Mined Diamonds vs Lab Grown/Created Diamonds

Man made diamonds, also known as lab grown or lab created diamonds, are grown in highly controlled laboratory environments using advanced technological processes that duplicate the conditions under which diamonds naturally develop when they form in the mantle, beneath the Earth’s crust. These man made diamonds consist of actual carbon atoms arranged in the characteristic diamond crystal structure. Since they are made of the same material as natural diamonds, they exhibit the same optical and chemical properties.

Lab grown diamonds display the same physical, chemical, and optical characteristics as natural diamonds, and exhibit the same fire, scintillation, and sparkle. Using a jewelry loupe, man made diamonds are nearly impossible to differentiate from natural diamonds. Lab created diamonds may exhibit different trace elements than natural diamonds that do not affect the appearance of the diamond. Lab grown diamonds can be distinguished from natural diamonds only with tests using specialized equipment.

Why Lab Grown Diamonds?

Mining Free - Lab created diamonds are a responsible choice given that no mining is required.

Beauty & Quality - Man made diamonds have the same physical, chemical, and optical properties as mined diamonds.

Value - Lab created diamonds offer excellent value, and are slightly more affordable than natural diamonds of comparable size and quality.

Moissanite vs Diamond

Moissanite is a diamond simulant made of silicon carbide.  Natural moissanite is incredibly rare, so moissanite available today is lab-created.  Moissanite is engineered to give the illusion of similarity to diamonds, but is compositionally and visually quite different from a real diamond. The durability, brilliance, and color of the two gems are quite distinct.

While moissanite has a very similar appearance to diamonds, they have many key differences.  Moissanite has more fire and brilliance than diamond – it isn’t as noticeable in smaller stones, but in stones over 5mm, it’s much more noticeable. Moissanite is known for its “disco ball” effect because rainbow light quickly flashes around the gem.  Moissanite also differs in weight and weighs much less than diamonds – 15% lighter, to be exact.

Why Moissanite?

Mining Free - Lab created diamonds are a responsible choice given that no mining is required.

Durability - Moissanite is a 9.25 on the Mohs Scale of Hardness, so it is suitable for everyday wear.

Value - Moissanite is less expensive per carat than many other gemstones.

Metal Types

Jewelry comes in many different types of metal and it’s important to understand the differences between each one.  While there are more metal types than listed below, these are the metal types we use in our jewelry. 

Platinum - Platinum is a naturally lustrous silvery white, and because of its beauty and hypoallergenic status is a sought after metal for jewelry.  Platinum requires very little maintenance, as it is corrosion resistant and does not tarnish. It is also less malleable than gold.  Platinum is the most expensive of the precious metals, due to stunning appearance and superior durability.

Gold - The purity of gold is categorized using the karat system. The karat system measures the ratio of pure gold to other alloys in a piece of gold jewelry. The greater the amount of pure gold in a gold ring or other piece of jewelry, the higher the purity level.  Pure gold is 24 karat, meaning that 24 out of 24 parts of the metal are gold.  Pure gold, or 24k gold, is gold that hasn’t been mixed with any other metals. 24k gold isn’t used for jewelry for several reasons:

First, it’s extremely soft. Because pure gold is so soft, it bends and warps easily, making it a poor metal for jewelry that needs to retain its shape. Pure gold also scratches easily, meaning it doesn’t take long for pure gold jewelry to become scuffed and unattractive.

Second, it’s very bright. The color of pure gold is much brighter and more orange than what most people associate with the gold used in jewelry. Because of this, it generally isn’t an attractive metal for rings, watches and other gold jewelry.

Third, it’s extremely expensive. Pure gold contains almost twice as much gold as 14k gold, the most popular type of gold used for jewelry, meaning it costs much more to produce jewelry using this metal.

18k Gold - 18 karat gold is made up of 75% gold and 25% alloy.  It is an attractive material for engagement rings and other jewelry. Since 18k gold is almost pure, there’s very little risk of jewelry made using this material causing any skin irritation if you have a nickel allergy.  However, 18k gold also has several disadvantages. First, since it’s quite pure, it’s fairly easy to scratch jewelry made using 18k gold. If you’re active or work in a setting where your ring might bump into hard surfaces, 18k gold might not be the best choice.  18k gold is also significantly more expensive than other types of gold. Compared to a 14k gold ring, which looks similar but not quite as bright or saturated, you’ll usually need to pay upwards of twice as much for an 18k ring.

14k Gold - 14 karat gold is made up of 58.3% gold and 41.7% alloy.  About 90% of all engagement and wedding rings are made from 14k gold, making this a good go-to choice if you’re not sure which type of gold is best for your purchase.  14k gold has a rich color, with the classic gold appearance that most customers look for in rings and other jewelry. Its color is slightly less saturated and intense than 18 karat gold, making it an excellent choice if you want gold jewelry that’s rich and attractive but not overly bright.  Compared to 18k gold, the main advantages of 14k gold are its durability and affordability. Rings and other jewelry made using 14k gold are significantly more durable than those made with 18k gold, making this type of gold a good choice if you’re concerned about scuffs and scratches.

Gold Vermeil - Gold Vermeil is genuine .925 sterling silver that has been expertly plated with a thick layer of 14k-24k gold.  This is called micron plating.  To be considered gold vermeil, there has to be a minimum of 2.5 micron plating.  Gold vermeil is quickly becoming a favorite of the top jewelry designers around the world.

It allows them to use premium materials (Sterling Silver and Gold) to deliver high-quality jewelry pieces that look like they might cost a small fortune but are actually fairly priced for both the consumers and the designers.

Sterling Silver - Pure silver is relatively soft and malleable, and easily damaged—not well suited for jewelry.  To defend against deformation or destruction, silver is combined with other metals to make it more durable.  Sterling silver is the most common alloy mix found in jewelry.  It must be at least 92.5% pure silver.  This slight addition of another metal gives silver strength and durability without affecting its gorgeous, white-gray appearance.  Sterling silver is the least expensive of the precious metals, making it a more affordable option for those who want high-quality, beautiful jewelry without a painful price tag.

Stainless Steel - Stainless steel contains at least 10% chromium and, depending on the grade of the stainless steel, it may include smaller percentages of nickel, molybdenum, titanium, niobium and other metals. The percentage of chromium is significant because chromium combines with oxygen to form a thin, invisible layer of chrome-containing oxide. This protective layer is what makes stainless steel "stainless." Unlike the title, stainless steel is not actually stainless, just extremely resistant to corrosion.  With its resistance to rust, oxidation and discoloration, this corrosion-resistant alloy is ideal for long-lasting jewelry designs. It's also unplated and will not fade or chip over time.  Jewelry made with these findings will endure heavy wear longer than those made with carbon steel and softer base metals.  Because many stainless steel jewelry-making supplies are unplated, they are an excellent alternative for wearers with allergies and sensitivity to base metals such as copper or brass.

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