Want to have the finest diamond that your money can buy? Contact us and tell us how much you are willing to spend for the kind of diamond that shines the brightest. We’ll sort out an entire constellation of genuine diamonds online and send you a sample of stones to choose from; each perfectly suited to your personal taste and budget.
Bottom Line Recommendation
The price for lab-grown diamonds is not low enough to make them favorable options over natural diamonds. If you want to make the most out of your money, purchasing Blue Nile or James Allen is the best route.
Lab-grown diamonds are synthetic diamonds made to replicate a genuine or natural diamond. The creation of lab-grown diamonds follows the same geological process that gives birth to natural diamonds but only faster (it takes billions of years for real diamonds to come to life!) making them identical in almost every aspect as a real diamond – in atomic structure and chemical and optical characteristics.
Diamonds are unique, luxurious, and exquisite items and purchasing one for jewelry is never a bad decision. However, we strongly condemn those marketing ploys from diamond companies like De Beers pushing the idea that diamonds and engagements are intertwined and without the former, the latter would simply be mundane. The founder of this site even wrote an article for Huffington Post to that effect.
We are not here to persuade people that they should purchase a diamond.
Our mission is to guide people on how they can enjoy the most value out of their purchase of a diamond. We determine the perfect equilibrium of quality so you can get the largest and brightest diamond available for your budget and at the same time help you navigate your way through certain challenges and risks that are normally attached to buying a luxury item like a diamond.
And let’s be clear with one thing: I accept the fact that synthetic diamonds look and feel exactly like natural diamonds (by synthetic diamonds we mean lab-grown diamonds and not diamond simulants or cubic zirconia).
But I’m not going to go deep into the technical intricacies of how lab-grown diamonds are made because that is not the main point of this article.
This article revolves purely around the issues of the value of lab-made diamonds. If you want to know the ethical issues surrounding the purchase of diamonds, check this comprehensive article.
DO LAB GROWN DIAMONDS PROVIDE BETTER VALUE?
Companies who are in the lab-grown diamond business assert that their products are 30 – 40% cheaper than their natural counterparts. Nothing can be far from the truth and you will know why later on in this article.
While it would not be wise to consider diamonds as real investments, it’s hard to ignore the value completely. Let’s pretend that an average natural diamond retains about 50% of its value after purchase. Ultimately the value of that diamond will grow (historically, diamond prices tend to go up on a consistent basis) which means if you decide to sell it, you should be receiving no less than half or higher of the original purchase price.
Lab-grown diamonds, on the other hand, do not possess a resale value. You will find it impossible to secure a Jeweler that will buy them from you and if you sell them over on eBay, you’ll be getting a whole lot less for what you have purchased for it. Thus, from a value standpoint, you will have to purchase the lab-made diamond at a whopping discount to justify giving up the value retention of natural diamonds.
COMPARING LAB GROWN DIAMONDS
In this section, we will be comparing the three major players of lab-grown diamonds on the Internet: Diamond Foundry, MiaDonna, and Brilliant Earth. We used Blue Nile as our baseline as they are currently the biggest, most trustworthy, online retailer today.
If you want to fast-forward the results of the comparison, here is what it looks like. We compared a GIA certified diamond from Blue Nile from another IGI certified diamond from Brilliant Earth. In our IGI article, we showed how these companies are highly “generous”, so we tweaked the grades accordingly.
Brilliant Earth offered a 0.70 I VS1 IGI certified round diamond for $1,870. Blue Nile, on the other hand, had a 0.70 J VS2 GIA certified round diamond for $1,499. You might want to personally check both diamonds to see their quality for yourself.
Now for virtually the same diamonds, the grown lab choice was actually 25% more expensive than the natural one. This chart reveals the average pricing for the three largest lab-grown diamond vendors compared to Blue Nile.
Blue Nile – Baseline
Diamond Foundry – 22%
MiaDonna – 16%
Brilliant Earth – 15%
Yup, the claims that lab-made diamonds are 30-40% cheaper are pretty outlandish. As a matter of fact, the opposite is the one that is actually true – natural diamonds are in fact 20% cheaper than synthetic ones.
And if you put into consideration that there is no resale/investment value in your purchase, it appears that lab-grown diamonds provide mediocre value at best.
But there are other reasons – albeit impractical- why people opt for lab-grown diamonds, but it is important to remember that lab-created diamonds currently provide no value-based advantages.
Diamond Foundry Review
Diamond foundry has been attracting a lot of attention and gossip these days. The company is a Santa Clara-based startup that broke the headlines because of their claim of an invention that gives them the ability to produce more diamonds at a rapid phase.
But the hype surrounding the company, however, has more to do with its prominent backers and less with its breakthroughs. Diamond Foundry enjoys heavy support from major venture personalities with the biggest name being Leonardo DiCaprio.
The major problem with Diamond Foundry is that the company doesn’t list certified diamonds. To uncover the reasons as to why, I made a little investigation and talked to some of the guys working at Diamond Foundry and quickly realized the challenges in front of them. GIA, the gold standard in diamond grading, has declined to provide a certificate with similar accurate grading they do to natural diamonds, which I think is pretty vicious.
Diamond Foundry, who appears to acknowledge with our judgment of less stringent labs like IGI, doesn’t entertain the idea of blemishing their brand by going down to that level. That leaves them in a difficult spot. Until they come up with a solution to the dilemma, they have opted to self-grade the diamonds while providing the alternative of having the diamond certified by GIA (who will give a grade with more vague color/clarity gradings).
But as it stands, as long as they fix the problem, it would be extremely challenging to guarantee the real value of their diamonds. To accomplish the objectives of this article, I have been generous and considered that the company follows identical standards all other lab-created offers follow: IGI.
When comparing to GIA certified diamonds, 1 grade will be subtracted for each color and clarity (this is charitable as well, as you will agree after you go through our study of IGI and other labs). When the time comes that Diamond Foundry has come up with a permanent solution to the problem, the comparison will be adjusted accordingly.
Here are three diamonds Diamond Foundry has listed:
2.30ct G SI1 VG cut round diamond for $22,816
1.30 H VVS2 Ex cut round diamond for $6,845
1.01 I VS2 Ex cut round diamond $4,235
Here are some comparable diamonds from Blue Nile:
2.30ct H SI2 Ex cut round diamond for $16,251
1.30ct I VS1 Ex cut round diamond for $6,401
1.01 J SI1 Ex cut round diamond for $3,711
It appears that you will actually be spending a lot more dollars for a synthetic diamond as opposed to their advertising claims of 30-40% savings. And before you make any reasonable protests, declaring me as being unfair because they are not using legitimate certification, even if we assume that their grades are accurate, they still don’t cost less. Here are three more diamonds:
2.30ct G SI1 Ex cut round diamond for $22,211
1.30ct I IF Ex cut round diamond for $6,692
1.01 I VS2 Ex cut round diamond for $4,779
The majority of the time, the natural diamond was the far better option in terms of price and quality. Also, put into consideration that GIA certificates for stones of this size cost over $100.
MiaDonna & Company Review
MiaDonna has been in the diamond business for a few years now. Lately, they have made a partnership with Pure Grown Diamonds (formerly Genesis diamonds) to integrate lab-grown diamonds into their jewelry products. Probably the oldest company when it comes to synthetic diamonds, Pure Grown Diamonds first started business as Genesis inc in 1996.
MiaDonna is your everyday, average online retailer. We haven’t made some inquiry with our readers on the company so we don’t possess much experience about them. So I’m just going to shift my attention to their offers.
Here are two diamond offers from MiaDonna:
1.02 H SI1 IGI certified round diamond for $4,928
1.66 H VS1 IGI certified round diamond for $10,574
Here are some comparable diamonds from Blue Nile:
1.02 I SI2 GIA certified round diamond for $3,818
1.62 I VS1 GIA certified round diamond for $10,302
Brilliant Earth Review
Compared to the two companies mentioned in this review, Brilliant Earth doesn’t operate purely in lab-made diamonds. For this reason, we wrote a complete review of Brilliant earth. Well just head directly to the diamond comparison.
Here are some offers from Brilliant Earth:
0.70 I VS1 IGI certified round diamond for $1,870
1.01 I VS1 IGI certified round diamond for $4,100
Here are some comparisons from Blue Nile:
0.70 J VS2 GIA certified round diamond for $1,499
1.02 J VS2 GIA certified round diamond for $3,888
By no means are we suggesting that you should believe De Beers marketing slogan. There is no reason to force yourself into purchasing a diamond.
However, if someone is telling you that lab-grown diamonds are cheaper, that person is downright lying (they are merely utilizing inferior certificates to create exaggerated quality claims; the oldest trick in selling). If you are considering purchasing a diamond that will give you the most value for every dollar that you spend, natural diamonds are by far the better options than man-made diamonds.