20 July 2022 3 min read
A question we hear a lot is - why are lab-grown diamonds cheaper than mined diamonds?
And given that we’re all about transparency and helping educate our customers about sustainable diamonds, we’re going to get into it here and now.
It’s true. Lab-grown diamonds (and other lab-grown gemstones) are less expensive than their mined counterparts. In fact, a lab-grown diamond costs around 30-40% less than a mined diamond.
But, if a lab-grown diamond is a ‘real diamond’ - then why does it cost less?
Here’s the thing. Before they get to their final destination - the customer - mined diamonds pass through a lot of hands. And we mean A LOT.
Earth mined diamonds come from carbon, forming over millions of years deep underground, subjected to intense heat and immense pressure. Volcanic eruptions bring them up to the surface.
The diamonds then need to be extracted from the earth. This requires a lot of effort. Which is where mining comes in. It’s estimated that for every single carat, around 250 tonnes of earth have to be moved to extract it. That’s why diamond mines take up so much land (so much that they can sometimes be seen from space), causing deforestation and other widespread environmental issues.
And then there’s the human cost. Diamond mining is an industry well known for its many human rights abuses. Child labour is rife, conditions are often dangerous and in some countries, diamonds are used to fund conflict.
While schemes like the Kimberley Process have taken steps to ensure these ‘conflict diamonds’ don’t make their way into the open market, many traders have found ways around it and experts argue that it isn’t effective enough.
Read our article on the Kimberley Process to learn more.
A mined diamond may change hands up to 20 times before reaching you, travelling across many continents - all of which adds to the cost, which is then passed on to you, the consumer.
Lab-grown diamonds, on the other hand, only pass through a small number of hands before reaching you. They can be grown in a matter of weeks, without the same social and environmental impact as mined diamonds. Because they don’t travel as far, or make as many stops on their journey to you, they cost significantly less.
Read how lab-grown diamonds are made.
It’s this difference in the supply chain that plays a big part in the disparity between the cost of a mined diamond versus a lab-grown diamond.
It’s a common myth that lab-grown diamonds aren’t ‘real’ diamonds, which is what makes them more affordable.
In fact, lab-grown diamonds are every bit as real as those mined from the earth. They have the same chemical, physical and identical properties. They go through the same International Gemological Institute certification and inspection process, and they are graded the same. Lab-grown diamonds are indistinguishable from mined diamonds, unless you are a highly trained gemologist with specialist equipment.
Lab-grown diamonds are also just as high quality as mined diamonds. Even more so, in some cases, lab-grown diamonds have been found to be up to 10 times more durable than earth mined diamonds.
Find out more in our ‘What Are Lab-Grown Diamonds?’ article.
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