Since the late 1800s, scientists from all over the world attempted to reproduce diamonds in laboratories. It wasn’t until 1955 that General Electrics was able to produce the first diamond. The diamonds produced however, were too small and not of gem quality. It wasn’t until only a few years ago that technology reached a point capable of producing larger diamonds that were gem quality.

A mined diamond is created by the same method of heat and pressure as a lab grown diamond. Nature just happens to do it over a much longer period of time.

Both mined and Lab grown diamonds are real and they share the exact same chemical composition, molecular structure, physical and optical properties - a statement which simply cannot be said for any form of diamond simulant or imitation. Diamond is a solid form of pure carbon. Solid carbon can occur in different forms (known as allotropes) depending on their type of chemical bond. An allotropic, solid form of pure carbon with its atoms arranged in a crystalline form, diamonds are the only gem made up of a single element; typically about 99.95% carbon. This applies to diamonds both mined and Lab grown.

(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 have an influence on the shape or colour of a diamond).

Here’s the most jaw-dropping difference, Lab grown diamonds cost about 70% less than mined diamonds. This becomes a significant saving to end consumer. For example, if a mined diamond of equal characteristics was to cost $10,000, in man made will cost around $3,000.
A valuable difference worth remembering. While a Lab grown diamond can always be traced back to the Lab it was created in, the harsh reality of a mined diamond is quite the contrary. For all the times you might hear a diamond company drop such reassuring terms as “clean origin” or “conflict free”, the true origins of a mined diamond can never really be claimed to be known with any degree of certainty. Truth be told, these words are nothing more than savvy marketing terms, as an earth-mined diamond (from the time it’s mined to its final sale) is estimated to have changed hands about 30-40 times.
Both lab grown and mined diamonds are graded using the exact same grading system. This is commonly known as the 4Cs - Colour, Clarity, Cut and Carat. This grading system was first created by Robert M. Shipley, founder of the Gemmological Institute of America or GIA. This is now the universal grading system used in all diamond grading, whether lab created or mined from the ground.
When it comes to certification, there is no difference. Both types of diamond can be graded and certified by any laboratory. The certificate of a lab created diamond will contain an indication on it such as “Laboratory grown”, “Laboratory created” or similar, to differentiate.
The most fundamentally valuable difference of all. While lab grown diamonds are clearly the ethical choice, mined diamonds are an almost blatantly unethical choice. It’s all very well known by now; the harm caused to humans and countless lives lost in the process of extracting a conflict diamond out of the ground. But in addition to the potential of unjustifiable peril to human life, innocent children, their families and communities… there is a whole other cost to factor in when it comes to earth mined diamonds and their ethics (or lack thereof).
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 does 250 tonnes of dirt/ore per 1 carat of gem quality diamond sound? Yep, literally mountains are moved for a single small stone.
The ghastly process of blowing up all this earth and so much dirt/ore being displaced means a reckless carbon emissions toll on our delicate planet. It means irresponsible pollution to the atmosphere and our fragile ecosystems (lakes, aquamarine life, air pollution etc). And it means unforgivable contamination to drinking water sources in some of the most vulnerable places on earth.
There is no difference! 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 actually produced in a more ideal/excellent manner than mined diamonds in regard to their cut grade. This is due to the fact that mined diamonds are usually shaped/cut to maximize 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.