We know that the world of diamonds can be confusing at times, but like most things it doesn't need to be so complicated.
Our team has over 15 years experience grading and trading diamonds in the world's diamond bourses and cutting houses. Over the years we have inspected hundreds of thousands of diamonds in all shapes and sizes. Almost all of these diamonds would have been certified by an independent gemological laboratory to verify the diamond's characteristics, which can also be used to later identify that particular diamond. The certificate should be the first place you start when assessing a diamond; it will verify if the diamond is naturally mined or lab grown as well as its carat weight, colour, clarity and its many other characteristics.
However, there is one thing a diamond certificate will not tell you - how beautiful is the diamond?
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and while a certificate gives you an expert's opinion of your diamond, the most important opinion will always be yours!
The Four C's
The 5th (secret) 'C' is Certificate: this refers to the laboratory which issued the grading certificate. Why does this matter? Different laboratories have different standards; the same diamond might receive an SI1 clarity grade from GIA but be graded VS2 by HRD. GIA (Gemological Institute of America) and IGI (International Gemological Institute) are considered the world leading diamond grading labs. They are independent, reliable and trustworthy.
Pro tip: Be suspicious if you are ever offered a diamond with a certificate issued by the same company selling the diamond. A retailer is not an independent lab and could write anything - they can pass off low quality diamonds on unsuspecting customers by "grading" them themselves. Its just an opinion after all!
Earth Mined vs Lab Grown Diamonds
We often get asked what the difference is between mined diamonds and lab grown diamonds. So, here it is...
Earth Mined Diamonds
Earth mined diamonds are diamonds that have been naturally formed deep inside the earth's crust by immense heat and pressure over billions of years.
The first natural diamonds were found aproximately 2400 years ago in India. These would have been found in alluvial deposits (flowing through river beds) after being carried to the surface of the earth by volcanic pipes.
It is clear that the first people to discover diamonds knew they had found something special, though it would take them many years to realise quite how special these stones really are. Those deposits soon ran out and people began digging far and wide (and deeper) to find more.
Lab Grown Diamonds
These diamonds are identical chemically, physically and optically to their mined counterparts, but are grown by scientists in a lab. Only sophisticated gemological equipment can tell the two apart.
Around 70 years ago scientists began trying to grow diamonds in laboratories by replicating the natural conditions in the earth's crust. The first stones they were able to grow were low quality and useful only for industrial purposes, but the technology has come a long way since then and today they are able to grow magnificent gem quality diamonds.
These diamonds cost significantly less and have a much smaller environmental footprint than mined diamonds.
Lab grown and mined diamonds both score 10 on the Mohs scale of mineral hardness
Refractive Index & Dispersion
Lab grown and mined diamonds both have a refractive index of 2.42 and dispersion of 0.044
Lab grown and mined diamonds both have a cubic crystal structure
Lab grown and mined diamonds are both made of pure carbon
Lab grown and mined diamonds both have a density (specific gravity) of 3.52
What is the price difference between mined and lab grown diamonds?Lab grown diamonds cost much less than mined diamonds. Usually they cost around a third of the price of their mined counterparts, but this difference can vary and increases with carat weight and quality. Customers will usually get a larger and better quality diamond when choosing a lab grown diamond over a mined diamond of the same price - hence their popularity.
Are diamonds a good investment?We are not financial advisors but, if we were, we would tell you that that the vast majority of diamonds are not a good investment. The only diamonds that would be considered investment worthy are either very high colour/clarity white diamonds or exceptional fancy coloured diamonds. The trick with investing in diamonds is to get the best possible entry price and avoid retail markups. With our connections in the diamond cutting world we are uniquely positioned to source exceptional diamonds before they hit the market - contact us if you would like to discuss a truly exceptional diamond!
Are your diamonds ethically sourced?Yes, and not just our diamonds, all our materials are ethically sourced and conflict free. Increasingly, we are sourcing our diamonds from suppliers that are climate conscious and moving towards a net zero carbon footprint.
Are your diamonds certified?Yes, we prefer to use diamonds that are certified by independent and world renowned grading laboratories such as GIA or IGI. In some cases, with smaller diamonds it's not cost effective to have them individually certified, but we will always check them ourselves to guarantee quality. If the diamonds we use are not individually certified we offer the option of having your piece of jewellery independently certified free of charge.
Are lab grown diamonds real diamonds?Yes, mined and lab grown diamonds are both real diamonds. The difference is that one was dug out of a mine and the other was grown in a lab. From this point onwards, whether mined or lab grown, the rough diamond is cut, polished and graded in exactly the same way and the two are indistinguishable.