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Lab-grown diamonds have become increasingly popular in recent years, with many consumers seeing them as a more ethical and environmentally friendly alternative to natural diamonds. With the rapid increase in production worldwide, we are seeing that not all lab-grown diamonds are created equal.


Lab diamond strain

Lab-grown diamonds can have structural and crystal differences that go beyond the traditional 4Cs of cut, color, clarity, and carat size. For example, some lab-grown diamonds grown via chemical vapor deposition (CVD) can be tinged with brown or gray colors or have signs of strain and striation, which can give the stones a streaky or blurry appearance. Meanwhile, diamonds grown by high-pressure, high-temperature (HPHT) presses can be tinged with blue or gray, and some can even phosphoresce.


Lab Diamond Tints

The reason for these differences lies in the fact that many lab-grown diamond growers are prioritizing speed and low cost over quality. As more growers have entered the market and sought to increase their output, they have taken shortcuts and used lower-quality materials, leading to a glut of lab-grown material, particularly in the 2 to 3 ct. range.

This has resulted in a market that is bifurcating into two segments: one populated by upscale producers who take time growing their diamonds and charge a premium, and one by budget producers who prioritize fast, cheap goods. However, poor-quality growers may begin going out of business, leading to a potential consumer confidence crisis that could disrupt the entire lab-grown diamond trade.

Ultimately, retailers and jewelers owe it to their customers to be more transparent about the differences between lab-grown and natural diamonds. Consumers should be aware that lab-grown diamonds are not always identical to natural diamonds, and retailers and jewelers should educate themselves on the quality characteristics of lab-grown diamonds beyond the 4Cs. With greater transparency and education, consumers can make informed choices about which type of diamond is right for them.