Created one to three billion years ago, more than 100 miles below earth’s surface. They are made of pure carbon and are the hardest natural mineral on earth. The word diamond alone always means a natural diamond.
The result of an industrial process as opposed to the geological process that creates natural diamonds. Though their chemical composition is the same as a natural diamond, there are significant differences relating to origins, value and socioeconomic impact. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) requires lab-grown diamond manufacturers to use a qualifier that clearly distinguish lab-grown diamonds as man-made and not of natural origin.
Common simulants include glass, or cubic zirconia. These substances mimic the sparkle of diamond jewelry but are completely unrelated to diamonds at the atomic level.
THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN NATURAL DIAMONDS AND LAB-GROWN DIAMONDS – WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
Now more than ever there is a lot of confusion about diamonds. Here are the most frequently asked questions to help you make an informed and empowered purchase decision for what will most likely be an important milestone and investment.
Here Are Some Frequently Asked Questions
ARE LAB-GROWN DIAMONDS IDENTICAL TO NATURAL DIAMONDS?
No. Lab-grown diamonds are not identical to natural diamonds. Their origin is the primary difference, and the growth patterns from the artificial production process (in microwave reactors) are easily detected by jewelers with the right equipment.
WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE IN VALUE PROPOSITION BETWEEN NATURAL AND LAB-GROWN DIAMONDS?
Natural diamonds obtain their value from their uniqueness and rarity as billion-year-old precious gems older than life itself. Lab-grown diamonds are currently sold at a slightly reduced price compared to natural diamonds, but the cost continues to decline due to mass production. Therefore, they have little to no resale value.
IS IT TRUE THAT LAB-GROWN DIAMONDS ARE MORE ECO-FRIENDLY THAN NATURAL DIAMONDS?
No. In fact, recent third-party research reveals that natural diamonds produce 3X less carbon emissions per carat than lab-grown diamonds, equal only to the carbon emissions required to produce 3 iPhones. The research also confirms that leading diamond producers recycle on average 83% of water used in diamond recovery. Conversely, manufacturing lab-grown diamonds requires an immense amount of energy to replicate a billion-year-old natural process in just a few weeks, as well as significant water consumption to cool the reactors. Whereas natural diamond producers have independent data to back up their claims, lab-grown diamond manufacturers do not, and were recently warned by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) about unsubstantiated eco-claims.
ARE LAB-GROWN DIAMONDS UNIQUE?
Lab-grown diamonds are not unique, they are mass produced in factories, primarily in Asia in potentially unlimited quantities. Natural diamonds on the other hand are completely unique, each one is different, like a snowflake or fingerprint. Diamond recovery peaked in 2005 and supplies have been declining every year since there haven’t been any new significant diamond discoveries in the past 30 years.
DO NATURAL DIAMONDS HAVE A GREATER SOCIOECONOMIC IMPACT THAN LAB-GROWN DIAMONDS?
Yes. The natural diamond industry supports the livelihood of 10 million people globally. Leading diamond producers create $16 billion net positive socioeconomic and environmental benefits in countries in which they operate – 80% of these benefits are retained by local communities. The wealth generated by lab-grown diamond companies largely benefit only a select few venture capitalists and investors and have yet to demonstrate similar socioeconomic contributions.
MYTHS AND MISCONCEPTIONS
The diamond industry has undergone a significant and positive transformation over the last 15 years. These questions address the realities of the diamond sector today.
WHAT ABOUT CONFLICT DIAMONDS?
Today, conflict diamonds, as depicted in the 2006 movie Blood Diamond (set in the 1990s), are virtually eliminated from the market. 99.8% of diamonds are certified conflict-free through the UN-mandated Kimberley Process. To learn more visit worlddiamondcouncil.org
IS DIAMOND MINING SAFE?
Yes. Modern diamond mining provides safe, high-quality, high-paying jobs and puts the safety and well-being of their employees and contractors ahead of any other consideration. There is just one lost-time injury incident per 1,000,000 hours worked within today’s large-scale diamond mining sector. For context, diamond mining is statistically safer than the retail, transportation and power industries.
IS THE DIAMOND INDUSTRY DOMINATED BY A MONOPOLY? AREN’T THEY JUST THE PRODUCT OF GOOD MARKETING?
No. There is no monopoly in today’s diamond market. Today’s largest diamond producers are spread across four continents (Canada, Russia, Africa and Australia) and are either publicly traded corporations or State-owned enterprises. Human fascination with diamonds goes back millennia. In fact, the tips of Cupid’s arrow were dipped in diamonds, and the first diamond ring to signify an engagement was given by the Archduke Maximilian of Austria in the imperial court of Vienna in 1477. Learn More at Total-Clarity.com