at diamond mines in countries where businesses aren’t regulated and the criminal justice system is lacking. On the other hand, nobody is harmed in the process of growing diamonds in a lab.

DiamondsPrice range of
1-carat diamond
Chemical compositionProper advertising description
according to the FTC
Natural Diamonds
Prices: $3000-$5000CarbonNatural Diamonds, Mined diamonds
Lab-Created Diamonds
Prices: $1500-$3650CarbonLab-Grown Diamonds, Lab-Created Diamonds

Best Lab Diamonds

The best lab-created diamonds are type IIa diamonds, which is the purest form of diamond available. In fact, only 2 percent of earth’s natural diamonds are this pure. On the other hand, lab-created diamonds are made in highly controlled and monitored, contaminant-free environments, so quality assurance is built-in. While all lab-grown diamonds are great, just like with earth mined diamonds, no two are the same. There are differences in reflection, clarity and the refraction of light that gives the stone its “sparkle,” so the key is to look for a stone that speaks out to you.

The best lab diamonds are cut, polished and graded in a lab that also certifies earth-mined diamonds. The clarity should be on par with or better than an earth-mined diamond, typically ranging from IF to SI2. Besides reading up on a diamond’s certification, you also want to examine the stone closely and consider the 4 C’s that determine quality: color, cut, clarity and carat weight. The cut and clarity of stone affect the diamond’s brilliance and shine by changing the way it refracts light. The quality of a diamond’s color is generally subjective. Since the saturation of hue can be controlled, there’s a wide range of possible stone colors. The carat weight of a diamond directly reflects its value because it’s an indication of rarity. Lab-grown diamonds with larger carat weight aren’t a rarity like earth mined diamonds, but the carat weight can be used to reference the size of the stone and the value it would be priced at was it naturally-sourced.


GIA Lab-Grown Diamonds

GIA is an international non-profit organization originally devoted to grading and certifying earth mined diamonds. After over 30 years of researching diamond growth first-hand, GIA began pioneering the innovation of technology for growing real diamonds. As a trusted authority on diamond quality, GIA knows what goes into growing the best lab-made diamonds. After realizing the world needed an international standard by which to understand and evaluate diamonds, so it created the International Diamond Grading System for grading diamonds. Knowing that GIA sets the international standard, buying a lab-grown diamond from GIA helps ensure you’re getting a product that is 100 percent pure.

In making their lab-grown diamonds, GIA gathers the actual materials required for a natural diamond to be made geologically by the earth, including carbon gases, graphite, pressure, and heat, to make diamonds identical to natural ones. Only in a gem lab can the distinctions between lab-grown and natural diamonds be seen.


Diamond Anatomy & Cut Quality

Lab-grown diamonds are chemically identical to mined diamonds, except that they do not come from the earth.



Clarity, which refers to the number of inclusions and blemishes in stone, is particularly important in round diamonds. A high level of clarity is one of the most important factors to consider when you pick out your stone.

Here’s the IGI Clarity Grading scale (from best to worst):
  • Internally Flawless (IF),
  • Very Very Small Inclusions 1 (VVS1),
  • Very Very Small Inclusions 2 (VVS2),
  • Very Small Inclusions 1 (VS1),
  • Very Small Inclusions 2 (VS2),
  • Small Inclusions 1 (SI1),
  • Small Inclusions 2 (SI2),
  • Inclusions 1 (I1),
  • Inclusions 2 (I2).


Every diamond comes with individual grading from either the IGI or GCal and shows their cut grade on the grading report.

The Cut

All lab-created white Lab-created diamonds are hand-cut. Every diamond comes with individual grading from either the IGI or GCal and shows their cut grade on the grading report. Every diamond is cut to maximize brilliance and color.


Diamonds naturally occur in every imaginable color with an infinite number of hues, tonality and saturation levels. The color comes from impurities, at the atomic level, that become trapped inside the diamond lattice.

Lab-Created Diamond Color

The IGI grades diamonds on the following Color scale of D to Z, with Z being a diamond with a noticeable yellow or brown color.

Colorless   As the highest color grade, D means the diamond has almost no color even under magnification. E and F ratings look identical to the naked eye. Only an expert gemologist is able to note the differences between D, E, and F grades.
Nearly Colorless G-J color graded diamonds have nearly no color and appear mostly colorless to the naked eye. In most cases, they will look the same as D to F diamonds but are priced much lower.
Faint Tint Diamonds in K-M range show a slight yellow tint when viewed with the naked eye. Some people prefer these warmer diamonds set in a beautiful yellow gold setting.
Very Light Tint   The noticeable yellow or brown tint of N-R diamonds make them available at much lower prices. We generally don’t recommend diamonds in this color range. If you’re looking for a colorful stone, we suggest searching for a beautiful fancy color diamond like a yellow, pink or blue diamond.
Light Tint   Diamonds in the S-Z range have a distinct yellow or brown tint. We don’t recommend S-Z diamonds. Instead, look for a fancy color diamond with vibrant color.

Carat (Size)

The collection of lab-created diamonds are available up to IF in clarity, D in color, Ideal in cut, and up to 10 carats in size.

Grading Scale

Each diamond or gem is individually weighed to determine that stones carat weight. On the metric scale, 1 carat is equivalent to 200 milligrams, or 0.2 grams. While carat weight can impact the value of a diamond, it’s important to understand that two diamonds of the same weight may have drastically different values. This is because a diamond’s value takes into account all of the 4Cs, not just carat weight.

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