Embracing the brilliance of lab-grown diamonds
By: Heather Wuelpern
Welcome to part three of this six-part series with local diamond expert, Birko Roland, co-owner of The Diamond Store. Today, you will learn about lab-grown diamonds. The next edition of this series will share how diamonds are for much more than engagement rings. You will see how The Diamond Store even uses diamonds to play an integral role in community philanthropy.
Lab-grown diamonds have grown in popularity in recent years, and they have been considered real diamonds by the Federal Trade Commission since 2018. They were previously called synthetic diamonds. Business Wire shared that lab-grown diamonds generated $22.45 billion in 2022 and are expected to grow to $37.32 billion worldwide by 2028.
We reached out to local diamond expert Birko Roland from The Diamond Store to learn more about the increasing trend of lab-grown diamonds. He described his source in North Carolina as a big machine in a 10’ x 10’ office that produces a few diamonds at a time. The machine recreates what Earth does by mimicking the changes in pressure, temperature, and chemical reactions on carbon that exist a mile below the Earth’s surface but without resistance. Lab-grown diamonds are created much faster—in about 500 man-hours versus approximately 500 years—than it takes for diamonds to form naturally. Amazingly, even an expert cannot tell the difference!
This somewhat recent rise in the popularity of lab-grown diamonds may have something to do with them becoming a good alternative to natural diamonds during the COVID-19 pandemic when the diamond mines were closed. As we all know, supply-chain issues likely played a part in access to the natural stones as well.
Since the production process is under a controlled and efficient environment, the results can be more predictable when it comes to clarity, color, and cut. Speaking of color, lab-grown diamonds can be produced as blue, yellow, or pink diamonds, which are considered quite rare and therefore expensive when they are sourced naturally. Also, since the overall manufacturing costs are lower for lab-grown diamonds, a consumer can purchase a larger diamond for less money. They generally cost 50% to 70% less than mined diamonds.
While the popularity of lab-grown diamonds has been growing, they have yet to achieve the same widespread acceptance and market demand as mined diamonds. Therefore, the resale value of a lab-grown diamond will not hold the same value as mine diamonds because natural diamonds are considered to have more rarity.
Roland mentioned how he has noticed that his Millennial and Gen Z customers tend to prefer lab-grown. He feels they like to get a bigger diamond for less money and that they value the idea that the Earth has not been mined.
We mentioned Leonardo DiCaprio and his role in the movie “Blood Diamonds” in the first part of this series. Interestingly enough, DiCaprio became interested in investing in growing lab-grown diamonds since the making of the movie. He financed a part of the construction of a lab-grown diamond plant in Spain that runs on solar power and employs hundreds of workers.
In conclusion, the decision about whether to select a lab-grown or mined diamond ultimately depends on what you value and your budget. Either way, a good-quality diamond will reflect the light beautifully and should be given and worn with pride.
Now that you have learned about lab-grown diamonds, come back a week from next Sunday for the fourth part of this six-part series. You will discover how diamonds have versatility beyond engagement rings.
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- ASK THE EXPERT: Diamond Series – Economics of Diamonds - September 22, 2023
- ASK THE EXPERT: Diamond Series – Beyond Engagement Rings - September 7, 2023
- ASK THE EXPERT: Diamond Series – Cultivating Elegance - August 24, 2023
- ASK THE EXPERT: Diamond Series – Purchasing Diamonds - August 11, 2023