Are Lab Grown Diamonds Really Worth the Hype?

Are Lab Grown Diamonds Really Worth the Hype?

Lab-grown diamonds have been an influential trend in the diamond industry in recent years, attracting consumers with their eco-friendly and ethical appeal. Still, it raises the question: Are these man-made jewels really worth the hype? We'll dive into the specifics of lab-grown diamonds in this extensive blog post, discussing their history, characteristics, and the ongoing discussion about their acceptability and worth.

What are Lab Grown Diamonds?

Lab grown diamonds, also referred to as cultured diamonds, are created in controlled laboratory settings using technology, unlike diamonds that form within the Earth's mantle over billions of years. Lab grown diamonds are produced through two main techniques; High Pressure High Temperature (HPHT) and Chemical Vapour Deposition (CVD). 

The HPHT method mimics the heat and pressure conditions of the Earth's mantle while the CVD method involves depositing a carbon gas onto a seed crystal to facilitate layer by layer diamond growth [1]. Both processes result in diamonds that are chemically, physically, and optically identical to natural diamonds, with the same crystal structure and properties.


Ethical and Environmental Considerations

The ethical and environmental implications of lab-grown diamonds are among their greatest benefits. The manufacturing of lab-grown diamonds is a highly regulated and transparent process, in contrast to traditional diamond mining, which has been disrupted by problems including conflict diamonds, abuses of human rights, and environmental destruction.

Avoiding Conflict Diamonds

In the diamond industry, conflict diamonds, also referred to as "blood diamonds," have long been a subject of dispute. These diamonds are mined in regions under the control of rebel groups or their partners, and earnings are frequently used to fuel civil wars, armed conflicts, and violations of human rights [4].

The Kimberley Process Certification Scheme was established in 2003 to address this issue, but it has faced criticism for its limitations and lack of enforcement. As a result, many consumers have turned to lab grown diamonds as an ethical alternative, free from the taint of conflict and human rights abuses.

Environmental Impact

Diamond mining is a resource-intensive and environmentally damaging process. It involves extensive excavation, which can lead to deforestation, soil erosion, and the displacement of local communities. Additionally, the mining process requires vast amounts of water and energy, contributing to greenhouse gas emissions and water pollution.

In contrast, the production of lab grown diamonds has a significantly lower carbon footprint and environmental impact. While the process still requires energy and resources, it does not involve the extensive extraction and transportation processes associated with mining [5].

Furthermore, many lab grown diamond companies are actively working to reduce their environmental footprint by adopting renewable energy sources, implementing recycling programs, and minimising waste.

Cost and Value

One of the primary reasons consumers are drawn to lab grown diamonds is their cost-effectiveness. On average, lab grown diamonds can be 30-40% less expensive than their natural counterparts of similar quality [6]. This cost difference is primarily due to the controlled and efficient production process, as well as the absence of mining and exploration costs.

However, it's important to note that the cost of lab grown diamonds can vary significantly based on factors such as size, colour, clarity, and cut quality. Larger and higher-quality diamonds tend to command higher prices, regardless of their origin.

Cost Breakdown

To understand the cost difference between lab grown and natural diamonds, let's break down the factors that contribute to their respective prices:

Natural Diamonds:

  • Mining and exploration costs
  • Rarity and scarcity
  • Grading and certification
  • Labour and transportation
  • Marketing and branding

Lab Grown Diamonds:

  • Production costs (equipment, energy, materials)
  • Grading and certification
  • Labour and manufacturing
  • Marketing and distribution

As you can see, natural diamonds carry additional costs associated with mining, exploration, and the inherent scarcity of the resource. Lab grown diamonds, on the other hand, have a more streamlined and controlled production process, resulting in lower overall costs.

Potential Long-Term Value

As for their long-term value and resale potential, there is still some uncertainty surrounding lab grown diamonds. While they may not appreciate in value like natural diamonds, their lower initial cost and increasing consumer acceptance could make them a more accessible and practical investment option for some buyers.

It's important to note that the resale value of a diamond, whether natural or lab grown, depends on various factors such as quality, certification, and market demand. As the lab grown diamond industry continues to grow and mature, it's possible that their resale value may increase over time.

However, it's generally advisable to view lab grown diamond purchases as a consumer purchase rather than a pure investment, as their value is primarily derived from their beauty, quality, and ethical appeal rather than scarcity or investment potential.

Optical and Physical Properties

One of the most frequently asked questions about lab grown diamonds is whether they are visually and physically indistinguishable from natural diamonds. The answer is a resounding yes.

Lab grown diamonds share the same chemical composition, crystal structure, and optical properties as natural diamonds. They are graded using the same internationally recognized 4Cs system (cut, colour, clarity, and carat weight) and can exhibit the same range of colours, from colourless to fancy coloured diamonds.

The 4Cs of Lab Grown Diamonds

Just like natural diamonds, lab grown diamonds are evaluated based on the 4Cs: cut, colour, clarity, and carat weight. Let's take a closer look at how these factors apply to lab grown diamonds:

Cut: The cut of a diamond refers to its proportions, symmetry, and overall polish. A well-cut diamond will maximise its brilliance and fire, regardless of whether it's natural or lab grown. Lab grown diamonds can be expertly cut to achieve optimal light performance and sparkle.

Colour: Lab grown diamonds can be produced in a wide range of colours, from colourless to fancy coloured diamonds like yellow, pink, or blue. The colour is determined by the presence of trace elements or structural defects during the growth process.

Clarity: Clarity refers to the presence (or absence) of internal inclusions or external blemishes in a diamond. Thanks to the controlled environment of the lab, many lab grown diamonds can be produced with exceptional clarity, often surpassing the clarity of some natural diamonds.

Carat Weight: Like natural diamonds, lab grown diamonds are available in various carat weights, from fractions of a carat to larger sizes. The carat weight is determined by the size and dimensions of the diamond crystal.

Thanks to advancements in technology, lab grown diamonds can now be produced with exceptional clarity and cut quality, rivalling the finest natural diamonds. In fact, many experts argue that lab grown diamonds offer more consistent quality and fewer inclusions compared to their natural counterparts [4].

Advanced Imaging and Testing

While lab grown diamonds are visually and chemically identical to natural diamonds, advanced imaging techniques can be used to distinguish between the two. These techniques include:

Microscopic Examination: Experienced gemmologists can sometimes identify subtle differences in the growth patterns and strain patterns of lab grown diamonds under high magnification.

Spectroscopy: Spectroscopic analysis can detect minute differences in the way lab grown and natural diamonds absorb and emit light, revealing their distinct origins.

X-Ray Diffraction: This method can identify variations in the crystal structure and lattice patterns of lab grown diamonds, which may differ slightly from natural diamonds due to the growth conditions.

However, it's important to note that these advanced testing methods are primarily used by gemmological laboratories and are not necessary for most consumer purchases. For the average buyer, lab grown diamonds are virtually indistinguishable from natural diamonds in terms of their appearance and physical properties.

Consumer Perception and Industry Acceptance

Despite their remarkable similarities to natural diamonds, lab grown diamonds have faced challenges in terms of consumer perception and industry acceptance. For many years, there was a stigma attached to them, with some consumers viewing them as synthetic, inferior or "fake."

However, this perception has been gradually shifting as more consumers become aware of the ethical and environmental advantages of lab grown diamonds. Major jewellery retailers, such as Blackwell Jewellers, have embraced lab grown diamonds, offering a wide range of beautiful and affordable options.

Changing Consumer Attitudes

A growing number of consumers, particularly younger generations, are prioritising sustainability, ethics, and transparency in their purchasing decisions. This shift in values has contributed to the rising acceptance of lab grown diamonds, which are seen as a more responsible and environmentally friendly alternative.

According to a recent survey by the Diamond Producers Association, nearly 70% of millennials expressed interest in purchasing lab grown diamonds, citing their lower environmental impact and ethical sourcing [6]. This suggests that as this generation becomes a larger part of the diamond-buying market, the demand for lab grown diamonds is likely to increase.

Industry Acceptance and Certification

While some traditionalists in the jewellery industry initially resisted the rise of lab grown diamonds, many major players have now embraced this new market segment. Reputable organisations like the Gemmological Institute of America (GIA) and the International Gemmological Institute (IGI) have established grading and certification processes for lab grown diamonds, further legitimising their status in the industry [7].

These certification processes ensure that lab grown diamonds are accurately graded and labelled, providing consumers with transparency and confidence in their purchases. Additionally, many jewellery brands and retailers now offer both natural and lab grown diamond options, allowing consumers to make informed choices based on their preferences and values.

Ethical Jewellery Brands and Retailers

As consumer demand for ethical and sustainable jewellery options continues to grow, a number of pioneering brands and retailers have emerged, specialising in lab grown diamonds. This company prioritises transparency, responsible sourcing practices, and a commitment to minimising their environmental impact.

Notable brand in this space include:

  • Blackwell Jewellers: A leader in the ethical jewellery industry, Blackwell Jewellers offers a wide selection of lab grown diamond rings, earrings, diamond pendant, and other jewellery pieces. We prioritise transparency, use recycled metals, and have a strong commitment to responsible sourcing.

By choosing to support this ethical jewellery brand, consumers can contribute to a more responsible and transparent diamond industry while enjoying beautiful and high-quality jewellery.

Investment Potential and Resale Value

While the investment potential of lab grown diamonds is still a topic of debate, there are several factors to consider. Unlike natural diamonds, whose value is largely driven by scarcity and the intrinsic association with luxury and status, lab grown diamonds are produced through a controlled process, potentially limiting their long-term value appreciation.

Factors Influencing Investment Potential

Several factors can influence the investment potential and resale value of lab grown diamonds, including:

Quality and Certification: Like natural diamonds, the quality of a lab grown diamond, as measured by the 4Cs (cut, colour, clarity, and carat weight), will play a significant role in determining its resale value. Diamonds with higher quality grades and certifications from reputable gemmological institutes are likely to retain more value over time.

Brand Recognition: As the lab grown diamond market matures, certain brands may gain recognition and develop a strong reputation for quality and ethical sourcing. Diamonds from these brands may command higher resale values.

Consumer Demand: The long-term demand for lab grown diamonds will be a crucial factor in determining their investment potential. As consumer acceptance and adoption increase, the resale market for lab grown diamonds may become more robust.

Technology Advancements: Ongoing advancements in lab grown diamond production techniques could lead to improved quality, consistency, and efficiency, potentially affecting the value proposition of these diamonds in the future.

Resale Market Development

While the resale market for lab grown diamonds is still in its beginning stages, some industry experts predict that it will continue to grow and become more organised as consumer demand increases. Online marketplaces and specialised resellers are emerging to facilitate the buying and selling of pre-owned lab grown diamonds.

However, it's important to note that the resale value of lab grown diamonds is generally lower than their natural counterparts, as they lack the same inherent scarcity and historical association with luxury and status. As with any investment, it's advisable to consult with professionals and carefully consider the potential risks and rewards before making a purchase solely for investment purposes.

Celebrities and Influencers Endorsing Lab Grown Diamonds

In recent years, a growing number of high-profile celebrities and influencers have embraced lab grown diamonds, lending their star power and influence to this burgeoning industry. From Penélope Cruz and Meghan Markle to Nikki Reed and Jordyn Woods, these public figures have championed the ethical and eco-friendly values of lab grown diamonds.

The Impact of Celebrity Endorsements

Celebrity endorsements can have a significant impact on consumer perception and acceptance. By choosing to wear and promote lab grown diamonds, these influential figures are helping to normalise and destigmatize synthetic diamonds, making them more accessible and appealing to a mainstream audience.

A recent research conducted by the Gemmological Institute of America (GIA) revealed that endorsements, from celebrities and media exposure have significantly contributed to raising awareness and sparking interest in lab grown diamonds. With an increasing number of celebrities and influencers supporting the lab grown diamond trend their endorsements may lead to acceptance among the public and strengthen the position of lab grown diamonds, within the jewellery sector.

Future Outlook and Trends

Looking ahead, the future of lab grown diamonds appears promising, with many industry experts predicting continued growth and adoption. As technology advances and production methods become more efficient, the cost of lab grown diamonds is expected to decrease further, making them even more accessible to a wider range of consumers.

Technological Advancements

One of the key drivers of the lab grown diamond industry's future growth is ongoing technological advancements. Researchers are continually exploring new techniques and processes to improve the quality, efficiency, and scalability of lab grown diamond production.

For example, researchers at the University of Alabama have developed a new method called "ultrahigh chemical vapour deposition" (UHCVD), which allows for faster growth rates and larger diamond crystal sizes [8]. As these technologies mature and become more widely adopted, they could lead to a significant increase in the supply and affordability of lab grown diamonds.

Environmental and Social Responsibility

The increasing emphasis on sustainability and ethical consumerism is likely to drive demand for lab grown diamonds, as consumers become more conscious of the environmental and social impact of their purchases.

Many millennials and members of Generation Z prioritise brands and products that align with their values of social responsibility and environmental stewardship. As these younger generations become a larger part of the diamond-buying market, their preferences are expected to shape the industry's trajectory, further fuelling the growth of lab grown diamonds.

Industry Adaptation and Collaboration

While the rise of lab grown diamonds has disrupted the traditional diamond industry, many major players are adapting and exploring ways to collaborate with this burgeoning market segment. Some mining companies and jewellery retailers have already started offering lab grown diamond options alongside their natural diamond collections.

This industry adaptation and collaboration could lead to increased mainstream acceptance and integration of lab grown diamonds, potentially reshaping the overall diamond market dynamics and pricing strategies.


Lab grown diamonds have indeed captured the attention of consumers and industry professionals alike, disrupting the traditional diamond market with their ethical and eco-friendly appeal. While they may not possess the same historical allure as natural diamonds, lab grown diamonds offer a compelling value proposition in terms of cost, quality, and responsible sourcing practices.

Are lab grown diamonds really worth the hype? The answer lies in the priorities of the consumer. For those seeking ethical, eco-friendly, and affordable diamonds, lab grown gems undoubtedly live up to their celebrated reputation. Their exceptional quality, advanced production methods, and transparent origins make them a compelling choice over conflict-tainted natural diamonds. However, for consumers who prioritise rarity and historical prestige, natural diamonds may still hold more allure. Ultimately, as lab grown diamonds continue gaining mainstream acceptance, each buyer must decide if the hype surrounding these man-made marvels aligns with their personal values and desires. Either way, the diamond industry has been indelibly altered by this game-changing innovation.


[1] Martineau, P. M., Lawson, S. C., Taylor, A. J., Quinn, S. J., Evans, D. J. F., & Crowder, M. J. (2004). Identification of synthetic diamond grown using chemical vapour deposition (CVD). Gems & Gemology, 40(1), 2-25. 

[2] Shigley, J. E., Breeding, C. M., & Smith, C. P. (2020). Lab-grown diamond identification: A practical guide. Gemological Institute of America. 

[3] Achard, J., Silva, F., Bułat, A., Tallaire, A., & Gicquel, A. (2020). Growth mechanisms and crystallography of CVD diamond. In R. Dumpla & S. Raghuveer (Eds.), Molecular Crystal Growth (pp. 1-45). IntechOpen. 

[4] Smillie, I. (2010). Blood on the stone: Greed, corruption and war in the global diamond trade. Anthem Press.

[5] Hall, J. (2019, May 28). Diamond mining's impact on the environment. Forbes. 

[6] Diamond Producers Association. (2021). The diamond insight report 2021. 

[7] Gemological Institute of America. (n.d.). Lab-grown diamonds.

[8] University of Alabama. (2023, January 10). Researchers develop new methods to grow high-quality diamonds at a faster rate. ScienceDaily.
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