Natural vs Lab Grown Diamonds 101: Exploring the Key Similarities & Differences

Diamonds have long been cherished for their beauty and symbolism representing love and commitment. However, recent advancements in technology have introduced a new player into the diamond market: lab grown diamonds. Sometimes referred to as "synthetic diamonds," lab grown diamonds are unequivocally authentic diamonds. The only distinction lies in their formation process, which occurs in a lab instead of the Earth's mantle. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has affirmed this, stating that regardless of origin, a diamond remains a diamond. 

While both natural and lab grown diamonds share the same chemical composition and allure, there are distinct differences that are worth exploring.


Chemical Properties: Lab grown diamonds share identical chemical compositions with naturally mined diamonds. Both types consist of carbon atoms arranged in a crystalline lattice structure. 

Hardness: The Mohs Hardness Scale, which assesses mineral hardness, places diamonds at the top with a ranking of 10. Both lab grown and natural diamonds share this level of hardness, emphasizing their durability and resilience.

Brilliance: Lab grown diamonds and natural diamonds are virtually indistinguishable. Only laboratories and gemologists using sophisticated equipment can discern any variation between them. Consequently, both types exhibit the same brilliance and sparkle.

Grading: Both lab grown and natural diamonds undergo grading based on the 4 C's—Color, Clarity, Cut, and Carat. The most reputable gemstone grading laboratories, such as the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) and the International Gemological Institute (IGI), utilize the same metrics to grade and issue certificates for both types of diamonds.

Color: The unique hues found in naturally colored diamonds stem from trace elements interacting with carbon during their formation. Similarly, lab grown diamonds can replicate these colors by introducing the same elements during the growth process, resulting in visually identical coloration.


Cost: The production of lab grown diamonds is significantly less expensive than that of natural diamonds due to the accelerated formation process. As the manufacturing technology has evolved over time, and supply has increased, lab grown diamonds have become increasingly more affordable compared to their naturally mined counterparts. They are often 75% cheaper than natural diamonds, or even more in some cases.

Formation: Natural diamonds were formed billions of years ago deep within the Earth's crust, where carbon atoms underwent immense heat and pressure before reaching the surface through volcanic activity. Lab grown diamonds are created by mimicking this process in a controlled laboratory environment using methods such as High Pressure, High Temperature (HPHT), and Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD).

Inclusions: Both lab grown and natural diamonds often contain inclusions, which are imperfections that can vary in type and visibility. Natural diamonds may exhibit inclusions resulting from their tumultuous formation process, ranging from crystals to clouds. In lab grown diamonds, inclusions resemble growth remnants, with distinct characteristics depending on the manufacturing method employed.

Fluorescence: Fluorescence, caused by trace elements within a diamond's structure, is typically absent in lab grown diamonds. Conversely, natural diamonds commonly fluoresce under UV light due to the presence of certain elements. Over 90% of the time, the presence of fluorescence does not negatively impact a diamond's appearance, but on rare occasions, it can create a hazy or oily effect.

Value: The resale value between natural and synthetic diamonds varies significantly. Typically, natural diamonds retain about 50% of their original value over time, whereas lab grown diamonds prove exceedingly challenging to resell without facing significant depreciation. However, it's worth noting that lab grown diamonds are usually acquired at a price that is 75% lower than that of natural diamonds.


The decision between lab grown and natural diamonds ultimately hinges on personal preferences and priorities. Traditionalists often opt for natural diamonds, appreciating their timeless allure and remarkable formation deep within the earth. Alternatively, those seeking budget conscious options may gravitate towards lab grown diamonds, which offer excellent quality at a more affordable price point.

In conclusion, both lab grown and natural diamonds are real diamonds offering the same sparkle and brilliance. Each represents a beautiful and meaningful choice for any piece of fine jewelry.

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