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Comparing Laboratory-Grown Diamonds and Natural Diamonds

Laboratory-grown diamonds are an exciting addition to bridal and fine jewellery options. While they have become more commonplace in recent years, there are still many people, especially in countries where they are less common, who aren’t entirely sure what all the laboratory-grown talk is about.

So, while the right type of stone for your bridal ring or jewellery comes down to your personal preference, this guide is here to help you understand the key similarities (and differences) between natural diamonds and laboratory-grown diamonds. 

Natural Diamonds

What do they look like? 

Natural diamonds, also known as mined diamonds, are scintillating, sparkling gemstones. Diamonds are distinctive among other stones for the way they reflect and disperse light into patterns of white and coloured light. Diamonds come in a range of colours, with the most popular being the white variety; within this colour range, stones will vary from ‘Colourless’, which are rare and valuable stones of pure white appearance, to stones with faint to more noticeable tinges of yellow or brown.  Each diamond is unique, with its own colour and clarity characteristics which occur as the diamond is formed.  

How are they made? 

Natural diamonds are created by the forces of Earth, and it is thought that all diamonds in existence today are millions, or even billions of years old.  These diamonds form from carbon molecules subjected to the extreme pressure and heat present near the core of the Earth – resulting in the hardest known gemstone. Deep-Earth volcanic eruptions bring diamonds from the core up towards the Earth’s surface, where they are extracted via mining.  

What jewellery are they best for?  

Diamonds have been beloved by people for thousands of years, thanks to their incredible beauty, their durability, and the mysticism attached to them.  With their brilliant sparkle, versatile colour range, and extreme hardness, natural diamonds are the perfect choice for everything from the most special piece such as an engagement ring, to timeless fashion jewellery.  

Laboratory-Grown Diamonds

What do they look like? 

Laboratory-grown diamonds look just like natural diamonds. In fact, laboratory-grown diamonds have essentially the same chemical, physical (including optical) properties and crystal structure as natural diamonds. Based on appearance, generally only a professional gemmologist using the proper equipment can tell the difference between the two. They share with natural diamonds a beautiful sparkle which is distinctive from other gemstones, and they are similarly most popular in the white shades (though laboratory-grown diamonds can also be created with fancy colours).

Due to the way they are grown, laboratory-grown diamonds also form with unique characteristics of colour and clarity. However, laboratory-grown diamonds are available in premium colour and clarity grades, and large carat weights, at a more accessible price point than natural diamonds of comparable quality and size.  

How are they made? 

Laboratory-grown diamonds are grown in state-of-the-art laboratories, with advanced machinery that emulates the forces and conditions of Earth which cause natural diamonds to form. They are grown from diamond seeds and made from pure carbon – the same mineral as natural diamonds.  

It’s important to note that laboratory-grown diamonds are classified as diamonds, and share the structural and optical properties of natural diamonds; making them a beautiful and high-quality alternative option. They should not be confused with diamond simulants such as moissanite and cubic zirconia. A diamond simulant is a stone that’s created to mimic the appearance of diamonds, but which is made from different materials (in other words, not classified as a diamond).   

What jewellery are they best for? 

Sharing the beautiful sparkle and durable hardness of natural diamonds, laboratory-grown diamonds are similarly ideal for everything from engagement rings and wedding bands to heirloom and fashion jewellery. As premium-grade laboratory-grown diamonds are available at a more accessible price point, they are also the perfect option for anyone with their heart set on a spectacular solitaire engagement ring or a luxurious carat weight.

Want to know more? Learn more about laboratory-grown diamonds ›

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