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Diamonds 101: Natural vs. Lab-Grown

June 09, 2021

Diamonds 101: Natural vs. Lab-Grown

Ready to take the next step in your relationship & wow your partner with a one-of-a-kind ring they can’t say “no” to? We’re here to help!

From size, shape and type of stone, to ring size, metal color and mounting style, there are a lot of little boxes to tick for your partner-to-be’s dream engagement ring. Thanks to modern technology, there’s another option you may find yourself questioning: natural or lab grown diamond? We’re here to give our two cents and help you navigate that question before you pony up to make this official with some bling!

What is a Diamond?


To a scientist, a diamond is just the element carbon crystallized into solid form. Technically, they’re not wrong—it’s science. But at Marrow, we believe they’re so much more than just a mineral.

Diamonds are rare precious gems that formed over billions of years ago, around one hundred miles beneath the Earth’s surface, overcoming extraordinary amounts of heat and pressure, traversing through volcanic tunnels and eventually scattering around the globe for us to find. There’s only a finite amount—they’re truly a miracle from Mother Nature herself. What could make a better symbol for a relationship that aims to be equally strong and resilient than a gemstone formed under intense pressure, time, and all sorts of landscapes?



As the world’s hardest mineral (ranking as a 10 on the Mohs Hardness scale!), diamonds were perfectly named from the Greek word Adamas, meaning, “unbreakable.” A diamond’s cubic crystal structure and inherent hard nature makes them perfect for everyday wear.

Learn how to take care of your precious gems and jewels here.

So what is a Lab-Grown Diamond?

Laboratory-grown diamonds are manufactured products. While these synthetics may have the same chemical, physical and optical properties as natural diamonds, they’re manufactured in a lab in just a matter of weeks. 

There are two methods, one that simulates the harsh conditions beneath Earth’s crust, HPHT (High Pressure High Temperature) and the other breaks down and distributes molecules from a carbon-rich gas onto a diamond seed crystal, CVD (Chemical Vapor Deposition). 

 Man-made diamonds have been in production for industrial purposes since the 1960’s (think saw blades and drill bits), but higher quality rough and stones have recently entered the jewelry market within the last decade. 

To the untrained eye, laboratory-grown diamonds are going to seem identical to natural diamonds. But with the right tools, a diamond professional cannot be fooled. Just like a natural diamond has natural inclusions, a synthetic diamond will also have their own key traces of origin and irregularities that are left behind during the manufacturing process. 

Grading & Pricing

Natural Diamonds and Lab-Grown Diamonds are graded along the same scale and set of standards when it comes to GIA’s 4C’s of Diamond Quality: Color, Clarity, Cut, & Carat. 

However, they are issued two separate reports: Diamond Grading Report & Laboratory Diamond Grading Report. To clear any retail confusion and potentially prevent any unethical marketing tactics, FTC Regulations state that laboratory-grown diamond manufacturers cannot use the word “diamond” to describe a product unless the word is immediately preceded by the word “laboratory-grown”, “laboratory-created”, or “(manufacturer name)-created.”



As of right now, laboratory-grown diamonds do not have a secondary resale market and there isn’t enough data yet to show what a consumer is willing to pay for them over time. They’re still so new. As you can imagine, if the technology continues to advance, competition continues to increase, and more synthetics continue to enter the market, it is likely that their prices will be driven down over time. It also could mean that your lab-grown diamond will not be worth what you initially paid for it. 

Environmental Concerns

For many environmentally-conscious consumers, it’s really important to minimize your carbon footprint by making sustainable decisions and purchases. If that aspect of your diamond hunt is top priority, our recommendation is always to go vintage! Reduce, reuse, recycle...but for diamonds!

Antique Diamonds 

 

It’s no secret that we love antique diamonds here at Marrow. We’re always on the treasure hunt for stunning facets, funky shapes and kaleidoscope patterns. There is something so special in knowing that you’re wearing a piece of handcrafted history.

Antique diamonds are typically over hundred years old with the majority being cut prior to the 1920’s and before the widespread use of electricity. Each stone is as unique as the next since a skilled jeweler relied on their trained eye to hand-cut and polish the stone, rather than the precision of an automated computer or fancy modern machine. Antique diamonds have a subtle sparkle that’s all their own and a facet pattern that resembles a clustered checkerboard or a fanciful flower thanks to their cute little culet.

Because antique diamonds were cut specifically to maximize candlelight, you may notice that your stone sparkles the absolute most in dimmer lighting, perhaps at a romantic dinner or even a dive bar (to each their own ambiance). 

If you follow us on Instagramthen you’ve definitely heard us refer to a stone that faces up larger than her carat weight as “spready.” Since antique diamonds were cut more with size in mind, rather than extreme sparkle, these stones tend to look larger in carat weight than they actually are!



While pricing per carat can be roughly the same, there is a very limited supply of antique diamonds, which makes them more rare than their modern counterparts. As their scarcity increases, along with the recent resurgence and market demand, they definitely have the potential to hold and increase their value over time. 

Why do we only work with Natural stones?

At our core, Marrow is a custom fine jewelry design house. Our team takes incredible pride in the pieces we create and the customer service we provide. Not only do we want you to feel over the moon with your new purchase, we also want to be able to stand by our designs and be proud of what you will wear for the rest of your life.



By building trustworthy relationships and connecting with carefully vetted vendors, we are able to source some of the world’s most rare and unusual gemstones. We only use the highest quality materials and every single centerstone—regardless of carat weight—are all hand selected. We have chosen to work exclusively with natural diamonds and gemstones not only because of their value and rarity, but because of what they represent.

To learn more about our process or chat with a stylist to get started on the engagement ring of your dreams, you can book an appointment here. We can’t wait to chat with you!



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