It's Not Hard To Tell Lab Grown From Natural Diamonds in 2022.

Updated: Jun 14

image of a Yehuda "Sherlock Holmes v3" lab grown diamond tester showing natural diamonds in blue and lab grown diamonds in red
With the right tester it's easy to see the lab grown diamonds in red and natural diamonds in blue.

If you are wondering how to tell lab grown diamonds from natural diamonds, you are not alone. This is an important subject because man-made, lab grown diamonds are currently selling for 70 to 80% less than comparable genuine, natural diamonds.

In this article we bring you the latest information regarding various types of diamonds. As trusted, locally owned and operated diamond experts serving Boise, Meridian, Nampa and other nearby localities in Idaho, Lee Read Diamonds wants to share our opinion as to what we see happening in the diamond market so you can make an informed decision when purchasing her diamond engagement ring.

Why it's so important to be able to tell grown diamonds from natural.

How to tell if a diamond is real or manufactured.

What synthetic diamonds look like on a diamond tester.

Do lab-grown diamonds work on a diamond tester?

The future lab grown diamonds, natural diamonds and diamond testing.

Before we start, it's important to understand some of the terminology used to describe different kinds of diamonds. A Google search for "lab grown diamonds wiki" in May of 2022 produced the following result.

"Synthetic diamond (also called laboratory-grown, laboratory-created, man-made, artisan created, or cultured diamond) is a diamond that is produced in a controlled technological process (in contrast to naturally formed diamond, which is created through geological processes and obtained by mining). Unlike diamond stimulants, (imitations of diamond, made of superficially-similar non-diamond materials), synthetic diamonds are composed of the same material as naturally formed diamonds – pure carbon crystallized in an isotropic 3D form – and share identical chemical and physical properties."

Why it's so important to be able to tell grown diamonds from natural.

Humans have been fascinated by diamonds for thousands of years. They are unique and beautiful in their natural, uncut form, the hardest natural substance on Earth and they are very rare. This is why diamonds are so highly valued around the world.

Because of their combination of unique traits, both raw diamond crystals and faceted diamonds have become a symbol of love between men and women. Women appreciate the fact that a man giving her a diamond is making a significant sacrifice, giving her something so rare and of such great value. The fact that diamonds are expensive is evidence of his personal sacrifice and represents his commitment to a life together.

The perceived value of synthetic diamonds in jewelry is a different story. Lab Grown diamonds are the same chemically, physically and optically but have little to no romantic or emotional symbolism. No one physically needs a diamond to survive, whether or not they are natural or manufactured. You can't eat them, they don't make you smarter and there are many other stones that sparkle and are just as beautiful as diamonds. So why are genuine diamonds so desirable?

Only natural diamonds are rare, billion year old miracles of Nature. That's why they're a symbol of the lasting commitment between two people. The value of diamonds is that they represent true love and they are "the real thing".

Man-made diamonds may be created of the same carbon but are like a copy of an expensive work of art. They look the same and are made of the same materials but the artist and process is different. They are an excellent copy, but a copy is worth a fraction of the price of the original.

The Pros Know: In the Spring of 2022, anyone can purchase a very nice quality, 1 carat cultured diamond from, for about $800. A similar quality natural diamond would sell for around $4,000 depending on where you purchased it. That's about 80% less than comparable genuine diamonds. If you want to know more about why this is so, please click here.

The fact that lab diamonds sell for a fraction of the price of natural is the reason it is so important to be able to tell them apart.

How to tell if a diamond is real or manufactured.

Both have the same chemical, physical and optical properties. Nature grew her diamonds in molten magma over billions of years and man-made diamonds only take 2 to 4 weeks to produce in a machine using electricity. The result may be the same but the process is very different. Because of this difference the uncut diamond crystal grows differently.

photo showing the difference between lab grown diamond crystals and natrual diamond crystals
A CVD "lab grown" diamond crystal, right. HPHT lab grown crystal, center and a natural diamond crystal, left. Photo Credit: GIA

Natural diamonds form in an 8 sided carbon crystal, known as an octahedral. This is due to the millions of years it takes to form in the extreme conditions below the surface of the Earth.

Lab diamonds are made in a matter of weeks and form in either 6 sided crystals or square shapes depending on the equipment used to make them.

This and other small differences in the crystalline structure, are the DNA of diamonds and is all that is needed to determine if a diamond is natural or lab grown.

What synthetic diamonds look like on a diamond tester.

At Lee Read, we use The Yehuda V3 Sherlock Holmes lab grown diamond tester. In fact, we own 3 of these machines. We use them everyday at Lee Read Diamonds to test each item we receive from a supplier and at The Ring Doctors to check our Guest's jewelry for lab grown diamonds, before and after it's repaired.

Here's an actual example of a test we conducted on a diamond necklace that was purchased online. The Certificate of Authenticity stated it had "diamonds" and the owner wanted to verify if their diamonds were real.

A photo a Yehuda v3 lab grown diamond tester.
Diamonds on a Yehuda v3 Sherlock Holmes lab grwon diamond tester. The blue stones are natural the red are lab grown.

It is easy to see that the stones in shades of blue are natural diamonds and the stones highlighted in red are lab grown. This test took about 30 seconds to perform.

The Pros know: Why would a jewelry manufacturing company mix expensive natural diamonds with cultured diamonds that cost up to 80% less? Because there is a lot of money to be made substituting cheap synthetic diamonds and selling them as the more expensive natural diamonds.

It's very possible the company that made this graduated diamond necklace paid for all natural diamonds and was sold a mix of real and synthetic diamonds. If so, their supplier of loose diamonds would have made a big, illegal profit. <