A reader had reached out to me the other day and her question was quite intriguing. In gist, she’s been with her boyfriend (but now fiancé) for 5 years, and he surprised her with the sweetest proposal ever. He handed her the most exquisite 3-carat ring. It’s got the sparkle, the design was beautiful! And, of course, she said yes!
But later on, during the wedding planning, he mentions to her that he was able to save on expenses because the engagement ring he bought her was made with lab-grown diamonds. So she asked me, “Does it mean that it’s fake? Should I be offended?”
Well, the answer is a little more complicated than a yes or no.
It might come as a surprise, but lab-grown diamonds are real diamonds – technically.
The natural, mined ones are created through a complex process that takes billions of years, making them more expensive. Lab-created diamonds, on the other hand, are produced in a fraction of that time and effort through chemical vapor deposition (CVD) or high pressure, high temperature (HPHT) methods. These diamonds – though man-made – are identical to natural ones in chemical composition, as well as in look and feel. They are also 30-40% cheaper than their natural counterparts. Is the price difference enough for you to buy lab grown diamonds instead?
On the other hand, speaking as a pawnshop operator this time, there is no information on how lab grown diamonds are valued in the second hand market. Will lab-grown diamonds even be accepted as collateral – and if yes, how much will they be valued for loan purposes? I know that I won’t accept them as collateral for loan because if my client defaults on the loan, how can I liquidate the pawned item? Will someone even buy them from me – and if yes, at what price?
Can you tell the difference between lab-created diamonds and real diamonds? To the naked eye, the answer is NO.
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Aside from price points, the difference between lab-grown and natural diamonds can only be determined using certain instruments. I use the GIA iD100 machine from GIA and this distinguishes the two. You can read more about it in my other entry.
When I sell diamonds, especially engagement rings, I prefer to sell lab-certified diamonds that way, my clients are assured of what they’re getting and paying for. Sadly, here in the Philippines, this is not commonly preferred since lab certified diamonds cost more than non-certified ones. Should my client have budget constraints, I issue a certification on the items I sell. Bottomline, go to your trusted jeweler or buy from a reputable store.
Should I Be Offended?
Going back to our scenario, I think there’s no need to be offended. A lab-grown diamond is technically a real diamond, and it’s still expensive as heck. However, as mentioned above, I do have a preference for natural, earth-mined diamonds. I have no issue as a gemologist. However, should you want to use them as collateral for a loan in the future, there are certain issues on how they can be assessed and valued.
Perhaps, in your case, what is important and beneficial to you both – more than focusing on the rock – is to reflect on the relationship you have and the marriage you want to build.
For me, it’s always safer to choose natural, mined diamonds. Anyways, you can always buy more for all your future anniversaries! Diamonds for every occasion!
Do you need help determining whether your diamond is natural or lab-grown? Book an appointment! Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. You may also check our website to book an appointment: willynvillaricajewelry.com or message us via Facebook: Willyn Villarica Jewelry or Instagram: @willynvillarica_jewelry