Mined diamonds vs Lab grown diamonds

Diamond engagement ring

Let’s talk about lab grown diamonds. Chemically identical to diamonds mined from underground, in recent years the production of lab grown diamonds has increased dramatically. Only a few differences in the atomic structure remain between the two types of diamond, which can only be discovered using highly specialised technology.

There are four main points, which advocates of both types of diamonds might use to persuade you to favour one over the other. They are ‘romance’, ‘worker ethics’, ‘the environment’ and ‘price’, so let’s unpack these… 

Romance of diamonds

Rough diamondsSuppliers of mined diamonds will sometimes talk about lab grown diamonds not being ‘real’. They are real, they have just been created by humans and not by nature, yet the romance of a gemstone being formed under the earth’s crust for millions of years is a compelling one. However, if just like the way diamonds look, then lab grown diamonds offer you another great choice at a more affordable price.

Worker Ethics of diamond miners

Historically, the global diamond mining industry has had an extremely corrupt and bloody past. Ethical transparency and worker rights have come a long way since the film ‘Blood Diamond’ released in 2007, which sends shivers down your spine. Yet the industry still has a long way to go, which is why suppliers of lab grown diamonds often talk about them being the ethical choice. I agree that in some ways it is. There is also another option though, and that is ethically sourced (or fairmined) diamonds. There aren’t many suppliers but they do exist, which is why I use Canadian diamonds where tracking is reliable. This has become especially important in recent weeks in order to avoid purchasing diamonds mined in Russia, where profits from the sale of diamonds could be funding the war in Ukraine. It’s a complex topic, which I will be revisiting in future blogs.

The Environment and diamonds

Lab grown diamonds are sometimes referred to as 'eco diamonds', which in my opinion is a non-specific marketing term. If 'eco' means it hasn't been mined and therefore the landscape remains untouched, then you could call lab grown diamonds 'eco'. However, during the production of lab grown diamonds, vast amounts of electricity are needed to generate the high temperature and pressure for the diamond crystal to grow. 

Price of mined and lab grown diamonds


DiamondsLab grown diamonds are A LOT cheaper, unless you're buying tiny accent diamonds. If you're choosing a diamond for a solitaire engagement ring, then the diamond could be a quarter or less of the price of a similar mined diamond. Mined diamonds are going up in price, whereas lab grown diamonds are going down, so the difference is only going to get bigger. Personally, I love working with lab grown diamonds. Most people have a rough budget in mind when they commission a piece of bespoke jewellery and by incorporating lab grown diamonds instead of mined diamonds, more of the budget can be spent on an exciting creative design that is unique to you.

If you would like to commission your own piece of diamond jewellery and discuss what diamonds might be best for you, then get in touch with Ruth here.

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