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September 2016

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Lab Grown Diamonds: Science over Nature?

Lab grown diamonds are one of the latest technological trends to hit the diamond industry. For many diamond professionals, diamonds grown in a lab just don’t possess the history, tradition and romance that comes with natural gems forged deep within the earth. But how do consumers view synthetic diamonds vs. naturally created diamonds?

Lab Grown Diamonds: Real or Unreal? 

Some consumers see advantages in lab grown diamonds. The idea that synthetic diamonds are not ‘real’ diamonds may attract consumers concerned with environmental and social justice issues, particularly the younger generation of buyers. Lab grown diamonds are identical to naturally formed diamonds, both in their chemical makeup and visually. And although synthetic diamonds develop in a controlled, man-made environment, they actually have a similar growth process to the natural formation of diamonds, sped up for greater efficiency. Lab grown diamonds are certified by the same gem labs that certify mine grown diamonds. It is also cheaper to produce a lab grown diamond than a mined diamond.

Many experts feel that the question of whether lab grown diamonds will affect the jewelry market is not a matter of ‘if’, but ‘when‘. The fact is, lab grown diamonds are indeed “real” diamonds, and there are many factors that will play a part in their rising popularity.

A 21st Century Phenomenon

New rules and regulations in the diamond industry are requiring greater transparency and creating tighter credit standards. Banks have begun to pull back from lending to the “midstream” of the diamond industry. In addition, the cost of rough diamonds currently outweighs the price they fetch as polished diamonds. Could lab grown diamonds find a market in the changing industry dynamics?

Hollywood, which has proven to be a great trendsetter, will also play a part in influencing the socially and environmentally conscious millennial generation. Leonardo DiCaprio, along with other heavyweight investors, such the co-founders of Facebook and Twitter, have provided funding to Diamond Foundry, a company that produces lab grown diamonds.

Diamonds: Tradition vs Trend

For now, diamond growing labs cannot even come close to the production of natural markets, cornering only 2% of current production. Yet, consider the fact that American Grown Diamonds has won exclusive rights to buy diamonds from several labs to resell into the market at major jewelry locations, and Diamond Foundry’s first batch of 160 diamonds sold out in less than two weeks. Although lab grown diamonds are today just a minute fraction of the overall industry, synthetic diamonds are certainly a phenomenon that’s worth following.

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