Lab-grown and mined diamonds – what’s the difference?
While not your only choice, diamonds are always a popular pick for engagement rings and milestone jewellery gifts. When choosing a diamond jewellery piece for that very special occasion, there is so much more to think about than its cut, colour, carat, clarity and setting. Whether it has been lab-grown or mined is another factor that has to be considered carefully.
In an age where ethical mining is a top priority for jewellery craftspeople like us and the customers they serve, lab-grown diamonds offer a breath of fresh air and a chance to support a more sustainable source of your favourite gemstones. But what are lab-grown diamonds? And how do they differ from traditionally mined stones?
Lab-grown diamonds are forever…
Lab-grown diamonds boast the same characteristics as mined diamonds, but are generally much, much cheaper. Instead of being mined from natural sources, synthetic diamonds are cultivated in laboratories using cutting-edge techniques to deliver style, substance and sustainability.
We’ll let BBC Science Focus explain more about the processes used to create the lab-grown diamonds many jewellery brands swear by:
“Lab-grown diamonds have the same carbon structure as naturally occurring ones. But while the former is made over millions of years, the synthetic kind is formed in days or weeks. They’re generally grown using a high-pressure, high-temperature (HPHT) method. Scientists at General Electric designed the first HPHT method in 1954 to mimic diamond growth deep below the Earth’s surface. HPHT is the most economical process for growing large diamonds.”
…and for everyone
Diamond growing techniques have evolved dramatically in recent years, and thanks to this progression, lab-grown stones are 40 to 50% cheaper than natural, mined diamonds. With an emphasis on diamonds being not just forever but for everyone, lab-created collections are becoming more and more popular with jewellery lovers of all tastes and with varying budgets.
It is important to note that lab-grown diamonds aren’t as valuable as natural diamonds. Due to their identical, authentic natures, however, they still have significant market value.
Improving sustainability at every step
As well as being great for your bank balance, lab-grown diamonds are a better choice for the environment. They have a lower impact than natural, mined diamonds, with many having the carbon footprint of a pint of milk! The wide-scale use of renewable energy in diamond labs is also enhancing sustainability at source.
By choosing lab-grown diamonds, you’re also minimising the jewellery trade’s reliance on large-scale mining practices that have a detrimental impact on the planet. But with millions of jobs at stake in this sector, outlawing mining completely may not be the answer.
By creating a balance between lab-grown diamonds and naturally mined stones that have been sourced responsibly, communities in developing nations can be supported effectively whilst minimising environmental impact.
The path to better provenance
The latest advancements aren’t just making the creation of synthetic diamonds more efficient and affordable. It’s helping to improve the traceability of all diamonds, including natural stones.
Using modern technology, customers can see where their diamonds were mined or created, cut, polished, graded and set to ensure a step in the right direction for mining communities and the planet.
We take the sourcing of all our gemstones and precious metals very seriously. In fact, our designs are inspired by nature and use responsibly sourced gems, recycled sterling silver and Fairtrade gold before being lovingly wrapped in recycled packaging.
Find out more about our eco-friendly ethos or shop our sustainable pieces right here.