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Cultured Diamonds — A Sustainable Alternative to Natural Diamonds

Curious about cultured diamonds and what they are?

If you’re wondering why these lab-grown stones are called sustainable diamonds and whether or not you should consider them, you’re on the right page. Here we’ll explain what they are and how they compare to natural diamonds.

  1. How natural diamonds are formed and harvested
  2. What are cultured diamonds?
  3. How are cultured diamonds made?
  4. Why cultured diamonds are becoming popular
  5. Comparing natural vs. cultured diamonds
  6. Should you buy cultured diamonds?

How are natural diamonds formed and harvested?

How are natural diamonds formed

Natural diamonds are formed through certain conditions when heat and pressure causes carbon atoms to crystallise. 

According to the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), it takes one million part rocks for one part diamond. This gives you an idea of why there are so few natural diamonds.

Because there’s so much more rock than diamond, even recovering diamonds from the earth is labour-intensive. Kimberlite, an igneous rock which sometimes contains diamonds, must be processed to recover naturally occurring gems.

It’s also worth noting that natural diamonds are obtained through non-ecological mining techniques. These include marine, open-pit or alluvial mining. Such techniques involve things like deep drilling into the seabed and digging miles beneath the Earth’s surface.

These activities can affect the quality of water and health of aquatic life. In recent years, consumers have actually become increasingly aware of how natural diamonds are mined and have begun to question the ethics behind it.


What are cultured diamonds?


how are cultured diamonds formed

Cultured diamonds, also known as lab-grown diamonds or sustainable diamonds, are fundamentally the same as natural diamonds.

Cultured diamonds are real diamonds, in other words. 

The difference is that they are cultivated under a controlled environment. Their chemical composition and physical characteristics (such as hardness and sparkle) are exactly the same as natural diamonds’. 

Contrary to popular belief, they are not inferior to naturally mined diamonds. Nor are they diamond simulants - simulants are stones that merely imitate the appearance of diamonds. 

#1 Fast Fact
Diamond simulants are not the same as cultured or lab diamonds and do not have the same chemical and physical properties as diamonds. Examples of diamond simulants include cubic zirconia, lab-grown moissanites and rhinestones.

#2 Fast Fact
Natural diamonds have some resale value. Cultured diamonds, especially the nicer ones, can have some resale value too, though it tends to be much lower.


How are cultured diamonds created?

There are two ways to grow a cultured diamond:

       1. High Pressure, High Temperature (HPHT)
Where the machine mimics the condition of how a natural diamond forms in the Earth’s core.

2. Chemical Vapour Deposition process (CVD)
Where carbon gas is pumped into a gas chamber to be deposited onto a diamond seed that will crystallise into a full diamond. 


why are cultured diamonds rising in popularity

In a nutshell...

These are the main differences between cultured and natural diamonds.

Cultured Diamonds

  • Identical carbon atom structure to natural diamonds
  • Cultured in a lab over a month
  • Lower price with lower resale value
  • Durable and suitable for engagement rings

Natural Diamonds

  • Identical carbon atom structure to cultured diamonds
  • Formed over billions of years in the Earth and mined
  • Higher price with some resale value of up to 50% of cost price
  • Durable and suitable for engagement rings


It is important to note that one would not be able to distinguish between cultured and natural diamonds with the naked eye. 

The only way to ascertain whether a diamond is cultured or natural is to have the diamond undergo tests by internationally recognised gem testing labs like GIA or IGI.


diamond engagement ring, cultured vs natural


Should you buy a cultured diamond?

If you’re in the market for a diamond engagement ring that is environmentally-conscious and comparatively more affordable, a cultured diamond may be a suitable choice for you. 

However, the deciding factor still lies in your personal preference.

There is no right or wrong in choosing either a cultured or natural diamond. At the end of the day, a ring is a symbolism of love and commitment that should not be tied to a hefty price tag by default. 

Remember: it’s the thought and meaning behind the ring that matters most, not the numbers on the receipt after purchase.


Cultured Diamond Options at Carrie K. 

We offer cultured diamonds for all our designs. Simply book an appointment to have a chat with our Jewellery Consultants! 

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