Diamond Guide

Lab Grown Diamonds

Why Choose

A Lab Grown Diamond?

Today we’d like to dispel some myths and help you make a better-informed decision when it comes to selecting a new diamond for your engagement ring. The skyrocketing popularity of gem-quality lab grown diamonds in the last five years has shaken up our industry and provoked enthusiastic debate among jewellers. In short, we welcome these stones and the level of innovation that made them possible — but there are some common misunderstandings about lab grown diamonds that need to be cleared up.

Lab Grown Diamonds

The Background

So what is a lab grown diamond, exactly? As the name suggests, lab diamonds are developed in a controlled laboratory setting using advanced technology to replicate the natural process that takes place in the earth’s mantle. They are also known as synthetic, man-made, cultured, or engineered diamonds. This is not a new engineering technique; GE created its first batch of lab-grown industrial diamonds back in December 1954. However, it wasn’t until the 1970s that gem-quality lab stones became commercially available — and not until the 1980s that high-quality man-made diamonds became more widely accessible at reasonable prices.

Can You Tell

The Difference?

When people hear about lab diamonds they often assume that the stones are somehow 'fake' or substandard compared to a diamond that is mined from the earth in the traditional way. That’s a huge misconception. In fact, lab grown diamonds are identical to mined diamonds in almost every way. They are made of crystallised carbon, meaning they have the very same chemical, optical, physical, and thermal features — while also being cut to the same high standard.

Even industry experts struggle to tell the difference without the use of highly specialised equipment to scan for crystal patterns and irregularities. People are often surprised to learn that lab grown diamonds generally test positive on a diamond tester.

How Are Lab Grown

Diamonds Manufactured?

There are two methods to grow diamonds; the HPHT (high-pressure high temperature) method, and the CVD (chemical vapour deposition) method.

HPHT was the original method. It involves heating carbon to extreme temperatures (up to 1500 degrees Celsius) and applying pressure of approximately 1.5 million pounds per square inch. Technicians create lab grown diamonds from 'seeds,' or tiny diamond fragments. A complex mix of gases is directed at the seed under these conditions, causing the diamond to gradually develop, atom-by-atom until it emerges as a perfect gemstone.

Industrialists valued these stones for their hardness and conductivity. The early prototypes were not as large or as clear as the best mined diamonds, and most were coloured yellow or brown due to the nitrogen that was used for stabilisation.

By contrast, the Chemical Vapour Deposition (CVD) technique involves the use of a sealed, airless chamber heated to around 800 degrees Celsius. The chamber is pumped full of ultra-pure carbon-rich gasses like hydrogen and methane. Carbon atoms in the gas separate and descend onto a thinly sliced diamond substrate, building up layers to form a rudimentary diamond crystal.

These stones take six to ten weeks to reach maturity. The diamond seed is cut by laser from the crystal, so that it can be reused to grow more diamonds.

Lab Grown Diamonds

vs. Diamond Simulants

A lab grown diamond is most definitely not to be confused with a diamond simulant! The latter type of stone is not carbon-based; it is simply manufactured to look like a diamond, even though it is made from altogether different materials like cubic zirconia or moissanite.

Cubic zirconia is produced from zirconium dioxide. It’s very inexpensive, so it’s often used in cheap rings and costume jewelry. It discolours and scratches easily, so it’s not a compelling diamond alternative.

How Are Lab Grown

Grading & Affordability

Conveniently for the discerning shopper, lab-created diamonds are certified using the same system and standards as mined diamonds. This means they are individually graded on Cut, Colour, Clarity, and Carat Weight.

They are an exciting option if you are looking for an affordable alternative to natural diamonds — prices are typically 20-40% lower than for naturally-mined stones.

The absence of supply constraints does mean that their value will depreciate over time, affecting their resale value. However, these lab-made stones have the same lifespan and the very same sparkling finish as their natural equivalents, so you are not compromising on brilliance or quality.

Let Us Introduce You To Our

Lab Created Engagement Range

What if we could cut the high cost of an engagement ring without sacrificing the quality, giving people a bigger diamond at a lower price, with more sparkle and in a more sustainable way? Let us introduce you to our 1970 Collection. Named after the year that we sold our first ever engagement ring, this is our first ever engagement ring collection featuring lab grown diamonds and using 100% recycled metals.