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Lab Grown Diamonds

Today, 1 out of 4 diamond engagement rings purchased in North America are made using lab diamonds, compared to just five years ago when jewelry grade lab diamonds were new to the market and not well known to consumers. If lab diamond purchase trends continue, by 2025 it is expected that 1 out of 2 diamond engagement rings will be made using lab diamonds.

We provide in-person consultations where we will demonstrate the benefits of lab-grown diamonds and why they are the superior choice.

If you would like to learn more about lab grown diamonds before making a purchase, this page includes everything you need to know.


What Are Lab Grown Diamonds?

A lab grown diamond is a diamond: chemically, physically, and optically identical to a mined diamond. Naturally occurring diamonds are forged by the crushing pressure and immense heat of the Earth’s mantle around 100 miles underground. Most were formed between 1 billion and 3 billion years ago at a time when our planet was hotter than it is today.

Lab grown diamonds are also created using extreme pressure and heat, but inside a machine rather than the bowels of the Earth. Lab grown diamonds are grown with identical conditions of a natural diamond. This results in diamonds identical in chemical-structure and optical properties to natural diamonds.

Are Lab Grown Diamonds Real?

Lab diamonds are 100% real diamonds as they have the same physical and chemical properties as natural diamonds. In fact, to distinguish between lab diamonds and real diamonds, even the most skilled gemologists need specialized equipment.

Lab grown diamonds have shapes, sizes, colors, and clarity grades just like natural diamonds. And much like natural diamonds, each lab-grown diamond also comes with its own GIA or IGI certification and a laser-inscribed serial number to match.

What Are Lab Grown Diamonds Called?

Lab grown diamonds are often referred to by several different names including:

  • lab created diamonds
  • synthetic diamonds
  • man-made diamonds
  • manufactured diamonds
  • engineered diamonds
  • cultured diamonds

Depending on the source, you will see these names being used interchangeably but they all represent lab grown diamonds.

Are Lab Grown Diamonds the Same as Moissanite or Cubic Zirconia?

Absolutely not!

While lab grown diamonds are commonly mistaken for moissanite and cubic zirconia, moissanite and cubic zirconia are both diamond simulants and not real diamonds.

Moissanite is made up of silicon carbide. Cubic zirconia is made up of zirconium dioxide. Lab grown diamonds, on the other hand, are made up of pure carbon, which is the exact same composition as natural mined diamonds.


History of Lab Grown Diamonds

Lab Grown Diamonds have been around since the 1940's but haven't taken flight until just a few years ago.


How Are Lab Grown Diamonds Made?

Before we talk about how lab-created diamonds are made, it’s important to understand how mined diamonds are formed. The processes are extremely similar - only one happens naturally while the other occurs in a lab.

How Natural Diamonds Are Made

Geologists and volcanologists believe that diamonds formed deep within the Earth between 1 billion to 3 billion years ago. While they don’t know exactly how those diamonds came to be, they believe the process starts with carbon dioxide that is buried roughly 100 miles beneath the Earth’s surface.

The carbon dioxide is exposed to heat in excess of 2,200 degrees Fahrenheit and put under extreme pressure of roughly 727,000 pounds per square inch. The diamonds are then transported from deep within the Earth’s core to the surface by way of deep volcanic explosions.

How Lab Grown Diamonds Are Made

There are two processes labs use to grow diamonds - High Pressure-High Temperature (HPHT) and Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD). Both of these processes start with a small diamond seed that is grown into a larger diamond over time.

Method 1: High Pressure-High Temperature (HPHT)

HPHT diamonds are made using one of three manufacturing processes: a belt press, the cubic press, and the split-sphere (BARS) press. All of these processes create an environment of extremely high pressure and temperature conducive to diamond growth.

An HPHT diamond begins as a small diamond seed that is placed into carbon. Using one of the manufacturing processes above, the seed is exposed to temperatures of about 1500 degrees Celsius and pressurized to approximately 1.5 million pounds per square inch.

The pure carbon melts and starts to form a diamond around the starter seed. It is then carefully cooled to form a pure carbon diamond.

Method 2: Chemical Vapor Deposition Method

A CVD diamond begins as a thin slice of diamond seed, which is often an HPHT produced diamond. The diamond seed is placed in a sealed chamber and heated to around 800 degrees Celsius.

The chamber is filled with a carbon rich-gas, like Methane, and other gasses. The gasses are ionized into plasma using technology similar to that of microwaves or lasers. The ionization breaks the molecular bonds in the gasses, and the pure carbon adheres to the diamond seed and slowly crystallizes.


Are Lab Grown Diamonds GIA Certified and Graded?

There are many diamond certification labs including:

Gemological Institute of America (GIA)
Antwerp World Diamond Center (AWDC)
American Gem Society (AGS)
International Gemological Institute (IGI)
Gemological Science International (GSI)

Currently, the most popular diamond certification lab is the Gemological Institute of America (GIA).

Lab-grown diamonds have been subject to GIA evaluations since 2007, although the evaluation reports prior to July 1st, 2019 for these diamonds were not as detailed as they are today. Prior to July 1st, 2019, the GIA only provided comprehensive grading reports for real diamonds. For lab grown diamonds, the GIA simply assessed their color and clarity range.

Today, lab-created diamonds are graded and certified using the same process as natural diamonds. GIA Laboratory-Grown Diamond Reports (LGDR) and identification reports include cut, clarity, color, and carat grading scales, and these attributes are described in detail.

The reports also mention the kind of growth process used, such as HPHT (High Pressure High Temperature) or CVD (Chemical Vapour Deposition), and will also indicate whether there is evidence of any post-growth treatments that altered the color.

The Lab Grown Diamond Grading Process

The diamond grading process is now roughly the same for all of the diamond certification labs. Each diamond is graded independently by several gemologists at the lab using the 4c’s - cut, clarity, color, and carat. In summary, lab diamonds are graded on how well it has been cut down from its raw form into a jewel, how flawless and clear it is, and its size. The independent grades are then compiled and analyzed to determine the final grade.

This process is designed to provide each diamond with an unbiased grade. However, it’s not uncommon for a diamond to get a different grade, not only from a different lab but from the same lab if sent back for a second grading.

For this reason, there are many differing opinions amongst consumers and diamond retailers as to which lab is the “best.” But, it’s important to keep in mind that those opinions are completely subjective.

Each lab, much like anything in life, has its pros and cons. We have noticed some larger discrepancies in grading scores when diamonds are certified from some of the smaller institutions. We at Polar primarily only source GIA & IGI diamonds.

A diamond retailer chooses which lab they use because they trust that lab to grade diamonds fairly. If diamond certification is an important factor in your purchase, you should have a candid conversation with your jeweler about which lab they use and why.

More than anything, jewelers want you to be confident in your purchase, so don’t be afraid to ask questions in order to find the best lab-created diamonds for your engagement ring or jewelry.


Natural Diamonds vs Lab Diamonds

People frequently picture the brilliant jewels that have been historically extracted from the earth when they think about diamonds. However, synthetic diamonds have become a well-liked replacement for genuine diamonds in recent years.

These lab diamonds, sometimes referred to as synthetic or cultured diamonds, are produced by cutting-edge technology in carefully regulated settings. But how do lab-grown diamonds stack up against natural ones?

Here are the main distinctions between lab diamonds and natural diamonds:

1. Origin

Real diamonds are created naturally over millions of years under extreme heat and pressure, deep under the earth's crust. Lab diamonds, on the other hand, are produced in labs using cutting-edge technology that mimics the natural diamond-growing process.

While lab diamonds are created by simulating the natural conditions that result in diamond production, actual diamonds are taken from mines.

2. Composition

Pure carbon makes up the chemical makeup of both synthetic and natural diamonds, which is the same for both. They are both unique and valuable since they share the same physical characteristics and crystal structure.

In fact, the visual, physical, and chemical characteristics of lab-grown diamonds are identical, if not better than those of natural diamonds.

3. Sustainability

When compared to actual diamonds, lab grown diamonds are frequently thought to be a more ethical and sustainable choice.

Traditional diamond mining can harm the environment by causing long-term habitat destruction, water contamination, and land disturbance. Additionally, there have been concerns about unethical labor practices and human rights violations in some diamond mines. Albeit, not all natural diamonds are evil. Some natural diamonds have allowed certain Southern African countries such as Botswana to thrive - much like how Canada thrives from its natural resources.

On the other side, lab grown diamonds are produced without the need for mining and long-term land disturbance making them more environmentally-friendly than their natural counterparts.

Lab grown diamonds still require a significant amount of energy, however, they have a much lower carbon footprint when compared to mined diamonds which involve drilling, blasting, digging, and hauling materials to be extracted from the earth.

Certain lab grown diamonds are also produced in carbon-neutral environments that are powered primarily with hydroelectric power and offset with carbon capture credits.

4. Quality

Natural diamonds have a much higher dollar per carat than lab diamonds which is the reason why they are often cut to maximize size rather than cut to maximize cut grade and quality. If a natural diamond is miscut, the manufacturer will rarely cut it down further to avoid reducing its size and overall value.

Additionally, natural diamonds appear in all kinds of shapes and sizes in their rough natural form. These rough starter diamonds are often cut into several smaller diamonds in various shapes. There are additional processes in place to determine what kind of shapes and cuts will maximize the overall carat weight once the cuts are performed.

On the contrary, lab diamonds are always grown in the same shapes and sizes and then cut afterwards. This process is much more controlled and the end-result is a higher-quality diamond.

5. Cost

Natural diamonds are much more expensive than lab grown diamonds due to their finite supply, which is limited by existing diamond-producing mines and future diamond exploration. This gives mined diamonds a rarity premium.

Lab grown diamonds, however, are man-made and therefore have an unlimited supply and cost approximately 75% cheaper than mined diamonds.

As the supply of lab diamonds has increased in the last couple years, the process of making a lab diamond continues to become more economical and productive. It is expected that as the technology gradually advances and processes become more efficient, prices will continue to go down.

As an opinion, we believe that long term most mined diamond prices will also be coming down - similar to the pearl industry. Except for large and extremely rare natural diamonds that will continue to fetch large prices (like art).

6. Rarity

Natural Diamonds are naturally occurring and plentiful available around the world. However, the natural concentration of diamonds required to pay for mining and exploration is extremely rare.

On the other hand, lab diamonds are more easily accessible because they may be produced in a matter of weeks or months.

This can be an advantage for those who are looking for a specific size, shape, or color of diamond, as lab diamonds offer a wider range of options compared to natural diamonds.


Pros and Cons of Lab Grown Diamonds

Benefits of Lab Grown Diamonds

In recent years, lab-grown diamonds have emerged as a popular and responsible alternative, offering a range of benefits that are worth considering.

1. High-Quality

Lab grown diamonds are made in a much more controlled environment, resulting in products that are available in bigger sizes, and shinier than natural diamonds.

2. Affordability

Lab grown diamonds are also approximately 75% more affordable than lab grown diamonds due to their controlled production process, low production costs, and absence of the rarity premium that natural diamonds have.

3. 100% Real Diamonds

While many natural diamond retailers may tell you otherwise, lab grown diamonds are 100% real diamonds. The physical and chemical properties of natural diamonds and lab-grown diamonds are identical. To the naked eye, it is impossible to tell the difference between both types of diamonds.

Disadvantages of Lab Grown Diamonds

1. Consumer Awareness

Despite growing in acceptance over the past few years, lab-grown diamonds may still have trouble being recognized by consumers. When compared to conventionally mined diamonds, lab-grown diamonds could not be as well-known or recognisable to some customers, which could lead to misconceptions or reservations regarding their veracity, worth, and desirability.

2. Lower Resale Value

Over time, the prices of lab grown diamonds will come down as the technology for growing diamonds in a lab becomes more efficient.

3. Market Demand

According on consumer preferences, geographic location, and market trends, the demand for lab-grown diamonds might also change. Although the demand for lab-grown diamonds has increased in some areas, it may not be as steady or extensive as that for natural diamonds, which already have a strong market and customer base.

4. Rarity

Another disadvantage of lab-grown diamonds may be that they are less rare and distinctive than natural diamonds. Due to their rarity and value, natural diamonds are created naturally over millions of years. Lab-grown diamonds, on the other hand, are created under well controlled conditions, which may cause some buyers to question their claimed exclusivity and originality.

Despite some of these disadvantages, lab grown diamonds are rapidly increasing in popularity and are opening up new markets that never existed before, such as affordable everyday diamond jewelry.


    Lab Grown Diamonds Price

    Why Are Lab Grown Diamonds Cheaper?

    In general, lab grown diamonds are cheaper than natural diamonds. The size of the price difference might change based on numerous aspects like size, quality, and market demand. Currently, the pricing for larger lab grown diamonds is more expensive as there has been a large amount of new supply in the 1-3 carats range.

    On average, you will find loose lab grown diamonds to be 75% cheaper than natural diamonds with the exact same characteristics.

    At Polar, we offer the most competitive pricing among any lab diamond retailer in North America. Browse our loose diamonds.

    Here are the three most common reasons why lab grown diamonds are cheaper:

    1. Controlled Production Process

    The controlled production method is one of the major reasons why lab grown diamonds are less expensive. With advanced technology, laboratory grown diamonds are produced at controlled conditions in order to achieve a more efficient and simplified production process.

    Laboratory grown diamonds can be made in a matter of weeks or months, compared to natural diamonds which require mining and extraction from the earth.

    2. Lower Production Costs

    Compared with natural diamond mining, the process of producing diamonds in laboratories can be more cost effective.

    To stimulate the diamond production, lab grown diamonds are usually made from small seed diamonds or carbon sources which have been subjected to high pressure and temperatures with a view to stimulating their growth.

    Compared to the unpredictable and complex nature of mineral diamond extraction, this process can be monitored and optimized so as to reduce overall production costs.

    3. No Rarity Premium

    Natural diamonds are rare and valuable due to their limited supply, which results in a premium price.

    On the other hand, lab grown diamonds are not as rare as natural diamonds because they can be processed in larger quantities within a controlled environment.

    Consequently, it reduces the rarity premium associated with natural diamonds, making them more affordable for consumers.

    Lab Grown Diamonds Price Chart

    Here are some approximate prices for IGI and GIA certified round VS2 lab grown diamonds:

    Are Lab Created Diamonds Worth Anything?

    You will often hear from many earth-diamond retailers that lab grown diamonds have no value. This could not be farther from the truth.

    Some of the highest-quality diamonds in the world are actually lab grown diamonds. This is made possible by researchers, labs, engineers, machinery, time, effort, and skill.

    Lab grown diamonds have resale value due to several factors:

    • Lab diamonds have identical physical and chemical properties to natural diamonds
    • There is a growing demand for lab-grown diamonds
    • There is increasing market acceptance of lab-grown diamonds
    • Professional certifications are available for lab-grown diamonds

    The resale value of both natural diamonds and lab created diamonds will be determined by the retailer applying and buying back at a markup (or discount).

    Apart from resale value, lab grown diamonds hold a symbolic significance for those who wear them and cherish them. Lab grown diamonds have been increasingly replacing traditional mined diamonds, gaining popularity as a symbol of love, commitment, and personal expression.

    Do Lab Grown Diamonds Pass a Diamond Tester?

    Absolutely! Diamond testers are tools for determining if a gemstone is a real diamond or a diamond substitute, such as moissanite or cubic zirconia. Both naturally occurring diamonds and lab grown diamonds have the trait of thermal conductivity, which is how diamond testers gauge their effectiveness.

    Similar to natural diamonds, lab-grown diamonds are made up of carbon atoms organized in a crystal lattice. They are comparable to natural diamonds in terms of hardness, refractive index, and thermal conductivity, which are crucial characteristics that diamond testers look for.

    Due to their similarities to natural diamonds in terms of their physical and chemical characteristics, lab grown diamonds pass diamond testers.

    Can You Insure Lab Grown Diamonds?

    Diamonds created in laboratories are insurable just like diamonds mined from the earth. In fact, purchasing a lab grown diamond will save you money on both the diamond and the insurance policy's annual premium because the insurable item will be less expensive overall.

    Where to Buy Lab Grown Diamonds

    If you’re ready to make a purchase and wondering what is the best place to buy lab grown diamonds, here are several sources you can consider:

    1. Specialized Lab Grown Diamond Retailers

    Specialized lab grown diamond retailers like Polar supply an array of lab grown diamond jewelry such as lab grown diamond engagement rings, lab grown diamond earrings, lab grown diamond necklaces and more.

    Often, these retailers provide an excellent in-person experience as well, granting you access to a showroom where you can visualize what your jewelry will look like, customize your jewelry, and address any questions you may have.

    2. Diamond Jewellery Retailers

    Many reputable online jewelry retailers now offer lab-grown diamonds as part of their inventory. These online retailers often have a wide selection of lab-grown diamonds in various shapes, sizes, and colors, and provide detailed information about the origin, certification, and quality of their diamonds.

    Look for retailers that are transparent about their sourcing practices, certifications, and return policies. Also, be wary that if you are based in Canada and are purchasing from a US retailer, there are hidden costs associated with duties and taxes that are not included in the online pricing.

    3. Custom Jewelers

    Buying lab-grown diamonds can also be a terrific experience with custom jewelers. Many specialized jewelers are willing to work with lab-grown diamonds and are able to construct one-of-a-kind, distinctive items based on your preferences.

    Custom jewelers can assist you in designing a piece of jewelry that is genuinely unique by providing access to a wide variety of lab-grown diamond alternatives.

    Ready to make your first lab grown diamond purchase?

    Book a free in-person or online consultation with one of our lab grown diamond experts.