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Just like Jonathan, our neighbourhood Jehovah’s Witness, the request for laboratory-made diamond engagement rings has been showing up at our doorstep at an increased frequency. 

As more people understand what lab-grown diamonds are it’s becoming a perfectly viable option for a diamond engagement ring or any high-end jewellery piece. 

I’m seeing it every day that couples choose laboratory-made diamonds over their naturally formed counterparts. And for great reason. 

But, Google Autofill has a few surprises for you when you start typing lab diamonds into the search bar…

  • Do lab-grown diamonds last?
  • Do lab-grown diamonds show up as real?
  • Are lab-grown diamonds as strong as natural diamonds?

Yes to all three, but it’s clear the water seems murky on this topic.

The high-end jewellery trade is notoriously resistant to technological changes. You have jewellers to this day who don’t have mobile-friendly websites. Some still blurt out classical music to make your browsing of their cluttered website memorable. 

Lab diamonds have a ton going for them – and they might just be the perfect fit for your engagement ring. These are all the facts you need to need to know about laboratory diamonds in South Africa. 

What are laboratory diamonds?

Lab-grown diamonds (also referred to as laboratory-made diamonds, lab diamonds, man-made diamonds, cultured diamonds) are as real as any diamond that has ever been naturally mined from the Earth. 

Laboratory diamonds are made in controlled laboratories that mimic and greatly expedite the natural diamond formation process from millions of years to months.  

Using the same ingredients as the Earth’s crust this process yields true and real diamonds with their characteristic crystal structure, sparkle, fire and durability. 

Laboratory diamonds;

  • Share the identical molecular structure and composition of natural diamonds.
  • Visually indistinguishable from naturally formed diamonds. 
  • Cost at least 60% less than a similar natural diamond.
  • Are independently graded by leading diamond grading laboratories including the venerable GIA.
  • Are real diamonds and expected test as such on digital diamond testers.  

So, how do they differ from natural diamonds?

Solely in their origin. 

Although lab diamonds have been made in a laboratory the finished product is chemically and molecularly identical to a natural diamond. 

To clarify this once and for all the Federal Trade Commission in the USA ruled in 2018 that lab-grown diamonds are just as real as any Earth formed diamonds. 

They are not imitations, synthetic substitutes or lookalikes. 

The Price of Lab Diamonds 

As with natural diamonds, lab-grown diamond prices in South Africa are scattered erratically from one jeweller to the next. 

But lab diamonds can offer irresistible value. 

On average our laboratory diamonds sell at a 60% – 70% discount to their identical natural diamond counterparts. 

High-quality white 1,00ct diamonds show up from around R25 000. Thet’s incredible value. You can view a list of our latest lab-grown diamond specials all with HD videos HERE.

Let’s also take a look at what’s available in both natural and lab-grown diamonds in two popular budget categories; R30 000 and R50 000.  

Pay close attention to the dramatic increase in size attainable (+/- 50%) when opting for lab-grown diamonds compared to similarly priced and quality natural counterparts. 

OriginShapePriceWeightColourClarity
Natural DiamondRoundR35,200.000.71ctHSI1
Lab-grown DiamondRoundR30,500.001.12ctIVS1
Natural DiamondOvalR50,000.001.00ctJVS1
Lab-grown DiamondOvalR47,800.001.55ctIVS1

*In no way am I saying that natural diamonds are overpriced and shouldn’t command a premium to laboratory diamonds. Mining Earth-formed diamonds is significantly more expensive than the current laboratory creation process. Laboratory diamonds merely offer an alternative to natural diamonds. The pricing of natural diamonds has been completely unaffected by the sale of laboratory diamonds and they cater to two different markets that barely overlap. 

Can you tell a lab-made diamond from a natural diamond?

Not without access to very advanced imaging and light exploratory technologies currently solely in the hands of multi-national diamond manufacturers and independent diamond grading laboratories. 

No jeweller with a loupe, gemmologist outside his laboratory or future mother in law can tell the difference between laboratory-made and natural diamonds. 

Grading

Example of a GIA Lab grown diamond report

Laboratory grown diamonds should come with a third party Laboratory Grown Diamond Report.

These reports closely resemble the certificates issued with natural diamonds, just with added and clear disclosure of the origin. 

The rest of the graded specifications like diamond clarity, colour, carat, fluorescence etc are all graded using the same scale and standards as you’ll find on natural grading reports. 

Most laboratory-grown diamonds on the market are graded and certified by IGI and GIA. 

Both are solid, trustworthy diamond grading laboratories I feel comfortable buying and selling. 

Are lab diamonds the environmentally-friendly choice?

The formation of a single 1,00ct lab diamond consumes around the same energy used to make two Apple Macbook Pros. 

It’s not negligible. 

But when compared to the environmental impact and energy resources required in traditional diamond mining you’re in the green zone. 

Come take a look!

It’s absolutely worth your while to visit us and see a variety of lab-grown diamonds next to their natural counterparts. 

They look amazing. 

It might be just what you’re looking for to that the wheels rolling on that perfect diamond engagement ring… 

Please reach out for any questions or quote requests. I’m here to help! 

Johan Poggenpoel

Co-Founder (e: johan@poggenpoel.com)

012 111 0525 / 010 020 6811