Real Diamonds vs. Lab Diamonds

Real Diamonds vs. Lab Diamonds

Since lab-grown diamonds started to show up in the gem and engagement ring market around five years ago, their popularity has increased exponentially. More eco-friendly and less expensive, but just as brilliant as their natural counterparts. They have quickly become the go-to choice for many couples getting engaged and a growing number of well-known brands are now offering lab-created diamond options. You may be wondering, what is the catch? What’s the difference between lab diamonds and real diamonds? Whether you are looking to buy diamond jewelry or trying to get cash for diamonds you already own, these are important questions to ask. Here’s our in-depth comparison of lab diamonds vs. real diamonds.

An Introduction to Natural Diamonds

Natural diamonds are faceted crystalized carbon harvested from underground at mining sites. They are created by extreme pressure, high temperatures, and other natural forces deep within the ground. Volcanic activity is usually what brings diamonds closer to the surface where they sit on a volcanic rock formation known as kimberlite pipes. Only a few kimberlite pipes have enough diamond material to be worth mining. Diamonds that have traveled close enough to the surface to be mined are millions or billions of years old. Their scarcity is what drives the high prices of natural diamonds.

While natural diamonds are essentially made up of pure carbon, the majority of rocks also contain trace amounts of other substances. Most diamonds are colorless gems, also called white diamonds. However, certain characteristics in the rock can lead to diamonds in different shades. For example, yellow diamonds and brown are typically caused due to nitrogen molecules, while blue diamonds are caused due to boron molecules.1 Green diamonds are caused by radiation and pink diamonds are a result of a distortion in the diamond’s crystal lattice.

What’s the Difference Between Lab Diamonds and Real Diamonds?

Now comes the part where we compare lab diamonds to real diamonds. First things first, lab-created diamonds are real diamonds. The molecular makeup of lab-created diamonds is the same as real diamonds. Both are faceted crystalized carbon. Sometimes referred to as man-made or synthetic diamonds, lab diamonds are also crystal clear and give off a kaleidoscope of colors in direct light like natural diamonds. Identical in appearance to natural diamonds, lab diamonds do have subtle differences that can only be detected by trained gemologists using sophisticated equipment.

The main difference between lab diamonds and real diamonds is that lab diamonds are formed in a laboratory using man-made methods, while natural diamonds are formed by natural forces deep within the earth. There are two main methods used to create laboratory-grown diamonds: high-pressure, high-temperature (HPHT) and chemical vapor deposition (CVD).2

Another main difference between lab diamonds and real diamonds is that lab diamonds have no resale value. That is why GoldFellow only accepts mined diamonds. As respected mail-in gold buyers, our team at GoldFellow not only buys gold, but also silver and real diamonds for cash.

There are many reasons to sell your diamond ring or other diamond pieces. If you want to earn some cash, sell your diamond to our highly rated and trusted team of online diamond buyers in the U.S. Contact us at GoldFellow to learn more about our services. Trust us to give you the best price!


  1. Gemological Institute of America Inc. - Fancy Color Diamond Quality Factors

  2. Dr. James E. Shigley, Gemological Institute of America Inc. - HPHT and CVD Diamond Growth Processes: Making Lab-Grown Diamonds

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