Lab-Grown Diamonds

What are the differences between natural and lab-grown diamonds?

What You Need to Know

There’s a relatively new kid on the block and its name is a Lab-Grown Diamond. We see many of our Houston customers coming in and inquiring about them. We hope we can educate you by answering some common questions we receive below. At the end of the day, our job is to address your questions and there are many (as there should be). Buying a diamond (lab or natural) is a big decision. It’s for the person you want to spend the rest of your life with. Whether it be a center stone for your engagement ring, or a few carats to adorn each ear, you should have all the facts. Here at Lewis Jewelers, that’s our job!

Understanding the disparities between natural and lab-grown diamonds is crucial before investing in one of life's major decisions! While they are far more affordable and technically possess the same physical and chemical properties as natural diamonds, you might wonder, "What's not to like about lab-grown diamonds and are they worth purchasing?"

lab grown diamond

Buying a diamond is a deeply personal decision. Ultimately, the ideal diamond for you will hinge on your priorities.

Here are a few of the most frequently asked questions we hear in our store.

Q. Are lab-grown diamonds considered "fake" or "real"?

A. Lab-grown diamonds are not considered fake. They are indistinguishable from natural diamonds in every aspect, except for their origin—they are cultivated in a lab from a diamond seed rather than mined from the earth. Since both lab-grown and naturally mined diamonds are predominantly composed of pure carbon, they share identical physical properties. Due to the differing formation conditions of natural and lab-grown diamonds, lab-grown diamonds exhibit several characteristics that distinguish them from natural diamonds, as highlighted by the Natural Diamond Council and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Lab-grown or created diamonds cannot be classified as "real" because they are not sourced from the Earth; they are manufactured in a laboratory. They are not considered traditional gemstones. However, their chemical composition mirrors that of earth-mined diamonds. They are also not to be confused with cubic zirconia.

Q. What sets them apart?

A. To comprehend the disparity between earth-mined diamonds and lab-grown diamonds, you need to start at the beginning. A natural diamond forms when pure carbon undergoes extreme temperature and pressure over billions of years within the Earth's mantle, exclusively within the "diamond stability zone," approximately 80 to 120 miles beneath the Earth's surface, where conditions are optimal. Through eons of volcanic eruptions, diamonds are propelled to the surface, and encapsulated within large rock formations.

On the other hand, lab-grown diamonds are cultivated in meticulously controlled laboratory settings that replicate their natural growth environment in the Earth: high pressure and high temperature. Because they share the same chemical composition, crystal structure, and optical and physical properties as natural diamonds, they are not technically synthetic or fake diamonds. Lab-grown diamonds can show fire, scintillation, and sparkle similar to natural diamonds, but they also possess distinct internal characteristics that distinguish them. They can be replicated endlessly, unlike natural diamonds, which are one-of-a-kind, much like snowflakes or fingerprints.

One thing we want to stress here at Lewis Jewelers: A natural diamond is the oldest possession one can own, taking billions of years to form. This aspect contributes to its uniqueness.

Q. Are lab-grown diamonds identical to natural diamonds?

A. No, they are not identical primarily because they are mass-produced in factories, primarily located in China, India, and Singapore, using industrial microwave reactors. Their artificial production process spans just two weeks, leaving discernible marks within the diamond, enabling professionals (like us) to readily identify them.

cushion cut lab grown diamond

Q. Are lab-grown diamonds more socially responsible than natural diamonds?

A. 83% of the water used in modern natural diamond recovery is recycled. Three times the land utilized to recover a natural diamond is designated for conservation. Moreover, the estimated greenhouse gas emissions in the recovery of natural diamonds are three times lower than those of lab-grown diamond production. The diamond sector also sustains the livelihoods of 10 million individuals globally, contributing $16 billion annually towards community development, educational initiatives, and environmental preservation efforts. Today, conflict diamonds have been virtually eradicated from the market through the UN-mandated Kimberley Process.

This is where it gets a little tricky! Many eco-claims made by lab-grown diamond manufacturers lack substantiation and violate US federal guidelines. Lab-grown diamonds are produced in chemical reactors that operate at temperatures over 14,000 degrees Fahrenheit hotter than the surface of the sun. Additionally, their manufacturing process necessitates a significant amount of freshwater, with one producer reporting a requirement of 4.5 million gallons of water annually at a single facility. The wealth generated by lab-grown diamond companies primarily benefits a select few venture capitalists and investors who have yet to demonstrate comparable socio-economic contributions.

Further information can be found at

Q. Are natural diamonds worth the investment?

A. The value of natural diamonds stems from their rarity. Over the past decade, they have appreciated by an average of 4% annually. Currently, lab-grown diamonds are sold at a considerably lower cost than natural diamonds, allowing for the purchase of a nearly flawless diamond in a larger size than an earth-mined diamond for far less money. Typically thousands less. However, due to their abundance, lab-grown diamonds will not retain their value. They possess little to no resale value.

While most individuals do not view a diamond as an investment, you may decide to trade in your initial diamond later in life for a larger one. However, most retailers, including us, do not repurchase lab-grown diamonds due to their lack of resale value—an important aspect to consider.

We sell both natural and lab-grown diamonds. We understand the validity of both. We have grown up in the natural diamond world, and we certainly understand the value proposition. We are members of the Natural Diamond Council. However, sometimes cost is a factor. We would be foolish to not understand that obstacle for many young couples. Money should not preclude you from finding the engagement ring of your dreams and an engagement ring at Lewis Jewelers. A lab-grown diamond will provide you a far bigger look for a far lower cost, this we can not deny.

Both earth-mined and lab-grown diamonds possess their own allure. It is a very personal decision. Ultimately, the choice is yours to make.

Contact us to make an appointment. Lewis Jewelers is here to assist you every step of the way!