To wear or not to wear zirconia
Penelope Cruz wearing Atelier Swarovski
There is a new trend in jewellery; laboratory-grown diamonds. Artificial diamonds are becoming more and more popular and, according to experts, the sales of lab-grown diamonds could surpass the mined diamonds’ by 2030, mainly because their affordable price that makes jewellery more accessible.
What is a diamond?
A diamond is a cluster of carbon that has been under immense pressure and temperature deep in the Earth for millions of years before reaching its crystal form. It is the strongest mineral on earth and the most concentrated form of carbon, the traces of Nitrogen and Hydrogen in a diamond give the gemstone more yellow-ish or bluish hues.
What is a lab-grown diamond?
Technology has been capable for a few years now, to reproduce in a laboratory the intense pressure and heat necessary to transform graphite into diamonds that are chemically and aesthetically identical to the natural stone.
Are synthetic diamonds more ethical?
Today most of the diamonds are blood-free certified but we know diamond mining involved many tragic stories in the past, including chemical spillage, slave work and financing of wars. The lab-grown stones are in this sense, more ethical and attract younger and environmental-conscious jewellery lovers. On the other hand, small mines risk having to shut down and many miners in poor developing countries will go out of work.
Real or lab diamonds, do you know why the name cocktail ring? Click on the video!
Can you tell the difference between zirconia and mined diamonds?
The main difference to the naked eye is that the man-made zirconia is too perfect, with absolutely no incrustations, too white, too sparkling. Like in all hand-made things, the beauty of natural diamonds lies precisely in their imperfection.
How much cost man-made diamonds?
Created-Diamonds cost around $800 per carat whereas a mined-diamond will sell for about $ 8.000 per carat, a huge difference! Besides the price, there are other reasons why some people prefer mined diamonds and others, zirconia; read here all the pros and cons of each stone.
High jewellery and lab-grown diamonds
It is very unlikely that high-end jewellers will ever use synthetic gemstones in their luxurious creations. Engagement rings, for example, will always be with natural diamonds, because, as we all know, a “diamond is forever.” Lab-grown diamonds are perfect for costume jewellery like the Austrian Swarovski who’s been working with crystal and created-diamonds for affordable fashion-forward jewellery for the Millennials. The forward-thinking British jeweller Stephen Webster, for example, has designed a new fine jewellery line for Atelier Swarovski, using Swarovski’s created diamonds and 14k recycled gold, for the conscious-minded clients, in parallel with his high-end jewellery namesake line.
While laboratory diamonds can be grown in a matter of hours and are hence much more affordable, mined diamonds are like time-capsules; they hold within them the history of millions of years, which is almost unbelievable and rather exciting when you think about it. They also have a special aura of rarity and luxury that a created diamond doesn’t. This is why we do not think that one will exclude the other, there’s is space for both types of diamonds in the jewellery world, as long as you don’t buy a pig in a poke!
Have a look at the Swarovski collection designed in collaboration with Spanish actress Penélope Cruz.
Photos courtesy of Swarovski