Natural & Lab-Grown Diamonds – The Sparkling Debate: FAQ’s

Embracing Innovation and Tradition


Photo: Adobe Stock

The advent of lab-grown diamonds has sparked a fascinating dialogue, prompting questions about their cultural, economic, functional, and aesthetic implications. To shed light on this sparkling inquiry, we’ve compiled a comprehensive list of frequently asked questions (FAQs) that delve into the nuances of both natural and lab-grown diamonds. Whether you’re a gemstone enthusiast, a jewelry connoisseur, or simply curious about this captivating topic, these FAQs will provide you with authoritative insights and enlightening perspectives.


A Mesmerizing Encounter

Years ago, we had the privilege of witnessing a remarkable demonstration at a jewelry show, where a man skillfully heated a diamond until it vaporized in a sudden flash before our eyes. This awe-inspiring spectacle prompted us to invite him to share his demonstration & story at an Argo & Lehne staff meeting where he was a big success. Little did we know that this encounter would foreshadow groundbreaking advancements in diamond synthesis, a process that would reverse the very phenomenon we had witnessed. Today, lab-grown diamonds have emerged as a viable and economically accessible alternative, vying for a place alongside the natural diamonds we’ve cherished for generations.


Natural & lab-grown diamond FAQ’s –


Does Argo & Lehne Jewelers sell lab-grown diamonds?

Argo & Lehne sells high quality naturally-occurring and lab-grown diamonds, offering as many choices as

diamond earrings

Argo & Lehne 4.57 ct total weight lab-grown diamond martini stud earrings.

possible to fully meet our clients’ needs. The natural/lab-grown choice depends on one’s preference, as we all have different requirements and inclinations. If undecided, we recommend customers deal with an American Gem Society jeweler such as Argo & Lehne with the ethics and gemological expertise to help them to better make a fully informed decision.


Are lab-grown diamonds real?

Yes, they are in every way real diamonds! Read on.

How are natural & lab-grown diamonds the same?

1 – Composition

Both are diamond, consisting of a single element, carbon. Diamond, natural or lab-grown, is the only gem thus composed. (Graphite, a soft mineral, is also made only of carbon. It’s amazing that diamond’s different molecular bonding arrangement is the only reason it is such a hard substance compared to graphite.)

2 – Crystalline structure

The most common diamond crystal shape, natural or lab-grown, is an octahedron (a polyhedron with eight triangular sides).

3 – Optical properties

Both natural & lab-grown diamonds exhibit the same brilliance (life), dispersion (radiance or fire) and sparkle (scintillation).

4 – Appearance

A natural diamond cannot be distinguished from a lab-grown diamond with the naked eye, or often even by an experienced gemologist without advanced instrumentation. They can both be cut and fashioned into beautiful jewelry.

5 – Durability

Both are diamonds, rated 10 on the Mohs Scale of Hardness and are thus the hardest known material on earth.

In summary, they are both diamonds having the same qualities chemically, physically, structurally & visually and are in every way indiscernible without advanced scientific testing.

How are natural & lab-grown diamonds different?

1 – Formation

Natural diamonds are formed deep within the earth and carried closer to the surface by volcanic eruptions. They are harvested and fashioned into gems. Lab-grown are manufactured in large factories, then fashioned in the same way into gems.

2 – Time

Natural diamonds formed 90 million – 3.5 billion years ago, but lab-grown diamonds often take only a few weeks to create.

3 – Rarity

Natural diamonds are quite rare; lab-grown diamonds, less & less so. In the past 30 years, there have been no important discoveries of new diamond deposits, and it takes many tons of Kimberlite (the ore in which diamonds are found) to find even one 1 carat diamond. Lab-grown diamonds, on the other hand, are more and more plentiful as thousands are created every month, contributing to their continually lowering cost.

4 – Price

The cost of lab-grown has dropped dramatically from only about 5% less than natural in 2005 to as much as 60% less now, depending on the source, size and quality.

5 – Cutting

Lab-grown diamonds offer more freedom in cutting as the raw material is less expensive and wastage is not as much of a factor, and they can be grown to more economically accommodate the best cuts as well as unusual fancy cuts.

What do we call these different types of diamonds?

1 – Are made diamonds manufactured in labs?

Lab-grown diamond factory

A lab-grown diamond factory. Photo:

Though researchers continually grow diamonds in laboratories to further improve the technology, this is a minute percentage of all made diamonds, and most are grown in large factories throughout the world, but predominantly in China and India.



2 – Are lab-grown synthetic diamonds?

The term “synthetic” is technically accurate in describing lab-grown diamonds as they are certainly synthesized. However, the word has negative connotations and is often misconstrued to mean “fake”. It is thus misleading, confusing and seldom used now. The word “synthetic” was favored by the natural gem & diamond industries and broadly used to disparage created gems. The same is true for the word “artificial”.

3 – How does the jewelry industry refer to natural and lab-grown?

The 2018 Federal Trade Commission revision of its Jewelry Guide for Advertising says that the words “natural” and “synthetic” should be removed from product descriptions. Therefore, mined or natural diamonds should be referred to just as “diamonds” and created diamonds should be referred to with a qualifier such as “laboratory grown”, “laboratory created”, or “(manufacturer’s name) created”. Argo & Lehne follows this in our tags, computer records and website, except to distinguish natural and lab-grown when both are found in the same piece. For clarity, our appraisals refer to “mined” or “made” diamonds under the entry for origin.

4 – What is a diamond simulant?

Diamond simulants such as cubic zirconia and moissanite mimic the appearance of diamonds but are not the same as natural and lab-grown diamonds. They do not share the same chemical and physical properties and are far less valuable. Older diamond simulants include natural sapphire, natural topaz, rock crystal quartz as well as materials originally developed for scientific purposes.

How are lab-grown diamonds made?

Processes to create lab-grown diamonds fall into two main categories:

1 – High Pressure High Temperature (HPHT)

This process mimics to some extent the conditions of nature. It involves applying pressure in an extremely hot chamber to carbon dissolved in molten metal which causes carbon to precipitate onto a tiny diamond seed crystal. The seed is usually lab-grown but could be either.

2 – Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD)

The most common method, CVD also uses a diamond seed placed in a heated chamber. (This method requires less energy than HPHT.) It injects a carbon containing gas into the chamber and then a microwave beam causes the carbon to precipitate onto the seed.

These processes usually take weeks to complete.

How can I tell a natural from a lab-grown diamond?

1 – Argo & Lehne Policy

Our policy is consistent transparency in all our dealings. We disclose the origins of our mined and grown diamonds, including tagging our lab-grown diamonds in a different color to avoid confusion.

2 – Identifying marks

Lab-grown diamonds are often inscribed by the manufacturer with the mark “LG”. This is seen only on the girdle (outside circumference) under a microscope.

3 – In-store testing

To be doubly sure, we test every diamond that comes into the store for sale or appraisal with one of the most advanced scientific instruments available which quickly and accurately distinguishes between natural and lab-grown diamonds.

4 – GIA testing

In rare instances when testing is inconclusive or if requested, we can send diamonds to the GIA (Gemological Institute of America), foremost authority on gems, for complete in-depth testing in their world-class gemological laboratory.

Does the GIA certify lab-grown diamonds?

Yes, the GIA uses the same criteria to evaluate both types of diamonds and issues certificates that indicate, among other things, whether diamonds are natural or lab-grown.

What are the advantages & disadvantages of natural & lab-grown diamonds?

1 – Affordability

Prices for lab-grown diamonds are substantially less, so you have the option of a better quality or bigger diamond for a lower price. Or, you might put the savings into greater design freedom in the form of a better, different or custom mounting.

2 – Ethical/sustainability issues

Art Deco vintage diamond ring.

A&L Art Deco vintage diamond ring.

For many, lab-grown diamonds give them the assurance that they are supporting the environment with their purchase, as they see manufacturing as far more sustainable and eco-friendly than mining. We should point out that lab-grown diamond manufacturing is also very energy-intensive, although some makers report using only ecologically sourced electricity. A large percentage of the world’s lab-grown diamonds are made in Asia where electricity is mostly coal-produced. Diamond factories also have the effluence that goes into the air & streams if unregulated as in Asia.

The natural diamond industry has made significant reforms to mitigate its impact on the environment and to provide fair trade and economic growth for mining communities, which continues to grow as a trend. The “conflict diamond” issue has essentially been eliminated by the widespread adoption of the Kimberly Process.

A third alternative combines the mystique and allure of natural diamonds with sensitivity to environmental issues. That is the option of pre-owned diamonds, which do not involve any additional mining or manufacturing, but that recycle natural or lab-grown diamonds already in circulation. Argo & Lehne offers an assortment of different cuts, sizes and qualities in our vintage jewelry & loose gem collections.

3 – Holding value

Some natural diamonds, exceptional 3 – 5 carats, have continued to increase in value. 1 – 3 carats of exceptional quality hold steady. Natural diamonds under 1 carat & lower quality have decreased in value since 2000.

Prices for lab-grown diamonds have decreased since their inception. Furthermore, falling prices of lab-grown will influence the perception of their value in the future. These trends show no sign of changing, so lab-grown may not be a suitable option for those with resale in mind.

4 – Sentimental/romantic considerations

Many people are captivated by the fact that natural diamonds are billions of years old and come from deep within the earth. They like the thought of giving or possessing something so ancient, rare, beautiful, and expensive, especially when it holds personal meaning deeply symbolic of love & commitment.

What percentage of buyers prefer lab-grown diamonds?

Lab-grown diamonds now make up over 1/5 of the total high-end diamond jewelry market, according to the Gemological Institute of America.

Where can I go for lab-grown diamonds in Columbus?

Especially in this period of transition, it’s important to deal with a knowledgeable, independent, American Gem Society jeweler whom you can trust to advise you in purchasing the best-quality diamond at the best price. We would be happy to answer all your questions and help you find the right diamond for you, whether it be natural or lab-grown. See us in our showroom or visit our website

In summary, we have addressed the debate between natural & lab-grown diamonds and outlined the interplay between scientific, economic, ethical & cultural factors that shape perceptions & preferences. The sparkling choice is yours!