BlueNile completely changed the ground rules by making online diamond buying seem safe, and now there's another game changer.
For centuries we have been trying to imitate diamonds. Glass, rhinestones, spinels, cubic zirconia, moissanites. Nothing ever completely captured the sparkle, beauty, or durability of earth-mined diamonds. That is, until now.
Scientists have been trying to perfect lab-grown diamonds for years. The idea? To speed up the process from billions of years to days.
And they've done it!
You can't tell the difference between the new lab-grown diamonds and earth-mined diamonds. Even the professionals can't. They have the EXACT same chemical and physical properties. They are, in fact, REAL diamonds. They're just grown in a lab versus deep within the earth. Also, they carry no concerns about ethical mining practices.
The bad news:
Jewelers are going to struggle with telling the difference. My understanding is the only way to know for sure which is which is to send it to the Gemological Institute of America Lab for testing. Testing devices usable by your everyday jeweler aren't available. So how are we going to know which it is? Good question.
Secondly, I believe the availability of these less expensive diamonds might lower the value of the earth-mined stones in your possession.
The good news:
You'll be able to get beautiful diamond jewelry for less. The existing stock of earth-mined diamonds will likely be discounted. The new lab-grown diamonds cost much less to produce and will be readily available because they're made, not mined.
And those of us who love old diamonds know what we have. In fact, I think more people will be attracted to the uniqueness of these hand cut, often not round, maybe off color stones. (I'm assuming old style stones will be a less likely candidate for lab production.)
Industry icon and former diamond cartel DeBeer's has taken a lead. In fact, they recently started a new subsidiary that sells only lab-grown diamonds, a clear indication of what's happening. We now have no choice but to talk about the elephant in the room.
I checked with my major supplier who now carries both diamonds and below is a comparison of diamond stud earrings in 14K white gold basket settings as of today:
Total weight of @ 1 carat, @1/2 carat (5mm) per ear:
Lab grown, F in color, VS in clarity $2148
Earth mined, G-H in color, SI2 - SI3 in clarity $2815
Total weight of @ 2 carats, @1 carat (6.3mm) per ear:
Lab grown, F in color, VS in clarity $5854
Earth mined, G-H in color, SI2 - SI3 in clarity $7976
If you're thinking of diamond studs this holiday season, lab-grown diamonds are a budget-friendly option. Not only are they less expensive, they're higher quality.
If you're interested in diamond studs (either variety), please let me know and I'll be glad to bring them in for you to preview.
Thank you, Joyce