Natural or Lab Grown Diamonds?

Lab grown diamonds are here to stay. The emergence of lab-grown diamonds has sparked many questions, particularly regarding their comparison to mined diamonds. While both offer undeniable sparkle and symbolism, they come with their own unique considerations. At Herzog, we carry both and want to help you make an informed decision that you can feel proud to wear for the rest of your life.

The Shared Sparkle:

Let's start with what unites these two gems: their physical properties. Both mined and lab-grown diamonds are composed of pure carbon crystallized under intense pressure and heat. This shared origin translates to identical physical and chemical characteristics. Both possess the same brilliance, fire, and scintillation, making them indistinguishable to the naked eye, even for trained professionals. Additionally, both are incredibly durable, making them ideal for everyday wear.

The Origin Story:

The key difference lies in their formation. Mined or Natural diamonds, as the name suggests, are unearthed from deep within the Earth's crust after withstanding high heat and pressure over millions of years. Lab-grown diamonds, however, are created in controlled laboratory environments using advanced technologies. High-Pressure High-Temperature (HPHT) processes replicate the natural conditions under which mined diamonds form, resulting in diamonds with identical chemical and physical properties. There is a second process for creating Lab Diamonds that mimics the way "Diamond Rain" is formed on Saturn and Jupiter: Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD). This process takes methane gas and microwaves it until only carbon remains. The result is a diamond! All three process have nearly identical results, but can be told apart by special laboratory equipment.

Weighing the Options:

Both mined and lab-grown diamonds offer distinct advantages and considerations:

Mined Diamonds:

  • Pros:
    • Established value and potential for appreciation as an investment.
    • Unique characteristics and inclusions, adding to their individuality.
    • Wide variety of cuts, sizes, and colors readily available.
  • Cons:
    • Ethical concerns surrounding the mining process, including potential environmental impact and social injustices. Be sure to check with your jeweler about your stone's sourcing before purchasing. Most reputable stores, including Herzog, only buy through well established channels.
    • Generally higher cost compared to lab-grown diamonds for stones larger than a carat.

Lab-Grown Diamonds:

  • Pros:
    • Theoretically more eco-friendly and ethically sourced, eliminating concerns associated with mining. Be sure to check with your jeweler about the origin of your specific stone, as some manufacturers are more sustainable than others. (For the most sustainable stone on the market, check out Aether diamonds- they're made from captured environmental carbon!)
    • Significantly more affordable, making them accessible to a wider range of budgets. Your "dream ring" is often within budget- no need to trade up down the road!
    • Consistently high quality and clarity due to controlled laboratory environment. No need to learn the 4Cs before buying- just start with a budget or size and we'll find the perfect stone for you.
  • Cons:
    • Relatively new technology, with the long-term value as an investment looking bleak. This can also make Lab Grown diamonds hard to insure.
    • Limited selection of cuts, colors, and sizes compared to mined diamonds, though this is rapidly evolving.
    • Many strong opinions from both the general public and jewelry industry about the sentimental value and staying power of Lab Grown. High quality, larger stones "look" lab grown. 

The Final Choice:

As a jeweler, our role is to guide you through the selection process, not dictate your choice. Each individual's priorities and values are unique. Whether you prioritize tradition, investment potential, affordability, or ethical considerations, both mined and lab-grown diamonds offer wonderful options to celebrate your special moments.

Ultimately, the perfect diamond is the one that resonates most deeply with your heart and aligns with your personal values. We want to help you find jewelry you love to wear!