The Diamond Debate – Natural vs Lab Diamonds Explored

Are lab grown diamonds really a budget friendly blessing? Or is it better to invest in a traditional natural diamond? According to a survey conducted by Beyond4Cs, the quality of a diamond emerges as the final most crucial factor in the purchasing process, with price, design, and carat size being the first most important decision making factors. In this blog, we will explore the intricacies of choosing between natural and lab created diamonds.

jeweller placing small diamonds into a plastic sealable bag.

Lab Grown Diamonds

Lab grown diamonds are manmade. By replicating the conditions found in the Earth’s mantle, scientists create diamonds with the same physical, chemical, and optical properties as their natural counterparts.

This controlled environment allows for precision in producing diamonds with exceptional clarity and brilliance.

Lindsay Reinsmith, founder and chief operating officer of Ada Diamonds, suggests that man made gems can deliver higher quality colour, cut and clarity in a bigger stone, all while ringing in about 70% less than mined diamonds.

Related: How are Lab-Grown Diamonds Made? | Lab-Grown Diamond Prices Explained

man's hand holding a rough natural diamond

Natural Diamonds

Natural diamonds are formed deep within the Earth’s mantle under intense pressure and heat over millions of years. The journey involves carbon atoms crystallising to create the iconic structure we recognise as a diamond. Each natural diamond becomes a unique masterpiece, embodying the captivating forces of nature.

Diamond pioneers, The Robbins Brothers, were one of the first jewellery chains to embrace lab grown diamonds for engagement rings. However, in a recent article, their vice president of merchandising Sue Hopeman highlights how “the younger generation that is getting their first engagement ring has been fed a fair amount of misinformation, about lab diamonds being eco-friendly. We feel that natural diamonds do really great stuff”.

Further, Martin Rapaport suggests that lab grown diamonds are in fact created in factories, not laboratories. And that pretty much anyone is able to access the required machinery to begin creating ‘lab grown diamonds’ without any prior experience. If this is the case, are lab grown diamonds really a trustworthy investment?

Natural diamond on white silk cloth

The Origin Story

The 4 Cs Comparison


The cut of a diamond is a critical factor influencing its brilliance. Both natural and lab grown diamonds undergo expert cutting, a meticulous process to enhance the diamond’s ability to reflect light.


Natural diamonds exhibit a range of colours, graded on a scale from D (colourless) to Z (light yellow or brown). In contrast to real diamond, lab grown diamonds offer a controlled colour spectrum, providing a consistent and often colourless appearance.

Your choice may depend on the rarity of naturally occurring colours or the allure of a pristine, lab grown diamond.


Each diamond possesses unique inclusions that contribute to its character. Natural diamonds may have imperfections formed during their geological journey, while lab grown diamonds exhibit minimal inclusions due to the controlled environment of their creation.

Learn more about diamond clarity with Alicia J Diamonds expert guidance in our journal here.

Carat Weight

Carat weight influences a diamond’s size and, to some extent, its perceived value. Both natural and lab diamonds come in various carat weights, allowing you to choose the perfect size for your desired piece.
Whether you opt for a classic solitaire or an elaborate statement piece, Alicia J Diamonds offers a curated selection to suit every taste. If you’re looking for some diamond inspiration, visit our website.

Learn more on the 4C’s of diamonds here.

Cluster of sparkling diamonds

Environmental Impact

The environmental impact of diamond choices is a crucial consideration. Natural diamond mining can have ecological consequences, including habitat disruption and carbon emissions.

Lab grown diamonds, on the other hand, are said to present a more sustainable alternative, requiring fewer resources and minimising the environmental footprint associated with traditional mining practices.

In her interview with The New York Post, Lindsay Reinsmith suggests that “Gen Z and millennial consumers tend to vote with their dollar — that is to say, they purchase goods with forethought of the company or product’s ethics” and she believes this has influenced the popularity of lab grown diamonds.

Are Lab Created Diamonds Really More Sustainable?

At Alicia J Diamonds, we have noticed an increase in the amount of people asking whether or not they should purchase natural diamonds or lab created diamonds. The general consensus is that people seem to think lab created diamonds are more economical, but research suggests this may not be true.

The reality is, lab grown diamonds still require a large amount of energy to power the machines that are used to make them. One veteran grower provided the following numbers:

A single-stone HPHT press will use 175–225 kilowatt hours (kWh) per rough ct., which would end up around 650–1100 kWh per successful polished ct. A modern larger multistone cubic HPHT press will use 75–150 kWh per rough ct., which would end up around 350–700 kWh per successful polished ct. Cubic presses come in many sizes, and I would not be surprised if a converted industrial press uses twice that power with a lower success rate and polishing yield.

Jason Payne, founder of ADA Diamonds, has said the “most efficient” growers use 250 kWh per ct, which is the same amount of electricity the average household uses in 9 days or the electricity to fully charge a Tesla two-and-one-half times. But most use about 750 kWh to grow a diamond.

The sustainability of lab diamonds depends on factors such as the energy source used in the creation process, the manufacturing practices of the specific companies, and other considerations. It’s fair to say that there may not be enough research that goes into companies claiming to be ‘sustainable’.

Charlotte Vallaeys of Consumer Reports notes that a term like “environmentally friendly” has no real definition and “could mean whatever the company wants it to mean.”

Jeweller examining a small diamond through a magnifying glass.

The Positive Impact of Diamonds on Producing Countries

In various countries around the world, mining natural diamonds has a significant impact on local communities who are directly and often exclusively dependent on the sustainability and growth of the mining sector.

People now have access to services like healthcare, infrastructure, education and beyond. Diamond Facts dive deeper into the benefits for local communities.

It’s estimated that 10 million people are directly or indirectly supported by the diamond industry globally, and if people were to stop buying mined diamonds, this would have devastating effects on their livelihoods.

Diamonds Do Good are one of the various organisations around the world that are supporting initiatives that develop and empower people in mined diamond communities worldwide.

Group of diamonds on a wooden surface.

Cost Considerations

Diamonds represent a significant investment, and understanding the cost dynamics can help you make an informed decision. Natural diamonds often come with a premium due to their rarity, while lab grown diamonds offer an attractive option for those seeking value without compromising on quality.

Although the cost differences are significant, it’s important to note that natural diamonds are a safe investment choice and increase in value over time. However, lab grown diamonds decrease in value.

Is Buying a Diamond a Good Investment?

There is a unique rarity about natural diamonds and the journey that they go on before becoming beautiful pieces of jewellery. The initial investment for a natural diamond may be higher, but their timeless elegance will never go out of style, or value.

When it comes to lab grown diamonds, they may be the cheaper option, but they don’t have the rare qualities and long lasting value of natural diamond.

Our Buying Back Policy

Alicia J Diamonds ensures transparency in pricing, guiding you to a choice of diamond jewellery that aligns with your preferences and budget.

When it comes to buying back diamonds, our policy is that we do consider mined diamonds however, due to the decrease in investment value, we don’t buy back lab grown diamonds.

Closeup of woman's hand resting on her partner's shoulder and wearing a diamond engagement ring.


Whether you’re drawn to the timeless allure of natural diamonds or the innovative elegance of lab grown diamonds, Alicia J Diamonds is here to guide you on your journey.

Our experts share invaluable insights into the nuances of choosing the right diamond for you. From addressing common questions to dispelling myths surrounding natural and lab diamonds, we’re here to guide you through the decision making process, ensuring you make a choice that resonates with your heart.

Start your diamond journey with us. Explore our collections, reach out to our experts for personalised guidance, and discover the perfect diamond that reflects your unique story.


Are lab diamonds as good as real diamonds?

Choosing between a lab created and a natural diamond depends on personal priorities. Lab created diamonds appeal to those valuing ethical and environmentally conscious options, cost-effectiveness, and customisation possibilities.

On the other hand, natural diamonds, cherished for their rarity and tradition, hold sentimental value and potential for investment. Consider your values, budget, and the significance of tradition to make the choice that aligns best with your preferences.

Whether it’s the ethical allure of lab grown diamonds or the enduring tradition of natural ones, both offer beautiful options for meaningful symbols.

Can you tell a real diamond from a lab diamond?

Without specialised equipment, the average person will not be able to tell the difference between a natural diamond or a lab created diamond.

Advances in technology have enabled lab diamonds to exhibit the same physical, chemical, and optical properties as natural diamonds.

Gemological laboratories use sophisticated equipment to determine a diamond’s origin, relying on subtle differences in growth patterns, inclusions, and trace elements.

Are laboratory diamonds worth anything?

When it comes to lab grown diamonds, they are not an economic investment. They decrease in value over time, whereas a natural diamond will decrease in value and certain jewellers will not buy back a lab grown diamond.

The average resale of a lab grown diamond will be around 30% to 40% less than you originally paid.
However, they are a good choice for those on a budget.

What are the disadvantages of lab diamonds?

Lab created diamonds, though environmentally conscious, face challenges. Some consumers still value the rarity of natural diamonds, impacting the perceived worth of lab diamonds.

Energy consumption in their production and potential shifts in technology may influence their appeal. Resale value uncertainties and the preference for the unique qualities of natural diamonds contribute to considerations.

In a rapidly evolving industry, consumers should be aware of misleading marketing and weigh the advantages based on personal values.