Posted on April 19 2021
Popping that big question – even if you’re sure the answer will be an enthusiastic ‘yes’ – can be nerve-wracking at the best of times. But there’s something even more difficult that comes before the proposal: shopping for the engagement ring.
It’s a big deal and something that can feel utterly intimidating. There’s just so much to consider. Right off the bat, you’ve got to decide on ring type, style, shape, material, and color. Do you want a simple solitaire type in silver or an elegant pave in rose gold? Or perhaps you think your partner would like a more contemporary infinity ring. As we said – lots to consider.
And this isn’t even mentioning all the different diamond cuts and types. Nowadays, you even have your choice between regular diamonds and lab grown ones. Not super familiar with that? Wondering if it might be a good choice for your partner’s perfect engagement ring? Here’s everything you need to know about lab grown diamonds. Read before heading off to your local Zales and you’re sure to make a better, more informed choice.
What are Lab Grown Diamonds?
If this is the first time you’re hearing about these untraditional types of diamonds, it’s probably good to get down the basics first. Lab grown diamonds are essentially what they say on the tin. Where typical diamonds are actually mined from various sites around the world and are thus naturally occurring, lab grown ones are – well – “grown” in a lab.
They are engineered or cultured and tightly-controlled laboratory environments, advanced technology used to reproduce the conditions that the regular gemstones undergo in their creation under our planet’s crust. The actual steps involved vary depending on who’s creating the diamonds, although it typically looks like using tiny “seeds” that are basically tiny, pre-existing diamonds.
Extreme heat and pressure are usually exerted on these seeds, mimicking what would happen in nature, are they grown to a fuller size. Meanwhile, those fancy colored diamonds undergo a similar process, but trace minerals are added as they’re grown to alter how they look once they’re done figuratively (or literally, depending on how you look at it) cooking.
Moral of the story? The way that these gemstones are made is through synthetic processes and human intervention. But the actual composition of the diamonds are nearly exactly the same as those you mine. They have the same carbon atoms, crystal structure, shine and luster, and are made from all the same things as the natural stuff, making them comparative in quality while oftentimes cheaper in price tag. Sounds like a pretty good value, right?
Lab Grown Diamonds vs. “Fake” Diamonds
So, now that you know a little bit more about what exactly lab grown diamonds are to begin with, let’s clear up something. Lab grown diamonds and so-called “fake” ones (more accurately known as diamond simulants) are not the same thing.
As explained before, the composition of lab grown diamonds are the same as natural. Other than how they come to be, there’s little distinguishing the two on a physical level. That isn’t the case for diamond simulants like cubic zirconia. These instead only replicate the look of the real deal but lack in all the other areas that lab grown diamonds excel.
For instance, what they’re comprised of is totally different, the former made from a manmade mineral called zirconium dioxide whereas our friend the lab grown diamond is made of carbon bonded together in unique crystal formations. Their details, shine, and refractive properties, and more also separate the two. One of the only similarities lies in their electrical conductivity, although that is a distinction that means little outside of a laboratory setting.
Too long, didn’t read? Lab grown and diamond simulants share very little in common, and it’s obvious why. The first of these is actually real while the second is fake. Pretty simple. That’s not to say these simulants aren’t a perfectly valid choice when ring shopping. After all, if you’re on a budget an your partner just wants something pretty on their finger, it definitely gets the job done. But it’s still important to recognize that lab grown diamonds are in an entirely different league than “fake” ones.
Why to Choose a Lab Grown Diamond Ring
Lab grown diamonds may sound like a pretty cool thing. After all, making diamonds from next to nothing? That’s a technological marvel of which all the alchemists of yore could only dream. But why should you choose this over your typical diamond? Is there any good reason to go hunting for one when you could simply stick with tradition?
The short answer is yes! Lab grown diamonds checkmark a few boxes and merely possess certain benefits that the regular gemstones can’t quite touch. Some of these include that lab grown diamonds:
- Cost less than their direct competitor. Since lab grown involve scientific intervention rather than mining and essentially take a little bit of normal diamonds and turn it into something bigger, they also tend to be way cheaper. And considering how expensive the typical options are, this is a huge benefit for anybody, perhaps barring maybe the Jeff Bezoses or Elon Musks of the world.
- Are inherently more ethically-sound. The regular, traditional diamond is gorgeous. However, the way it’s acquired is not in the slightest. The mining industry is one littered with violence and human rights abuses. Nobody halfway decent wants to contribute to this. Luckily, lab grown diamonds mean you don’t have to.
- Allow for folks to buy larger sizes or better quality. Know how we mentioned that lab grown is way easier on your wallet than the typical stuff? Well, that also means you can get much more bang for your buck if you’ve got some spare cash available. You can then afford larger diamonds and ones of better quality for less money. Sounds like a serious win to us.