Lab-Grown Diamonds vs. Natural Diamonds: What's the Difference?

Updated: Nov 4, 2019


If you’re planning on buying a diamond engagement ring or other piece of diamond jewelry soon, you’re probably doing a lot of research: How do I get the best diamond for a great price? What type of band should I buy? Should I buy online or from a store?


These are all great, important questions! Chances are, if you’ve landed here, you also have this question on your mind: What is a lab-grown diamond (also known as a man-made diamond, lab-created diamond, or synthetic diamond), and how does it compare to a natural diamond? Settle in, friend, because in this blog we’re going to explore lab grown diamonds vs. natural diamonds: What they are, where to find them, and how to best protect your investment.



Thinking about buying lab-grown? Read this post first.


How Are Natural Diamonds Formed?

To best understand the difference between lab-created diamonds and natural diamonds, let’s first take a look at how a natural diamond is formed. Deep within the Earth’s mantle—about 100 miles or so below the surface—is where diamonds are formed. Creating a diamond requires intense heat and pressure. This part of the Earth meets both of these requirements, creating ideal conditions to facilitate a diamond’s formation. Nobody really knows a natural diamond’s exact origin story, but it’s thought that carbon dioxide trapped deep inside the Earth is responsible for the initial creation of the natural diamonds that are mined today.


We don’t have the tools to drill this deep into the Earth, so the diamonds that are naturally sourced are thought to have been pushed up to the surface of the Earth by a series of intense volcanic eruptions many, many years ago.


How Are Lab-Grown Diamonds Different Than Natural Diamonds?

The only difference between a lab-grown diamond and a natural diamond is where the diamond is created. A man-made diamond is created in a lab rather than within the Earth’s surface. Lab-created diamonds are made using technology that is designed to mimic the way natural diamonds are formed. Laboratories use two processes to create man-made diamonds: High Pressure-High Temperature (HPHT) and Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD). (We won’t go into the technical details of these processes, but if you’d like to get a little nerdy and learn about them, you can get that information here or here.)


Many people wonder whether lab-grown diamonds are real diamonds, and the answer is YES! Lab-created diamonds are real diamonds—they are not cubic zirconias and are not “fakes.” Man-made diamonds have the same chemical, physical, and visual properties as diamonds found in nature.


Lab-Grown Diamonds vs. Natural Diamonds: Which is Better?

When it comes to lab-grown diamonds vs. natural diamonds, a lot of people wonder which option is better. Let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons of lab-created diamonds.


Pros of Lab-Grown Diamonds

  • Lab-grown diamonds are less expensive than natural diamonds—about 20%–30% less expensive, in fact! Man-made diamonds are less expensive because creating a diamond in a lab takes fewer people than mining a diamond from the Earth. By purchasing a diamond grown in a lab, you’re essentially cutting out the middleman that comes with the diamond mining process.

  • Lab-made diamonds are just as beautiful as natural diamonds.

  • Lab-grown diamonds are eco-friendly: Diamond mining creates an incredible amount of mineral waste and disturbs nearly 100 square feet of land to mine just ONE diamond.

  • Lab-created diamonds are ethically sourced: The mining of natural diamonds has a complicated history. Purchasing a lab-grown diamond guarantees that your diamond is conflict-free and ethically sourced. (We recommend purchasing natural diamonds from companies that guarantee conflict-free natural diamonds.)

  • Lab-grown diamonds are graded just like natural diamonds.


Cons of Lab-Grown Diamonds

The biggest con of purchasing one is that they may not hold their resale value like natural diamonds and may depreciate over time. Because natural diamonds are becoming harder to mine, their value continues to appreciate—they’re also more than 3.3 billion years old, making them incredibly special and one-of-a-kind!


Both lab-created diamonds and natural diamonds have their pros and cons. In the end, neither of these diamonds is better than the other—it just depends on what works best for you and your budget & lifestyle.


Where Can I Find Lab-Grown Diamonds for Sale?

There are many jewelers out there that sell lab-created diamond engagement rings, loose lab-grown diamonds, and other man-made diamond jewelry products. You can find beautiful, high quality diamonds at Rogers & Hollands, Brilliant Earth, Reeds Jewelers, YADAV, and Helzberg Diamonds


Can I Still Insure Lab-Made Diamonds?

Yes, absolutely! Whether you’re buying a lab-grown diamond engagement ring or an engagement ring with a natural diamond, you still need to protect your investment. Purchasing a standalone engagement ring insurance policy is the only way to guarantee your diamond (lab-grown or natural) is protected in the event of loss, theft, natural disasters, or damage.


At Zillion, we offer outstanding jewelry insurance policies for both lab-grown diamonds and natural diamonds. Our comprehensive diamond engagement ring coverage and easy-to-use quoting and claims services ensure that your engagement and wedding rings are always protected, no matter where in the world you may roam.


Get your free Zillion quote today and discover the difference engagement ring insurance with better coverage, transparency, and ease makes. When you protect your engagement ring with a Zillion insurance policy, you don’t just wear your jewelry—you wear it with confidence!

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