Although grown by scientists instead of created in the earth’s crust, lab diamonds are absolutely real diamonds—they display the same chemical and optical properties as natural diamonds.
Even expert gemologists can’t tell the difference with the naked eye, but just for fun we’re offering you the chance to guess. The engagement rings on this page either feature a lab grown or natural mined center diamond. See if your instincts can determine which is which! Learn more about lab diamonds.
Lab Grown Shapes: Classic and Fancy
If you’re looking for a lab grown diamond in a classic round brilliant cut, you’re in luck, because we have an expansive selection of round lab diamonds. When the process of growing a diamond was first invented, labs were only capable of creating small diamonds, but today you can purchase lab diamonds in large sizes well over 3 carats! And if you’re a lover of fancy shaped diamonds, don’t fret! We have something for you as well. Lab diamonds are also available in a variety of shapes including emerald, oval, cushion, radiant, pear, marquise, princess and asscher.
(This picture of our 14K rose gold Twilight Diamond Ring features a naturally mined round diamond.)
Lab Grown Colors: Natural Diamonds vs. Synthetic Diamonds
If you love colored gemstones, consider a lab created colored diamond in fancy shades like yellow, pink, blue, and orange. Organic diamonds come in all colors thanks to various trace chemicals that can become trapped in the diamond as it grows. The rarity of the occurrence of the extra mineral or chemical involved in natural diamond formation corresponds to the rarity of the “fancier” colors of diamond outside of classic white like pink, yellow, or blue.
Lab created diamonds can also be grown in different colors such as white, pink, blue, yellow, and green. However, depending on the process used, grown diamonds may become a brownish color, which will need to be de-colorized. Then they can be color-treated if desired.
(This is our 14K rose gold Willow Diamond Ring set with a lab created emerald diamond.)
Lab Grown Created Accents
If you’d like your ring to feature lab created diamonds or gemstones, you can have a lab diamond set in a ring featuring lab accent diamonds. We also offer wedding bands set with lab created gemstones and diamonds.
(This 18K white gold Soleil Diamond Ring is set with an oval lab created diamond with lab diamond accents.)
Lab Grown Diamonds vs. Natural Diamonds
If you couldn’t tell the lab diamonds from the natural ones, we’re not surprised—and if you could you’re just a lucky guesser! Lab diamonds are created in high-temperature, high-pressure chambers that reproduce the conditions in the earth’s crust. The result is carbon atoms arranged in the structure of a diamond crystal and diamonds that are every bit as magical as the ones created naturally millions of years ago and mined today.
(Our 18K yellow gold Primrose Diamond Ring set with a natural princess diamond.)
Lab Grown Prices
Lab diamonds usually cost about 30% less than natural diamonds of comparable size and quality. But these diamonds are every bit as luxurious as their natural counterparts, since their dazzling beauty and durability are the same. It is important to know that there’s a big difference between lab created diamonds and diamond simulants, such as cubic zirconia and moissanite. These simulants are not made of the carbon crystals, and do not possess the same brilliance as diamonds. For that reason, simulants sell at much lower prices than lab created diamonds.
11 Lab Grown Diamond FAQs
1. Are there physical differences between lab grown diamonds and natural diamonds?
To the naked eye, there are no differences between lab grown diamonds and natural diamonds. Diamonds grown in a lab have the same physical and chemical properties and exhibit the same optical properties as those found in the earth. However, nearly all diamonds have inclusions. By examining them under a microscope, a gemologist may be able to discern whether a diamond is natural or lab created. There are a number of different inclusions that occur in natural diamonds, such as pinpoint inclusions, feathering, and cloud inclusions.
Metallic inclusions, on the other hand, only occur in the lab produced gems. If an expert spots telltale signs of this in a diamond, they can reasonably assume it is artificial. Another physical difference that may give away a natural diamond is the presence of nitrogen. Abundant amounts of nitrogen sometimes give earth-grown diamonds a yellow color, but it is never present in those grown in a lab.
Further physical characteristics that distinguish lab grown diamonds include weak strain patterns, color zoning, and ultraviolet fluorescence.
2. Do lab grown diamonds look and shine like real diamonds?
Yes. Lab grown diamonds look and shine every bit as much as real diamonds, and they can be made in nearly all the same color and look combinations. If you put one artificially made and one naturally made stone of similar color, clarity, carat weight and cut next to each other, it would be virtually impossible for a customer to tell the difference between them.
Diamond vendors that sell either will usually ask a customer what they are looking for in terms of “look” and “sparkle” and give them options from either category.
3. Are lab grown diamonds as strong as real diamonds?
Because their physical and chemical makeup is nearly identical, lab grown diamonds are indeed every bit as strong as natural diamonds. They can be subjected to much the same pressures to be created out of carbon. Only with manufactured diamonds, the process is accelerated. Both kinds will have the same physical properties if subjected to tests for authenticity and will likewise both pass a diamond tester.
4. How are lab grown diamonds made?
Natural diamonds are formed when pockets of naturally occurring carbon are subjected to super-high temperatures (over 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit) and pressures in the Earth’s mantle over billions of years. Due to volcanic or tectonic activity, these diamonds are eventually brought to the surface.
On the other hand, lab grown diamonds are created here on the surface, of course in specially designed manufacturing centers. There are two primary methods of producing artificial diamonds:
- Chemical Vapor Deposition Diamonds: Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD) is when a “seed” crystal or a small diamond is placed in a small chamber filled with heated gasses. At a certain temperature, layers of carbon will begin to form around the seed diamond, growing a more substantial one.
- High Pressure High Temperature Diamonds: The second method is known as High Pressure High Temperature (HPHT). As you might have guessed, this method mimics the conditions under which natural diamonds are formed inside the earth. A large machine is fed a certain amount of natural graphite that it then crushes under extreme temperatures and pressures.
5. What’s the difference between lab diamond vs. cubic zirconia vs. moissanite?
Lab diamonds are created from carbon, just like real diamonds. But other manufactured crystals exist that simulate diamonds. Two of the most common are moissanite and cubic zirconia.
- Moissanite: While natural moissanite does occur, it is very rare. That is because it is not from Earth – it comes from space in meteorites. Thus, moissanite that you can purchase is also lab created. It can look similar to diamonds but is not physically the same at all.
- Cubic Zirconia: Cubic zirconia (CZ) is another example of a synthetic crystal that is sometimes used in the place of diamonds. But while it has a reasonable amount of durability and sparkle, it does not quite match the brilliance of diamonds and will show some wear and tear over time. It is sometimes used as a placeholder in jewelry until a stronger stone can be added.
6. Can a jeweler tell if a diamond is lab created?
Professional jewelers and gemologists cannot tell the difference between a lab created diamond and a natural one just by looking at it with the naked eye. They will have to use a microscope to look for the tiny differences in its inclusions that indicate how it was formed. Also, when lab grown diamonds are created, their synthetic status and report numbers are frequently laser-etched into the girdle they are placed in. So a jeweler might be able to look for this as well.
Manufacturers, jewelers, and vendors are required to report information about synthetic diamonds anyway. So when you buy one, it should come with a certificate stating where the diamond came from.
7. What is the difference between a lab created diamond and cubic zirconia?
Cubic zirconia is diamond-like but does not achieve the same sparkle as a lab created diamond. Neither is it as durable as synthetic diamond since it simply has a different composition and structure.
8. Do lab diamonds shine like natural diamonds?
Yes, lab diamonds may have the same shine as organic diamonds. Like organic diamonds, lab created diamonds vary in grade, size, color, sparkle, and clarity, but two similar diamonds with different origins can appear virtually identical.
9. How long does it take to “grow” a diamond?
Manufactured diamonds take between six and ten weeks to fully develop. Compare that to the 1 to 3 billion years of age the diamonds on the surface today have. Yet, they are still the same thing. Neither can you tell the difference between diamonds made by CVD versus HPHT just by looking at them.
10. Are lab created diamonds graded the same as real diamonds?
Lab created diamonds are not graded the same as naturally occurring diamonds. The latter is subject to the GIA Colored Diamond Grading report, while the GIA issues a different Synthetic Diamond Grading Report for artificial diamonds. The synthetic grading report covers everything the traditional report does, but it also includes information about the diamond’s general color and clarity.
11. Are lab grown diamonds “real” diamonds?
Even though we sometimes say “real” diamonds to mean organic or naturally made diamonds, lab grown diamonds are still real diamonds in every sense of the word. All that differs is the process that formed them, but what results is the same product. That said, no two diamonds are ever exactly alike (even though you might not be able to tell). This holds for both natural and synthetic diamonds. Just because you own a lab grown diamond does not mean it is not every bit as unique as any other diamond on the planet.