Shopping for diamond jewellery can be an overwhelming experience, especially if you don’t really know what you’re doing. (Really, who does?!).
Aside from the four main ‘Cs’ – carat, cut, colour and clarity – there’s one other major factor you may not have thought to look out for: did you know that not all diamonds are ‘real’?
‘Lab diamonds are marketed and priced comparable to real diamonds’
We spoke to Grant Mobley, a gemologist and Director at Pluczenik to learn all about lab-grown diamonds and how they differ from the real deal.
‘The difference between a real diamond and a lab-grown diamond is simple’, Grant says. ‘A real diamond is unique and rare, formed one hundred miles below earth’s surface up to 3 billion years ago. Real diamonds undergo extraordinary environmental circumstances, bursting towards the earth’s surface through volcanic eruptions. They are miracles of nature.
‘A lab-grown diamond is a stone that mimics the optical and chemical properties of a natural diamond. They are not formed though natural occurrences, rather they are artificially mass produced in a factory in a matter of weeks.’
Are they worth the same?
The huge difference in how these diamonds are formed means that only one type – the real kind – has any ‘inherent value’.
Grant tells us that this is for two reasons. ‘First, there is not a sufficient history of lab-grown diamonds to determine what consumers are willing to consistently pay for them’, he says. But that doesn’t mean that they are cheaper to buy. Lab diamonds are marketed and priced comparable to real diamonds, despite the low production costs.
‘Real diamonds increase in value over time due to their natural scarcity’
‘The second reason’, Grant says, ‘is that lab-grown diamond production will continue to get cheaper and cheaper as competition from factories in China grows, forcing producers to keep lowering their sales price for these stones’.
The value in lab-grown diamonds decreases so dramatically that jewellery stores won’t ever buy them back from the buyer, so you never have the option to sell them on. This is completely the opposite to real diamonds, which increase in value over time due to their natural scarcity.
Which is best
For all the reasons above and more, Grant says that the only type of diamond you should consider is a naturally-made ‘real’ stone.
‘A diamond’s rarity, strength, and resilience make it the ultimate representation of love’
‘We buy and wear diamonds because of what they represent’, he says. ‘The word “diamond” itself comes from a Greek origin meaning “unbreakable.” It is because of a diamond’s rarity, strength, and resilience that they have come to be the ultimate representation of love, commitment, and success. The ability to keep diamonds forever and pass them down from generation to generation is a truly unique gift.’
How to tell the difference
While it would be almost impossible for the naked eye to tell the difference between a real and a lab-grown diamond, your jeweller should disclose what kind of stone you are looking at.
If in doubt, ask to see the certification.
This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com
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