What is the Real Difference Between Lab-Grown vs Natural Diamonds?

Feb 21, 2022

white gold bridal ring set on pillow

With all of the talk about opting for sustainable diamond engagement rings and eco-conscious jewelry, you may be wondering what the difference is between lab-grown vs natural diamonds. It’s a valid question that we are asked pretty often these days, and we are here to help answer your burning questions surrounding these sparkly, made-made gemstones. Read on to discover the frequently asked questions that we receive and our answers to help you better understand this eco-conscious alternative to natural diamond jewelry.

Are Lab-Grown Diamonds Real?

Yes — lab-grown diamonds are real! Using cutting-edge technology, the man-made diamond industry has been gaining popularity since its humble beginnings in the 1950s. On a molecular level, both lab-grown diamonds and natural diamonds are made of carbon. The only real difference between lab-grown vs natural diamonds is the origin of the diamond.

How are Lab-Made Diamonds Made?

There are two different ways of how lab-created diamonds are made. The first method is by high pressure, high temperature (HPHT). This method is the most common way to create a lab diamond. By taking a synthetic diamond “seed” (or pure piece of diamond about as thick as a human hair), scientists put the initial piece of carbon in a special press that is then subjected to extremely high pressure and heat. This simulates the conditions in the center of the earth that create natural diamonds. The molten metal dissolves the pure carbon source and like magic, the diamond begins to grow. 

The second, alternative, method is carbon vapor deposition (CVD). This method is a newer technology that requires less upfront costs, but might take longer to create a finished product. CVD uses significantly lower heat and instead uses a vacuum chamber filled with carbon-containing gases. Microwaves break up the molecules and the carbon drifts toward the colder diamond seed. This process takes 3-4 weeks but the diamonds eventually grow large enough to be processed.

yellow gold diamond engagement ring on a flower

What is a Natural Diamond?

Natural, earth-mined diamonds are made over a period of billions of years deep inside the earth. They are pushed up closer to the surface by tectonic plates shifting over time and volcanic activity. The “magic” of time, heat, and elemental restructuring results in a raw diamond, which is essentially raw carbon. The main difference between lab diamonds and natural diamonds is that natural diamonds are very, very old and come from the earth naturally. They have been shaped into fine jewelry for hundreds of years and hold cultural significance due to how rare “pure” diamonds are. 

Is There a Visual Difference Between Lab-Grown Vs Natural Diamonds?

Like any gemstone, there are variations of color, clarity, cut, and carat. Every diamond, whether lab-grown or natural, will be graded for quality before you purchase it. Just like natural diamonds, lab-grown diamonds are offered in various diamond qualities. The price is dependent upon the level of quality and rarity of the diamond. From a price standpoint, in most cases, you can get a larger and purer lab-grown diamond for the fraction of the price as a natural diamond with the same rating.

Shop Pompeii3

At Pompeii3, we proudly carry a wide variety of lab-grown diamond engagement rings as well as other lab-grown diamond jewelry. Explore our vast selection today to find something for you or for a loved one. Have additional questions about lab-grown vs natural diamond jewelry or want to chat with one of our jewelry experts? Feel free to reach out anytime and our friendly customer service team will be happy to help!