Lab-grown diamonds, to wear or not to wear the trend, this is the question. There’s a big feud between the high jewellery house Cartier, which was bought by Richmond, and Jean Dousset, the great-great-grandson of Louis Cartier, the brand’s founder, around lab-grown and mined diamonds. To sum up, Dousset followed his ancestor’s footsteps. After working at Chaumet, Boucheron, and Van Cleef & Arpels, he launched his namesake diamond jewellery atelier and the “just say Oui” collection, offering high jewellery with lab-grown diamonds at a more affordable price. On the other hand, Cartier’s chief executive Cyrille Vigneron says that the lab-grown diamond trend does not fit the luxury jewellery house as they “lost their singularity and lost the fact that they were made by the Earth millions of years ago”.
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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 Nitrogen and Hydrogen traces in a diamond give the gemstone more yellow-ish or bluish hues.
What is a lab-grown diamond?
Technology can reproduce in a laboratory the intense pressure and heat necessary to transform graphite into diamonds. These men-made diamonds are chemically and aesthetically identical to natural ones. The lab-grown diamonds are then professionally cut and polished the same way mined gemstones are. But, as Vigneron explains, “the problem with lab-grown diamonds is that, despite having the same molecular structure as those found in the earth, lab-grown diamonds don’t have any history.”
Are synthetic diamonds more ethical?
Today, most diamonds are blood-free certified. But diamond mining’s 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. But, on the other hand, small mines risk having to shut down. Consequently, many miners in poor developing countries will go out of work and lose their livelihoods.
Can you tell the difference between lab-made and mined diamonds?
The main difference to the naked eye is that the laboratory-made gemstone is too perfect. In other words, they have absolutely no incrustations and are too white, too sparkling. And, as it happens with all-natural or hand-crafted things, the beauty of natural diamonds lies precisely in their imperfection.
How much do lab-made diamonds cost?
Created diamonds cost around $800 per carat, whereas a mined diamond will sell for about $ 8.000 per carat, a huge difference! According to some experts, the sales of lab-grown diamonds could surpass the mined diamonds’ by 2030 mainly because their affordable price makes jewellery more accessible. Nevertheless, natural diamonds are a rock-solid investment, breaking records at online sales. But 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. You may also like to check our Jewellery Guide: how to choose a diamond.
High jewellery and lab-grown diamonds
It is unlikely that many high-end jewellers will use synthetic gemstones in their luxurious creations. Engagement rings, for example, will always mean more with natural diamonds because, as we all know, a “diamond is forever.” On the other hand, Dousset says that “a lab diamond offers the same visual experience with none of the compromise. That’s an exciting opportunity as a jeweller. It’s been very freeing both for the consumer and me.“
To wear or not to wear the trend?
While laboratory diamonds can be grown in a matter of hours and are 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. As a result, they also have a special aura of rarity and luxury that a lab diamond doesn’t. This is why we do not think that one will exclude the other; there’s space for both types of diamonds in the jewellery world, as long as you don’t buy a pig in a poke!
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