Natural Diamonds were brought to the surface 100 million years ago in molten magma by volcanic eruptions and offer many advantages you cannot get from other gems, not even from lab-grown diamonds.
Lab-grown (synthetic) diamonds may have the same molecular makeup and look precisely like natural diamonds (they can even look pristine and flawless, just like natural diamonds), but the similarities end there. In this article, we’ll discuss not only the emotional and economic advantages of natural diamonds. We’ll also reveal how lab-grown diamonds are made and how natural diamonds are better for both the environment and the people that produce them.
Natural Diamond Mining Supports Local Economies Natural Diamonds Are More “Earth Friendly” than Lab-Grown Diamonds
Natural Diamonds Have Undeniable Value
Consumers attach a high value to natural diamonds because of their rarity, beauty, emotional symbolism, and significance. Although other stones like rubies and sapphires are also very durable, don’t scratch or break easily, and passed through extreme heat and pressure many miles deep into the Earth, only diamonds take between one and 3.3 billion years to form. Interestingly, all-natural diamonds in the market today are one-fourth to three-fourths the age of the planet. Their age, rarity, and extreme hardness combined with exceptional clarity explain their high value and expensive price tags.
Did You Know? Have you ever wondered why natural diamonds cost so much more than man-made diamonds? It’s because people like you, set the value of purchasing and giving both natural and lab-grown diamonds. Consumers, not manufacturers, set the prices for both. Natural diamonds are rare and in high demand, lab-grown diamonds are relatively common and are man-made copies of the real thing selling for about 80% less. The buying public sets the price of both.
According to online experts, the primary benefit of lab diamonds over natural diamonds is their “affordability”. In 2022 lab-grown diamonds are available to the public, online from top-quality manufacturers, for up to 70% less than a comparable quality natural diamond. Do consumers see lab-grown diamonds as more affordable or just cheap copies? Check out lightboxjewlery.com for the best quality lab-grown diamonds, at the lowest prices we have found. Low price is a once-off perk that doesn’t offer much value in the long run because man-made diamonds have very little emotional or real value even when they are new.
Natural Diamonds Offer Resale Value
A natural diamond is one of the most unique purchases you will ever make and here's why. Let’s compare them to luxury cars or trucks.
Both are expensive but natural diamonds are much more affordable than most luxury cars. Both lose a significant amount of their ‘cash resale value when you purchase them. That's true with almost all products we buy. Diamonds and luxury cars and trucks are not stocks and bonds. We buy vehicles and diamonds to look good and enjoy the warm feelings they provide.
Cars and trucks continue to be worth less and less every year as they get older. They are only new for 1 year and then there is a new model, something better on the market. Plus, even though we spend money to maintain and drive them, they still wear out.
Natural diamonds do not go out of style. Worldwide they are more popular today than ever before. And, they are recognized as an international symbol of love and commitment.
Natural diamonds are one of the only things you will ever purchase that don’t wear out with use. In rare instances they can be damaged but even when worn 24/7/365 for years, they don’t scratch, fade, or need maintenance. Incredibly, 95% of all diamonds will look just as good in 50 or 100 years as they do the day they were purchased. That is one reason people say, “Diamonds are forever”.
This is also why diamonds are one of the few items we ever purchase that are passed down from generation to generation.
The fact they don’t wear out means they go up in value as the price for natural diamonds increases over time because they are essentially still as good as new. Historically, natural diamonds increase in price because they are rare, there is a limited supply and people want to purchase, give and wear them as an expression of their deepest feeling and emotions.
While both depreciate initially, in 10 to 15 years the luxury car is only worth pennies on the dollar of what you paid. Natural diamonds on the other hand historically will have increased in value, look as good as new and may be worth more than you originally paid years ago.
Natural Diamonds As An Investment
If you're looking to purchase an investment that you can sell again, buy stocks and bonds or real estate. If you are looking to purchase a natural, beautiful, rare, work of art, that symbolizes your deepest feeling for another person, buy a natural diamond. They are both called investments but they don’t do the same thing. Stocks and bonds are an investment to conserve or make money. Natural diamonds are an investment in telling another person how much you love and care about them. Jewelry with natural diamonds has some of the highest resale values among all precious gems. In contrast, lab-grown diamonds have very little resale value. Lab-grown diamonds offer little to zero resale value because there is an endless supply and they have no emotional meaning.
Thanks to technological advancements, manufacturing equipment, and processes are getting cheaper for lab-grown diamonds. Existing manufacturers can now make more of these stones, and more labs are taking advantage of the new developments and starting to manufacture their own brands of synthetic diamonds. Following the law of supply and demand, lab-grown diamonds will cost even less as they flood the market. Meanwhile, natural diamonds retain their value and will continue to command a higher resale value than lab-grown varieties and most other precious gems.
Why Large Natural Diamonds Are So Desirable And Why Large Lab-Grown Diamonds Are Not
Online sellers and jewelers make a big deal about how they price natural diamonds according to the 4 Cs: cut, color, clarity, and carat weight. That is because higher-quality natural diamonds are rarer than lower-quality natural diamonds. Most people don’t realize that only about 20% of all natural diamonds are good enough to be worn in jewelry. The vast majority are used in industrial applications.
The Pros Know: If you are like most people you know ten times more about buying a car or truck than a diamond. Internet advisors tell you all you need to do is use the 4 C’s to get the best deal. They make it sound easy, it can’t be that hard if there are only 4 things to consider, can it? The fact is the diamond industry does use the 4 C’s as a rough, complex guide to the value of diamonds. But it can take years of study to become a certified gemologist and a smart diamond buyer capable of properly using the 4C's.
Buying a diamond using only the 4 C’s listed on a grading certificate is like buying a vehicle from the internet using only the Carfax report. Some people do it but most want to personally experience and verify what they are being told. A report may help you know more about the car or truck but you need to see it, feel it, and experience it before you know it is the right choice for you. The same is true about selecting the perfect diamond for her engagement ring. Many people are surprised to learn the 4 C’s are not even facts, they are opinions. Read any Gemological Institute of America (GIA) grading report and it will tell you, these reports are only professional opinions about what the grader thinks the quality is. It is not uncommon for two trained diamond graders to give the same diamond different grades and these are highly trained professionals. Regarding the cost of a diamond, the rule of thumb is that the bigger it is (the carat number or how much it weighs), the more expensive the diamond is. The higher the clarity (the clearer it is), the more expensive the diamond, and the higher the color (actually less color), the diamond is the more expensive the diamond. When these things are all high, it is one of the rarest diamonds on Earth. The simple version is the bigger, higher quality, and more brilliant the diamond is, the higher its retail price, because these are the rarest of the rare. The same is true for lab-grown diamonds only the retail prices start about 75 to 80% lower. Most companies selling or advising you to purchase lab-grown diamonds promote the fact you can give her a much larger, more impressive, lab-grown diamond, that looks the same, and you will still save money over a natural diamond. What they don’t say is bigger is only better, only if both are genuine diamonds. When asked, most women prefer to receive a smaller natural diamond than a large man-made, lab-grown diamond, even though they cost the same. They want a genuine symbol of your commitment, something that tells them your love is real. The size of the diamond is not nearly as important as the fact it is rare, precious, natural, and the real thing.
Did You Know? The magic of natural diamonds is even if you can only afford a smaller, high-quality natural diamond, it's still a rare, billion-year-old miracle of Nature and has all the same emotional symbolism as the large diamonds worn by millionaires/billionaires. The very fact that you invested your time and money and purchased her as large and as beautiful a natural diamond as you can afford is what makes it mean so much to her. Lab-grown diamonds definitely give you more flash of the cash or bling for the buck. That impresses her friends and family only as long as they think it is a big natural diamond. Once they find out you gave her a man-made copy, of a big natural diamond, their opinions of it, and possibly you quickly change.
Natural Diamond Mining Supports Local Economies
Mining of natural diamonds has positive impacts on other economic sectors in poor countries all over the world. In addition to generating jobs for local workers, the natural diamond industry also generates billions of dollars worth of benefits to local communities as they help pay for local goods and services to sustain their operations. In 2019, the Diamond Producers Association (whose members produce 75 percent of the world’s natural diamonds) generated $16 billion in net socioeconomic benefits to indigenous people and residents near mining sites. Many workers get regular wages, healthcare, and other employment benefits. In addition, many suppliers are now focusing on sustainably mined natural diamonds for jewelers at are as concerned about people and the environment as their customers. Lee Read Diamonds sells only responsibly sourced natural diamonds. This means we purchase only from companies that provide written assurance their diamonds are produced in accordance with the United Nation Kimberly process. While not perfect, the Kimberly process was developed in 2003 by the UN and legitimate diamond producers, to protect the rights and health of workers in the diamond industry.
The Pros Know; Most consumers don’t think much about how the diamonds they are considering came to be in their hands. One of the reasons natural diamonds are expensive is that they support the livelihoods of the people involved in bringing them from the mine to your finger. In many poor countries, natural diamonds are one of their only natural resources. Producing these natural diamonds ultimately sustains the lives and families of the workers and employees of the businesses that benefit from the diamond industry. A portion of the sale of every natural diamond goes to supporting hard working people around the world.
Botswana is an example of a country that has benefited from diamond mining. Once one of the poorest nations in the world, it is now a middle-income country thanks to its thriving diamond mining industry. The country is also proof that sustainable and environmentally friendly mining is possible. Together with Canada and Namibia, Botswana maintains some of the highest environmental and ethical employment standards for earth-mined diamonds. The Diamond Producers Association is an organization that actively promotes best practices regarding the ethical, responsible, and environmentally friendly mining of natural diamonds. You can learn more about this organization here. But the economic benefits of natural diamonds are not limited to the countries that produce them. Gujarat, India, is another community that has greatly benefited from diamond mining. The local industry employs about one million people in the diamond cutting industry and that generates economic activity that not only supports local families but helps fund many schools and hospitals in the state.
Natural Diamonds Are More “Earth Friendly” than Lab-Grown Diamonds
The claim is often made by those selling lab-grown diamonds that they are good for the Earth because they are produced in laboratories, and that natural (mined) diamonds are not because they are mined from the Earth. On the surface, this sounds good. But growing diamonds in a lab is not done by mixing up the right chemicals. The only way to grow diamonds in a lab requires huge amounts of electricity because they have to try and recreate the tremendous heat and pressure Nature used to make her diamonds. Most lab-grown experts don’t mention where all this electricity comes from.
These massive, 2-story high HTHP Diamond presses require huge amounts of electricity 24/7 for weeks at a time.
The High-Pressure High-Temperature (HPHT) methodology uses gigantic hydraulic presses to generate 2,000 °F of heat and 1.5 million PSI of pressure to produce quality lab-grown diamonds. These temperatures and pressures must be maintained 24/7 for weeks or possibly a month depending on the size of the diamonds being grown.
A lab-grown diamond production facility using Chemical Vapor Deposition (industrial microwave 3D printers)to grow diamonds.
Looking a little deeper shows the carbon emissions of lab-grown diamonds are estimated to be three times higher than the carbon footprint of earth-mined diamonds. This is because growers need to generate and consume large amounts of energy to recreate the conditions in which diamonds are formed. For example, a lab that creates diamonds via the chemical vapor deposition (CVD) process has to heat a sealed chamber containing a diamond seed by up to 800 °C (or 1,470 °F) and maintain it at this temperature 24/7 for 2 to 4 weeks. There is also the problem of how to cool machinery that produces such high temperatures. Again, energy and water is required to keep the machines from melting.
The lifecycle of the majority of Lab Grown Diamonds:
Step 1 Mining Coal
Step 2 Buring the coal to produce electricity.
Step 3 Using the electricity to produce lab-grown diamonds.
Everyone is told that man-made diamonds are grown in a laboratory. Hence the name, Lab Grown Diamonds. This makes lab-grown diamonds sound very clean, scientific, and appealing. Some online sales companies and many internet advisors go as far as telling you lab-grown diamonds are more Eco or Earth-friendly because they are produced in a lab. And that there is no mining involved as with natural diamonds. The sad truth is the majority of lab-grown diamonds are produced in Asia, by mining and then burning coal to generate electricity. Strip mining for coal is common in these countries and leaves behind massive scars on the land. There are few if any efforts to reclaim the land after the coal is extracted. And there is little to no regulation of the pollution from burning coal to make electricity.
To say laboratories producing the majority of lab-grown diamonds don’t significantly harm the Earth is hiding behind a technicality.
There are companies such as lightboxjewelery.com that use clean hydro-power from dams to produce many of their diamonds. Some other companies are working on using renewables like wind and solar to reduce their carbon fuel consumption. The problem with using renewable energy to grow diamonds is they are impossible to make without using huge amounts of electricity, 24/7 for weeks at a time. Renewable sources are not good at providing constant high levels of electricity on windless days or cloudy days, so one way or the other, the majority of the electricity needed to grow lab diamonds still comes from burning fossil fuels. Natural diamonds do require fuel to operate the mining equipment but Nature furnished all the intense pressure and temperatures required to create natural diamonds millions of years ago. There are no harmful chemicals required, only water and grease is required to separate natural diamond crystals from the kimberlite rock found in extinct volcanoes. Over 80% of this water is recycled and used over and over again.
Love Is Not Logical
The next time you read comments by an online advisor regarding lab-grown and natural diamonds, pretend for a moment you are Mr. Spock. Online advisors are experts at appealing to your desire to save money by presenting lab-grown diamonds as being the logical choice. "They are the same as natural diamonds only they cost less". Any green blooded Vulcan would obviously buy and give only lab-grown diamonds. They are the hands down logical choice. But even Mr. Spock would tell you, lab-grown and natural diamonds can't be the “same” or they would sell for the same price and they don’t. This large difference in price, for the “same” thing, is not logical. So logically Natural and Lab Grown Diamonds are different in very significant ways. Humans are emotional creatures and emotions like love, are not logical. You can’t create love on demand or sell it or purchase it. Love is something that happens to people, many times when they least expect it, but it is real and arguably the strongest and best human emotion. It's a feeling that is so difficult to define that words fail us.
Cory proposing to Mariah in the foothills above Boise Idaho
No one needs a diamond, spending money for them, giving them away, and then wearing them is totally illogical, just like Love. Men and women purchase, give and wear natural diamonds because they want a symbol that expresses their feeling of love, admiration, and appreciation for another person in their life. Spending as much as you can afford on a small, shiny billion-year-old carbon crystal may be illogical to you but to the woman in your life, she will recognize it as a symbol of all the things that are hard for you to put into words. Her diamond engagement ring will be one of the most precious things you ever give her. Many men are tempted by lab-grown diamonds' low prices. It’s normal to want lower-cost versions of expensive items. However, if a low price is all you’re getting, you might experience greater satisfaction if you wait just a little longer to obtain the real deal.
Considering the many advantages of natural diamonds, you won’t regret paying more for them because you’ll also enjoy more benefits. It’s important to remember that while a natural diamond will cost significantly more today, a natural diamond is a natural diamond forever and an inexpensive lab-grown diamond is a lab-grown diamond forever. We invite you to get in touch with our team at Lee Read Diamonds and we will help you find the best natural diamond jewelry for you or someone you love. We specialize in natural diamond engagement rings, and we can also assist you in finding diamond rings, diamond wedding bands, diamonds earring and pendants, and diamond fashion jewelry for other special occasions. Contact us today.