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Ask The ExpertsDiamond/Gemstone Education

Cultured Diamonds — A Sustainable Alternative to Natural Diamonds

How are Natural Diamonds Formed?

 

How are natural diamonds formed

According to the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), it takes one million part rocks for one part diamond as the amount of diamonds is very low. A large amount of kimberlite, an igneous rock which sometimes contains diamonds, must be processed to recover the gems. 

Natural diamonds are obtained through non-ecological mining techniques such as marine, open-pit or alluvial mining. Such techniques result in deep drilling into the seabed, digging miles beneath the Earth’s surface as well as affecting the quality of water and health of aquatic life. In recent years, consumers have 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, are fundamentally the same as natural diamonds.

Cultured diamonds are real diamonds, the difference is that they are cultivated under a controlled environment. They have similar chemical composition and physical characteristics such as hardness and sparkle as natural diamonds. Contrary to popular belief, they are not inferior to naturally mined diamonds nor are they diamond simulants which are stones that merely imitate the appearance of diamonds.  

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.

 

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

Why are Cultured Diamonds Rising in Popularity?

Cultured diamonds are a sustainable, ethical alternative to natural mined diamonds and have a lower carbon footprint. 

According to a Forbes article in 2018, 70% of millennials are willing to consider a cultured diamond engagement ring. This shows that they are becoming more conscious of the impact of their buying decisions. Therefore, these consumers would rather purchase goods that do not bring about any adverse effects on the environment.

Another appealing factor is the competitive pricing. Cultured diamonds are generally priced lower than natural diamonds. In fact, they can be 40 to 50% cheaper than a comparable naturally-mined diamond.

cultured vs natural diamond 

In A Nutshell...

These are the main differences between Cultured and Natural Diamonds.

Cultured Diamonds

Natural Diamonds

Identical carbon atom structure to natural diamonds 

Identical carbon atom structure to cultured diamonds

Cultured in a lab over a month

Formed over billions of years in the Earth and mined

Lower price with lesser resale value.

Higher price with some resale value of up to 50% of cost price

Durable and suitable for engagement rings

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 their naked eye. The only way to ascertain whether a diamond is cultured or natural, is to have the diamond undergo tests by an 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 which should not be tied to a hefty price tag by default. It is the thought and meaning behind the ring that matters most.

 

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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