So should I go for natural diamonds or synthetics for half the price? One of the most spoken about topics in the diamond industry is lab-grown diamonds. What are they exactly? How are they different than Natural diamonds? How about their resale value? Let's browse some of the most important aspects and I will share with you my personal opinion.
What are Lab-grown diamonds?
Lab-grown diamonds or man-made diamonds or also often referred to as Synthetic diamonds or CVD are made of real diamonds. They have the same clarity, sparkle, and overall look and feel of an earth-mined, or natural diamond. So why has this topic been that controversial over the past years? To understand that, we need to go back to basic. Earth-mined diamonds come from the earth, not much to explain there, whereas lab-grown diamonds were made by humans inside a lab. A few words about the technical part...
Two different methods are used in labs to grow diamonds - High Pressure-High Temperature (HPHT) and Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD).
When the HPHT method is used, a small diamond seed is placed into a piece of carbon. Then using either a belt press, cubic press, or a split-sphere press, the carbon is pressurized to approximately 1.4 million pounds per square inch. Additionally, the carbon is also exposed to temperatures over 2,600 Fahrenheit. This pressure and heat begin to melt the carbon, forming a diamond around the initial diamond seed. The newly formed diamond is then carefully cooled.
On the other hand, the CVD method uses a small diamond seed. This seed is placed inside a sealed chamber that is heated to over 1,400 Fahrenheit and filled with carbon-rich gases. These gases are then ionized into plasma using a technology similar to lasers or microwaves. This technology essentially breaks down the molecular bond of the gas. Once the molecular bond is broken down, pure carbon begins to stick to the seed, and a new diamond forms.
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After having understood that, we can easily guess why synthetics are cheaper. Often priced at half the price of a natural diamond the same size and quality are they still a bargain? Well, synthetics will be cheaper because they are man-made while real diamonds were created years ago inside the earth by mother nature. So what should I choose?
Let's think about it, there's no limit to how much Synthetic diamonds can be produced. On the other hand, there's a limit to how many diamonds can be mined. What does that say about the value? Of course, Synthetics will be cheaper but what is going to happen to their value in the long run if they can be produced as much as one would like? My guess, not much. Certainly not for larger speculative investment stones.
Somewhere we can compare them to a car and real estate when it comes to investing. nobody buys a car as an investment. You will drive it for a few years and then sell it at 20%-40% of its original value depending on how long you are going to own the car. On the other hand, your real estate investment will most probably stay stable in another few years and you might even get some nice added value to it.
So for me, the decision is made, I am going to stick to a real natural diamond. One I can resell if wanted or just simply pass on to the next generations to enjoy.