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Lab Diamonds vs Mined Diamonds
Created: April 07, 2021
Lab Grown Diamonds vs Mined Diamonds
Diamonds have forever been associated with the ideal engagement ring, but traditional mined diamonds have been declining in popularity over the last few years. Instead, there is an excellent alternative available in the form of lab grown diamonds, and at Lily Arkwright we can offer you an amazing range of options that feature this gorgeous gem. If you’re confused about what the differences are between the two, make sure to carry on reading for our summary of everything there is to know.
Photo Reference: 0.98ct Lab grown diamond Viola Ring
- What is a diamond?
- How are lab diamonds made?
- Our Lab grown diamonds
- How do lab grown diamonds compare to moissanite?
- Common myths about lab grown diamonds
- How are diamonds graded?
- All our diamonds come fully Certified
- Celebrity endorsements
- Lab grown diamond rings offered by Lily Arkwright
- Why should I choose a lab grown diamond?
- Why Lily Arkwright
First things first, it may surprise you to learn that mined diamonds and lab grown diamonds are exactly the same. Lab grown diamonds are as real as they come, having the same chemical composition and identical optical properties to their mined counterparts. Whereas mined diamonds were formed in the earth under intense pressure and heat billions of years ago, diamonds grown under lab conditions can be made in a matter of months. Both are indistinguishable from one another, and even an experienced gemologist can only tell them apart using specialist equipment. Lab grown diamonds are definitely worth paying attention to when looking at buying an diamond engagement ring; giving you and your partner the distinctive sparkle a diamond can deliver, not only at a better cost for your wallet, but also at a better cost to the planet. Here at Lily Arkwright we have an extensive range of rings that feature lab grown diamonds, and as purveyors of British Craftsmanship we offer outstanding quality across all of our jewellery.
Photo Reference: Macy Oval cut lab grown diamond 18k Gold Ring
Diamonds are a mineral made up of essentially pure carbon atoms arranged in a crystalline structure. They have been used for centuries in jewellery, and as the hardest material on the planet they are also used extensively in manufacturing. Each lab diamond that is grown forms in a unique way with a one-in-a-kind growth pattern, making any ring set with this breathtaking gemstone exclusively yours.
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The only significant difference to be looked at when considering lab grown and mined diamond would be the price difference between the two. Lab grown diamonds cost around 30% less, this is because the processes involved in producing it, make it more easily available. Diamonds that have originated from the earth are of a limited supply and so there is only a finite amount. Diamonds grown in the lab can be made at the same time making them cost-efficient, lots of carats can be grown over the course of several months. As well as being at a much better price point, all of our rings come with a 30 day returns policy* and have a 12 month warranty. Lily Arkwright has free and insured global shipping, making sure that all orders made through our website reach their destination and giving all our customers peace of mind. It is additionally worth bearing in mind that all payments made through PayPal and Klarna have 0% interest.
Ethical and sustainable
The other major benefit of choosing a diamond grown in the lab is its ethical and sustainable credentials, which is one of the primary reasons for its growing popularity. Unlike traditional mined diamonds, lab grown jewellery has a significantly smaller carbon footprint and all of the ethical implications that are often involved with mining practices are eliminated. Make sure to check out The Joy Eclectic's article on how to have a more eco-friendly wedding, for even more sustainable ways of enjoying your big day!
The statistic that an estimated 80 tonnes of earth are moved in order to remove a single carat of diamond is cast in stark relief when compared with the sheer quantity of diamond removed from the planet - there were on average 148 million carats mined in 2018 alone. That’s a lot of earth! The energy needed to produce lab grown diamonds, on the other hand, is a fraction of the size. In fact, one of our major partners, The Diamond Foundry, is a carbon neutral company who produces their own renewable hydropower energy. Have a look at their website for more information on their processes and the fascinating direction that man-made diamonds will be taking technology over the next few years.
The ethical implications of mining are unfortunately another reason why some choose lab grown diamonds. Some diamond mines employ workers in unsafe conditions and on low wages, and can fund violent groups and conflicts. The Kimberley process is a certification scheme which aims to prevent diamonds from entering the jewellery market that legitimises and funds these practices. Whilst the scheme has been a huge help in safeguarding, its ability to eradicate conflict diamonds accurately has been called into question, as the process only follows diamonds up until they are cut, with the remaining legs of the journey still going unrecorded. Because lab grown diamonds cut out the entire process surrounding mining, there are no such issues that arise.
In fact, the traceability and transparency when purchasing a lab grown diamond is another major reason why some are choosing to buy them. As there are so many different people and processes involved in traditional mining there is a real issue when it comes to knowing exactly where a mined diamond has originated from; not only this but diamonds are often reset into new jewellery further obscuring and adding to this lack of transparency. This is not the case with grown diamonds, all diamonds that come from a lab come fully certified and are very easy to trace.
How are Lab Grown Diamonds made?
There are two processes whereby diamonds can be grown under laboratory conditions, HPHT and CVD. The first, also known as High Pressure High Temperature, occurs when tiny seeds of diamond are placed under conditions similar to what diamonds created in the earth would have been put under billions of years ago. When inside a cubic press (which can exert in excess of 70 metric tonnes of pressure) a single layer of carbon (graphene) is placed delicately on top of the starter pieces of diamond. At a temperature around 1500℃ and at extreme pressure, the graphene melts. When cooled, this forms another layer of diamond and builds upwards from there.
The latter process, Chemical Vapor Deposition, instead happens in a vacuum. The diamond seeds are exposed to a gas which contains the right elements and this gas is then radiated with microwaves. The carbon atoms in the gas become free moving and can fall down onto the seeds beneath, thereby growing the diamond.
Photo Reference: The Diamond Foundry Loose diamond
Our lab grown diamonds
We work with a number of different world-leading laboratories to source our high quality lab grown diamonds, all of which are accompanied by a GIA, IGI or GCAL certificate. We believe that it is worth considering lab grown diamonds over traditional mined diamonds not only because of the price difference, but because of the clear benefit to the environment. The cost of a mined diamond is dear, and whilst not all mining is exploitative a lab grown diamond dispels any such concerns. Check out our Lab diamond collection, to look for your perfect ring.
One of our many chosen partners for lab grown diamonds is The Diamond Foundry, an American company that started in 2012, and who have used innovative technology to become one of the world’s major producers of lab grown diamonds. As a certified carbon neutral company, they use renewable energy produced via their own hydropower plants to sustainably produce diamonds. They are even funded and backed by Leonardo DiCaprio! Make sure to check out the video below which briefly outlines what they do.
How do Lab Grown Diamonds compare to Moissanite?
Moissanite is a beautiful alternative clear gemstone to diamond and it is remarkably difficult to tell a difference in appearance between them. However unlike with lab grown and mined diamonds, which are exactly the same, moissanite is an entirely different mineral. Both gemstones are very durable and so completely suited to everyday wear, but the major difference between the two is the price. Moissanite engagement rings are a fraction of the cost of a mined diamond engagement ring, whereas lab grown diamond is around 30% less expensive. Moissanite’s main asset is how wonderful it looks and with a higher refractive index than diamond, the sparkle and fire that these centre stones exude is truly stunning.
Here at Lily Arkwright we offer the Charles and Colvard Forever One and Hearts and Arrows range, as a company Charles and Colvard have years of experience and are known to make the worlds premium moissanite. We also have our own branded Lily Arkwright moissanite, which matches the superior quality of C&C, but is priced lower simply because we are able to produce it ourselves. Check out our moissanite engagment ring collection to see for yourself.
Photo Reference: Loose Radiant cut gemstones
Common Myths about Lab Grown Diamonds
There are a lot of common misconceptions about lab grown diamonds, lets go over some of them and see why they're wrong:
Lab grown diamonds are not as hard as the mined stones: This is untrue, as they have the same chemical composition, both lab grown and mined diamonds would score a 10 on the mohs scale of hardness (which measures the scratch resistance of a mineral). In fact because diamond is the hardest substance on earth, diamonds used in manufacturing in drilling, cutting and grinding make up a large portion of the market, with diamond jewellery only making up around 30%. This sturdiness is one of the reasons that diamonds make great engagement rings, they are utterly durable for everyday wear.
Lab grown diamonds do not test as ‘real’ diamonds: Again this is inaccurate because both types of diamond have the same composition. Only specialist equipment can be used to discern any difference and any contrast cannot be seen with the naked eye.
Lab grown diamonds get cloudy over time: No, just like mined diamonds lab grown diamonds do not go cloudy. There can be a build-up of dirt over time but this is easily cleaned.
Lab grown diamonds are yellow: This is false, when the technology was new and diamonds were just beginning to be grown, there was a yellow or brown colour to the diamond. In the last few years especially, science has come along allowing for this to no longer be the case.
Photo Reference: The Diamond Foundry loose lab grown diamond rough
How are Diamonds graded?
Known as the 4 C’s, there are four criteria by which mined diamonds are graded and this is also the case for the lab grown variety. They are a world-wide standard certification scheme for diamonds, and there has recently been an update to the grading system as of 2019 which uses slightly different language when grading lab grown diamonds and mined diamonds in order to distinguish between the two.
The first criteria on which a diamond is graded is on the cut of gemstone. A very commonly held misunderstanding about cut is that it refers to the overall shape, however this is not the case. The cut is instead to do with the proportions and ratios of a stone’s facets. For instance, a brilliant round cut has an ideal set of 58 facets and particular proportions in terms of its height and facet size, if any of these are compromised then the sparkle and shine of a diamond can be significantly reduced. Depending on the diamond rough stone in mining, cutters can make concessions on these ideals (even when having a stone that is not included and colourless) which can result in a cheaper and much less sparkly effect. All diamonds offered by Lily Arkwright are ideally cut and all our rings are crafted by our goldsmiths here in the UK, making sure that your lab diamond engagement ring is as beautiful as it can possibly be.
The second criteria on which diamonds are graded is their colour. The majority of mined diamonds contain trace amounts of other substances which can lead to them having slight tints or even taking on a different colour entirely. The most common element which can be present in diamonds is nitrogen which leaves behind a yellow tint and there are cases of incredibly rare blue hued diamonds which contain minute amounts of Boron inside. The system that grades colour ranges from D-Z, and diamonds certified as D-F are described as colourless with only their brightnesses telling them apart. G-H are near colourless with no noticeable colour when viewed from above, and only very slight colour visible when turned upside down. Any actual sign of colour should only really start at I on through to K where colours are deemed slightly tainted. Z denotes an actual colour diamond such as blue or pink. We offer a wide range of diamonds so if you need any more information don’t hesitate to get in contact at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The clarity of a diamond refers to the number and size of inclusions that are present in the stone, a cheaper diamond is one which has a large amount of these imperfections. As they have been formed deep below the earth’s surface, under extreme temperatures and pressures and have taken billions of years to reach us, it is unsurprising that inclusions are typical in mined diamonds. They are present in lab grown diamonds as well because the process of growing a completely flawless gemstone is very difficult. The range over which clarity is measured begins at IF (internally flawless) and finishes at I (Included), where there will be a number of inclusions spread throughout the stone. These very included stones can also sometimes be referred to as salt and pepper diamonds because of their flaws, and only tend to be natural mined diamonds. Conversely, the majority of lab grown diamonds are often graded VVS (very very slightly included) or VS (very slightly included), making for an incredibly clear stone.
Finally, the last criteria on which diamonds are graded is their carat, which refers to the weight of a stone and not its size, as is commonly thought. Diamonds can look bigger or smaller depending on how they have been cut; a wide diameter stone which is shallow could have the same carat as a stone that is deeper with a smaller diameter. Although, as has been mentioned previously, each specific cut does have an ideal set of proportions that will always produce the best results with the most fire and sparkle. All Lily Arkwright diamonds are cut to these ideal proportions and come in a full range of sizes.
All our Diamonds come fully Certified
All lab grown diamonds offered by Lily Arkwright come fully certified to international standards and are accompanied by an International Gemological Institute (IGI) or Gem Certificate and Assurance Labs (GCAL) Certificate, which includes the cut, colour, clarity and carat weight specifications.
The IGI is a global leader for jewellery assessment; and they have vast amounts of experience and reach. Renowned for diamonds and coloured gemstones, they protect buyers by evaluating and grading finished jewellery. Our other assessor is the GCAL are again world acclaimed for their unique suite of certification, identification, and valuation for diamonds, gemstones, and jewellery. Both are also world leaders specifically in grading the Hearts and Arrows cut, also known as a super-ideal cut because it has to be so precisely aligned. Here at Lily Arkwright we offer the Charles and Colvard Hearts and Arrows moissanite.
The rising popularity of lab grown diamonds is not only amongst the general population but also has many celebrity backers. In 2015, when Leonardo DiCaprio came out as an investor in the diamond foundry, diamonds grown in a lab were only just beginning to be made widely available and even in the last few years the technology involved has come along leaps and bounds. From Meghan Markle to Emma Watson, lots of celebrities have begun to appreciate the benefits that lab grown diamonds can offer.
@penelopecruszofficial on Instagram
For example, Penelope Cruz released a jewellery collection in 2019 which featured gemstones that had all been grown in the lab, including diamonds. She even wore her some on the red carpet at the Cannes film festival demonstrating how gorgeous and luxurious these gemstones can be.
@diabonworld on Instagram
Meghan Markle has also been seen sporting lab grown diamonds when, in 2018, she wore earrings studded with the gems. Meghan's endorsement of the jewellery gave lab grown diamonds the royal seal of approval! Have a look at our collection of moissanite earrings for a goreous bridal set. If you are liking her coat in the image take a look at In The Style's gorgeous camel jacket so you can complete her look.
@bindisueirwin on Instagram
Bindi Irwin, the conservationist and daughter of Steve Irwin, got engaged in 2019 and the ring that her fiance chose features a huge lab created diamond. The fact that the lab grown diamond can reflect her life and work in conservation is prudent, and we offer a ring akin to Bindi’s for our Eden ring. A twist on a classic quite literally in its vine-like design. Coming in a range of metals, have a look at our rose gold version here. Bindi’s nail colour here is gorgeous, check out Beauty Pie's polish in Powerhouse for a similar shade.
If you have recently gotten engaged and beginning to consider wedding dresses, then you should definitely have a look at Miss He Bridal. They pride themselves on taking extra special care with all their wedding dresses which are specially made for each person. There is no mass production, which is why they have begun making accessories using the off-cut material to reduce wastage that would otherwise be thrown in the bin and end up in landfill.
Lab Grown Diamond Rings Offered by Lily Arkwright
Photo Reference: Grace 1.90ct Platinum Ring
We offer an array of different options when it comes to lab grown diamonds, and our most popular is the Grace solitaire. The clean design and classic beauty of this ring is unparalleled and offers couples an elegant option. You can see an example of the Grace in the featured image above. Coming in a range of precious metals, the Grace solitaire’s four prong mount is constructed to allow as much light as possible through the centre stone, making sure that the diamond showcases its maximum sparkle. This particular ring can be seen in a recent Telegraph article on where to buy an engagement ring online.
Photo Reference: Macy Oval Cut White Gold Ring
Another of our gorgeous rings is the Macy, which when paired with a lab grown diamond looks truly stunning. The oval cut version of this ring, as seen in the picture, makes for an ideal centrepiece stone with timeless style, and the four prong setting and micro pavé band really demonstrates how much this ring glitters. Again coming in a variety of precious metals, it is worth noting that all our jewellery is UK hallmarked. Hallmarking is a centuries-old practice in the UK, and verifies the purity of the precious metal content. Jewellery cannot be described as gold, silver or platinum without an independent, third party assuring buyers of the quality of the piece they are purchasing. To read more about hallmarking and why we are such a trusted online retailer, have a read through our blog post on being Assay Assured here.
Photo Reference: Eden 1ct and Ivy Diamond Twist yellow Gold Rings
The Eden is a beautiful lab diamond engagement ring with vine-like detailing on the band and is a twist on the classic solitaire. This ring is for those who want a delicate and refined option with some modern variation, and pairs wonderfully with the Ivy eternity band, as in the image above (which also features another winding vine design, complete with many round cut diamonds). We are proud Assay Assured retailers and members of the National Association of Jewellers, who are a professional membership body made up of thousands of UK jewellery traders that have a strict compliance policy. We are assessed by an independent third party, giving our customers the assurance that our quality is outstanding. Have a look at Boho Weddings recent feature on us for more information on our brand.
If you were wanting a ring that is completely unique and individual to you and your partner, we also have a bespoke ring design service that can help you to create the exact ring you had in mind. Our JET trained jewellery consultants can lead you through the process beginning with the design stage where we use your ideas, sketches and images to create a design brief. We then mock up some image renders for you to be able to visualise the ring more clearly and make any changes, before sending to our expert goldsmiths to be able to craft your ring!
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Why should I choose a lab-grown diamond?
The mined diamond has been a traditional choice for the last century, however as times change and with rising awareness around the environmental and ethical implications of some mining practices, whether this should carry on being the case is being called into question. Lab grown diamonds, on the other hand, are only growing in popularity, spotted recently on the likes of Meghan Markle, Penelope Cruz and Emma Watson along with many more.
At Lily Arkwright our lab grown diamonds are an amazing option for those who still want the classic and characteristic sparkle of a diamond ring. The advantages are huge, and the price difference alone should make it a consideration. The contrast in cost between a lab grown diamond and a mined diamond would mean that your ideal engagement ring can be realised without the need to break the bank. As well as this, all of our customers can be safe in the knowledge that no individual, family or community have been displaced, violated or harmed whilst producing your ring. The carbon footprint of a grown diamond is also significantly smaller than a mined stone, which is another great asset.
The number and variety of options available when trying to decide on an engagement ring is vast, and the growing popularity of lab grown diamonds and moissanite shows that a move away from traditional mined diamonds is on the horizon. Take a look through our lab diamond engagement rings and moissanite engagement ring collections for some inspiration on what your perfect engagement ring could look like. If you need any help whatsoever or have any queries, do not hesitate to contact us at email@example.com, book an online consultation or an in-person appointment at our UK showroom. With a 5* rating on TrustPilot, our JET trained jewellery consultants can help with any question.
Photo Reference: Bespoke 2.10ct Oval Cut Lab Grown Diamond Ring
Why Lily Arkwright?
We pride ourselves on our ability to produce stunning ethical and sustainable fine jewellery at an amazing price point, supported by unrivalled customer service. We offer the highest quality moissanite, lab grown diamonds and gemstones.
Lily Arkwright are proud Assay Assured jewellery retailers and committed members of the National Association of Jewellers based on honesty, integrity and professionalism. All precious metal jewellery offered by Assay Assured jewellery retailers carries the legally-required independent hallmark verifying the precious metal content, a protection over and above legal requirements. Read our glowing customer reviews on Trust Pilot.
If you are interested in booking a consultation or simply would like to find out more information about ourselves or our collections, please call us on 0161 537 6773, alternatively you can email our jewellery consultancy team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
*On standard collections that are not designated 'made to order'.
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Wishing you all the best, The Lily Arkwright Team x