Since the late 1800s, scientists from all over the world have been attempting to reproduce diamonds in laboratories. It wasn’t possible until 1955 that General Electrics found a way to produce the first diamond. However, those diamonds were small with poor quality. It wasn’t until only a few years ago that technology reached a point capable of producing larger diamonds that had the high quality of a gem.
A mined diamond is created through the same method using heat and pressure as a lab grown diamond. Nature just happens to do it naturally over a much longer period of time.
Both mined and Lab grown diamonds are real, sharing the exact same chemical composition, molecular structure, and physical and optical properties - something that cannot be said for any form of diamond simulant or imitation. Diamonds are solid forms of pure carbon. Solid carbon can occur in different forms depending on their type of chemical bond. These are known as allotropes. Diamonds are allotropic where the atoms are arranged in a crystalline form. They are the only gems made up of a single element; typically about 99.95% carbon. The other 0.05% may include trace elements, atoms that are not integral to nor a part of the essential chemistry of a diamond. These trace elements (e.g. boron, nitrogen) as well as other natural occurrences such as radiation exposure, can influence the shape or colour of a diamond. This applies to both mined and Lab grown diamonds.
In our opinion, this is the debate that results in the most fundamental and valuable difference between Lab grown and mined diamonds - Ethical versus Unethical. It is the reason why we stay away from mined diamonds and purely focus on the lab grown ones.
Unfortunately, it is well known the harm the diamond mining industry has on people as well as the environment. Countless lives are lost in the process of extracting a conflict diamond out of the ground. This affects both the people mining and also their children, families, and the wider community. Whether tainted by conflict or not, for any mined stone to come up and reach the surface, an unbelievable amount of earth must be moved. Want a rough idea of that amount? How do 250 tonnes of dirt/ore per 1 carat of gem-quality diamond sound? There are literally mountains moved for a single small stone.
The ghastly process of blowing up all this earth and so much dirt/ore being displaced, also means a reckless and huge amount of carbon emission being released. It means irresponsible pollution to the atmosphere and our fragile ecosystems (lakes, aquamarine life, air pollution, etc). And it means unforgivable contamination of drinking water sources in some of the most vulnerable places on earth. So when it comes to the debate of Ethical versus Unethical, we take our stand very seriously.
From Rough to Retail, there is no difference between lab grown diamonds and mined ones! Rough to Retail is how we refer to the life of a diamond from the time a mined diamond has been unearthed OR a Lab grown diamond has been produced (as a rough stone) up until the moment it hits the market and is sold to the end consumer. This process and all costs involved are exactly the same. Rough diamonds of either origin (Lab grown or mined) are Sorted, Cut, Polished, Graded and attain Certification in exactly the same way.
It is worth noting, however, that on average, man-made diamonds are produced in a more ideal/excellent manner than mined diamonds regarding their cut grade. This is because mined diamonds are usually shaped/cut to maximise their weight as much as possible. On the other hand, since a grown diamond already naturally grows in a more ideal shape for cutting down into a gem, it will be cut with the sole intention of producing the most ideal cut and on average, will result in stones of a superior cut grade.