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Can You Tell the Difference Between Lab Created Diamonds and Mined Diamonds?


diamond engagement ring on finger

Diamonds have always been used to showcase class and taste.

For centuries, these timeless gems have found their way into diamond rings, necklaces, bracelets and many other items of fine jewellery.

Diamonds have always been in high demand, and their scarce supply has meant that these gems were affordable only for some who desired them. But did you know that modern diamond technology has brought diamonds within reach for more people?

No, we’re not talking about fake diamonds. We are talking about lab diamonds created by expert diamond scientists.

These human-made diamonds share the same properties as mined diamonds and are identical in appearance. But some people still say that “they are not the same.” To that, our answer is maybe... or maybe not

In this edition of the Ottawa Diamonds Blog, we'll take a look at lab diamonds versus mined diamonds - the differences, the similarities, and the demand for each.

Diamonds Made in a Similar Way

lab engineered diamond

Mined diamonds form in a natural process deeply within the earth.

The high temperatures and pressures form a diamond over time - a really long time (millions of years). However, mined diamonds are scarce as they can only be mined after being erupted to the surface by volcanoes.

For the longest time, we didn’t have the knowledge and technology to simulate this process artificially. Now, we do.

Man-made diamonds are referred to as Lab Diamonds or Engineered Diamonds.

There are two ways that lab diamonds can be created.

With HPHT diamonds (high pressure, high temperature), the process is similar, and it involves extreme conditions simulated in the laboratory.

On the other hand, the process behind CVD diamonds (chemical vapour deposition) includes using methane and breaking down its molecules to get the hydrogen and carbon atoms. They are then deposited on seeds to create square-like crystals.

Both of these approaches require less than 30 days to make a diamond.

Lab & Mined Diamonds Have The Same Structure

carbon element on periodic table

Natural diamonds and lab-grown diamonds have the same chemical and physical characteristics.

Simply put, they both have the same element within them - carbon.

Even though they have a completely different process of how they are created, they are almost identical.

This means that they have identical toughness and durability.

For the human eye to tell the difference between lab diamonds and mined diamonds takes a trained diamond expert or professional testing. At Vero Diamonds in Ottawa, we have invested in technology to test diamonds as an initial screening process. We are also in the process of professional training to examine the diamond further with our eyes. That's how we know whether you have a lab diamond or mined diamond.

The different approach to how the diamonds are created also impacts the morphology of the diamonds.

But overall, once the diamonds are shaped and refined, there are no real differences between them.

Yet some people prefer the story and history behind mined diamonds. If you are among this group, we want to help you with assurance that the diamond you are buying or appraising is, indeed, a mined diamond.

Many other diamond aficionados are happy with lab diamonds - and we can certainly help you obtain a lovely lab diamond that will be a timeless piece on an engagement ring, wedding or other item of fine jewellery.

These Gems Appear Identical

gemologist examines lab diamond

Once a lab diamond has been refined, it looks ultimately the same as the natural diamond.

When used for engagement rings or any other jewellery, these diamond rings aren’t different from natural ones.

Want to try it out?

Ask us to give you two diamonds, one of which is natural and the other made in the lab. You won’t be able to tell the difference. 

Decision: Lab Diamonds vs. Mined Diamonds

In the end, bear in mind that lab-made diamonds can be 30% to 50% cheaper than natural ones. 

Lab diamonds are sustainable and ethical. 

Many of our clients appreciate lab diamonds, while others prefer mined diamonds as these come with a story and a history. 

We invite you to come to Vero Diamonds in Ottawa and see the difference for yourself.

Should you have any more questions about lab-created diamonds, please do not hesitate to contact us. We're always happy to help people interested in diamonds in Ottawa, along with other gems and items of fine jewellery.