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Demystifying Lab-Grown Diamonds: What you need to know.

Updated: Apr 2

In the world of jewelry, there's a lot of talk and confusion about lab-grown diamonds. These gems have already made big waves in the industry, and they're not going away anytime soon. Unfortunately, some retail jewelers and diamond wholesalers with a large investment in natural, mined diamond inventory spread misinformation or misleading information to protect their investment. Otherwise, there’s plenty of reliable information out there from reputable sources on the pros and cons of lab-grown diamonds.


K. Hollis Jewelers has sold lab-grown diamonds for years. We believe they’re a great option for our customers. Having said that, we think you should always know what you're getting before you buy. We feel that it’s our responsibility to help you understand how to make the best choice.


Here’s what you need to know about lab-grown diamonds:


Are Lab-Grown Diamonds Real Diamonds?

Absolutely. Chemically, physically, and optically, lab-grown diamonds are identical to natural ones. They have the same crystal structure and beautiful sparkle as natural diamonds. Lab-grown diamonds also have the same famous Mohs hardness of 10 and are just as durable as natural diamonds.


Can You Tell the Difference Between a Lab-Made Diamond and a Natural One?

Nope. Visually, lab-grown diamonds are identical to natural ones. We have ways to tell them apart, like tiny inscriptions or special tests. 


Lab-grown diamonds should always have a tiny laser inscription that identifies the diamond as lab-grown. The inscription can only be seen under magnification on the diamond’s girdle — the widest part of the diamond that forms its outline when you look at it from the top.

Most larger diamonds (1 carat or larger) also have a lab report number inscribed on the girdle. Diamond reports contain lots of details about the diamond including whether the stone is mined or lab-grown.



If there's nothing inscribed on the girdle, we need specialized testing equipment to tell us whether the diamond is natural or lab grown.


Can a Diamond Tester Detect Lab-Created Diamonds?

No. Lab-grown diamonds have the same thermal and electrical conductivity as mined diamonds. So, they will pass a standard diamond tester exam.


Can a Jeweler Tell the Difference Between Lab-grown and Mined Diamonds?

No, most jewelers won't be able to tell the difference (assuming, of course, that the diamond has no girdle inscriptions). However, jewelers who are also trained gemologists may be able to tell whether a diamond is lab-grown with the aid of special-purpose testing equipment. Still, the only way to be near 100% certain is to send the diamond to a gemological laboratory and get a diamond report.


Are Lab-Grown Diamonds Less Expensive Than Mined Diamonds?

Yes, lab grown diamonds are less expensive than mined diamonds and the price for lab grown has been dropping since they were introduced to the market.


Do More People Buy Lab-Grown Diamonds Over Natural Diamonds?

At the end of the day, this presents a choice that only you can make. Some people feel that lab-grown diamonds are inappropriate for an engagement ring because they're "cheap” or less rare than mined diamonds. Others feel that a diamond is a diamond, whether it came from the ground or a laboratory. Still others prefer lab-grown diamonds over mined diamonds for ethical and environmental reasons.


Industry statistics currently tell us that about ⅔ of people aged 21-40 are willing to consider lab-grown diamonds for an engagement ring. At K.Hollis Jewelers, lab grown diamonds account for over 80% of all of our diamond sales. We don’t necessarily see people spending less on a diamond for an engagement ring. Instead, we see that many customers choose a larger, higher quality lab-grown diamond. There will always be people that prefer a natural diamond, but given the lower prices and guaranteed ethical sourcing, a lab-grown diamond is a practical and guilt-free alternative.


Do Lab-Created Diamonds Hold Their Value as Well and Natural Diamonds?

No, while lab-grown diamonds may not hold their value as well as natural ones, their lower initial cost makes up for it. Lab-grown diamonds can be manufactured in high quantities while natural diamonds cannot be produced quickly or in high quantities. 


What about the Investment Value of Diamonds?

In reality, diamonds––whether lab-grown or mined––are not great investments. Their value tends to stay stagnant or even drop over time. Unless you're dropping some serious cash on a large, high-color white, almost flawless diamond, natural diamonds aren’t as rare as the diamond industry would like you to believe. The vast majority of natural diamonds do not appreciate in value. 


The investment myth is largely the work of the marketing and operations teams at DeBeers who controlled the diamond supply chain and created some of the most creative and effective ads ever created. In reality, all but the rarest diamonds dramatically drop in value the second you buy them. 


After that, a mined diamond is likely to slowly regain some value, but it's unlikely you'll be able to sell your natural diamond and break even within your lifetime. Our opinion is that the availability of lab-grown diamonds will also decrease the value of natural diamonds - if for no other reason than demand for natural diamonds will decrease as the demand for lab-grown diamonds increases.


Addressing Common Myths

To wrap up, we want to highlight some of the misinformation we see out on the internet. We’ll give each of them our rating of “True”, “Partially True”, or “Misleading”.


1. A Mass Produced Product Will Never Hold its Value.

Misleading – value can mean many things and just because something is mass-produced doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have value and special meaning.


2. A Rare and Natural Product Will Have More Sentimentality.

Misleading – sentimentality is tied more to the circumstances and the symbolism of something and less to where a product came from.


3. Women Love the Allure of a Natural Diamond.

Partially True – this would be a true statement if it said, “Most women love the allure of any diamond”.


4. Lab-Created Diamonds Are Not as Eco-Friendly as You Think.

Partially True – the manufacturing process for lab-grown diamonds uses a lot of energy. However, it does not cause the same physical damage to the earth as mining does, and it does not rely on the labor of humans to extract the diamonds from the earth.


5. The Value of Lab-Created Diamonds Has Already Dropped Significantly.

True – keep in mind that the availability of lab-grown has also pulled the price of natural diamonds lower, and we believe that overall lower prices for consumers is a good thing.


6. Gemologists Can Always Tell the Difference.

Partially True – since lab-grown and natural are physically identical in every way, the statement that every “expert” can always tell the difference is just not accurate.


7. There’s No Trade Value in Synthetic Diamonds.

Misleading – lab-grown diamonds are NOT synthetic diamonds, so this statement is relying on the consumer not understanding the difference between a real diamond – natural or lab-grown – and a synthetic diamond – something that looks like a diamond, but doesn’t have the same physical characteristics of a diamond.


8. Enjoy The Beauty and Value of a Natural Diamond.

True – however the statement is equally true for a lab-grown diamond.


9. You may want to trade-in or trade-up a lab-grown diamond in a few years, only to find it's worth far less than you paid for it.

Mostly True – however, the same is likely to be true for natural diamonds.


Final Thoughts

At the end of the day, whether you choose a lab-grown or natural diamond is up to you. Both have their perks, so go with what makes you happiest. And remember, we're here to help you make the best choice for you.

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The Science Behind Lab-Grown Diamonds
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