If you’ve heard of lab-grown diamonds (which we assume you have if you’re here), then you know that they have the reputation of being the natural diamonds less expensive versions, and thus more accessible to broader groups of people.
But, what does that actually mean? Can you walk into a jewelry store and buy one on a whim, or is it actually a bit more unattainable than that?
Do lab diamonds vary in price depending on certain characteristics, or are they unified across the board?
Can you find curtain places that sell them for more or less than the average price? And, does the price actually reflect the diamond’s real value?
We’re going to share with you all of the most valuable info on this topic to ensure that your hunt for the best lab-grown diamonds goes as smoothly as possible.
So, settle in, grab a snack, and let’s dive into some interesting info about lab diamond prices!
What Are Lab Diamonds And How Are They Different From Natural Diamonds?
Before we delve into the main topic of this article, it’s important that you have the fundamental knowledge about lab diamonds and how they differ from natural ones, since that’s where their differences in price come from.
Lab Diamonds 101
As the name implies, lab-grown diamonds are man-made diamonds, created in a lab. This means that the formation process is kept under strict supervision and controlled conditions.
These diamonds are created under enormous heat and pressure inside a machine in a lab. These are the same conditions under which natural diamonds are made, the only difference being the environment – ones are grown in a lab, and others in the Earth’s mantle, which is about 150 kilometers below the Earth’s crust.
Aside from that, it’s much faster and hassle-free than the formation process from natural diamonds.
This means that there are widely available, and thus more affordable than natural diamonds. Some would say that they lose their exclusivity because of that, but others believe that as long as the composition is the same, there’s no real difference.
But, the truth is that for most people, diamonds were entirely out of reach for so long, and with lab diamonds, that’s no longer the case for so many.
If you like the way diamonds look, their cut and shine, lab diamonds can give you the same effect natural ones can.
Lab Diamonds Colors
When you think of diamonds, you probably think about white diamonds, which are recognizable for their stunning rainbow reflections. But, there are other diamond colors, as well.
Lab diamonds come in all of the same colors, as well, which means you’re not limited to getting a white diamond, should you deduce on a lab-grown diamond.
But, how rare are diamonds in different colors, and how does their color affect their value?
You’ve probably heard of the fact that diamonds with a yellowish hue tend to be lower in price, since they are considered “imperfect”, so you’re wondering if that applies to colored diamonds, as well.
The truth is, there is a difference between colored diamonds and white diamonds with inclusions. The former is much rarer, while the latter ones are lower in price since they’re considered “imperfect”.
Much like people, diamonds often have their own little intricacies and unique features that set them apart from the rest. However, unlike with people, the more of those intricacies a diamond has, the less it’s worth.
Inclusions are basically birthmarks of diamonds. They can come in many different forms, such as bearding, cavities, chips, clouds, etc. But, inclusions can also come about when trace elements interact with carbon atoms during the formation process. This results in diamonds being different colors.
White diamonds are very sensitive to inclusions, which means that even the slightest ones can be seen by experts, who will deem them imperfect. A yellow hue will definitely lower the price point of a diamond and you most definitely won’t find them in jewelry stores.
White diamonds are rated on the GIA color scale according to how white or yellow they are. The more white or clear they are, the more they’re worth.
However, as we’ve previously mentioned, A white diamond with inclusions isn’t the same as a yellow, or any other colored diamond. They’re not rated on the same scale, and their price points don’t align.
But remember, regardless of whether we’re talking about a lab diamond or a natural one, the rule is the same – the rarer they are, the more expensive.
Lab Diamond Price List
Before we get into the specifics, we want to emphasize the fact that prices of lab diamonds, just like those of natural diamonds, fluctuate in price greatly. They can be as low as $1,600 or as high as $62,000, which, you’ll agree, is a big difference.
But, what is it that affects the price? How is the price actually set? We’re here to tell you.
The four C’s are the four criteria that are used to measure the relevant characteristics of diamonds and thus set their price point. The four C’s stand for cut, clarity, carat weight, and color. Once a diamond is assessed from all of these aspects, it can be determined how valuable it is.
The cut is one of the most important characteristics of a diamond since an excellent cut will enhance the light reflections within a diamond, making it shinier and more appealing to the eye. The quality of a cut can also be graded from poor to excellent.
With the wrong cut, a near-perfect diamond can be ruined.
But, not all diamonds will benefit from this cut. We’ve established that each diamond is unique and different, which is why things such as the cut need to be customized to fit each one the best.
The way an expert will determine the cut is by evaluating how well a diamond interacts with light to create the staple desired visual effects such as:
- Brightness – the internal and external white light reflected from a diamond
- Fire – the scattering of white light into the colors of the rainbow
- Scintillation – the amount of sparkle a diamond produces, and the pattern of light and dark areas, caused by reflections within a diamond.
We’ve discussed inclusions before, so you already know that their presence or lack thereof affects a diamond’s worth. We want a diamond to be as clear as possible so that light can pass through it without any obstacles.
Clarity is also rated on a scale, called the GIA scale which has 6 categories:
- Flawless (FL) – this means that there are no inclusions or blemishes visible under 10x magnification.
- Internally Flawless (IF) – diamonds rated this have no inclusions visible under 10x magnification.
- Very, Very Slightly Included (VVS1 and VVS2) – these diamonds have inclusions, but they are so slight that they are difficult for a skilled grader to see under 10x magnification.
- Very Slightly Included (VS1 and VS2) – these inclusions can be seen with effort under 10x magnification but can be characterized as minor.
- Slightly Included (SI1 and SI2) – these diamonds have inclusions that are visible under 10x magnification.
- Included (I1, I2, and I3) – this means that inclusions are obvious under 10x magnification, which means that transparency and brilliance can be affected.
None of these inclusions can be seen with a naked eye, and certainly not by a layperson, but they are visible to those experienced graders who are trusted with the task of determining a diamond’s value.
Related Read: Will Lab Diamonds Hold Their Value?
You already know that the more colorless a diamond is, the more it’s worth. At least that’s how white diamonds work. Diamond color is also graded on a GIA scale, from D to Z, D meaning completely colorless, and Z meaning a very visible yellow hue.
When most of us hear the word “carat”, we think of gold. But, we have to differentiate between the carat weight used for diamonds, and the karat used for gold, which determines the purity of gold.
Much like the name implies, carats determine how much a diamond weighs.
A metric carat weighs 200 milligrams. Each carat is subdivided into 100 “points”. This allows for precise measurements to the hundredth decimal. It may seem excessive at first glance, but if you think about how small diamonds can be, it’s absolutely vital that we have precise enough measurements.
Carat weight can especially come in handy when all of the other characteristics are equal since the price will increase for larger diamonds because they are more sought after.
But, let us emphasize once more that the price of a diamond is determined, not only by carat weight but by using all of the 4C’s together.
Prices – Natural vs. Lab Diamonds
We know that these things can seem a bit abstract, so to simplify this, we’ll show you some concrete prices of lab-grown diamonds, and compare them to their natural counterparts.
Also, we’ll use diamond cuts to compare with a bit more precision, since shapes also differ in price.
- Raw Uncut Diamond Price List: Rough Diamond Prices Guide
- Price Of Diamonds Over The Last 50 Years: How Did It Change?
- Diamond Price List: How Much Is A 0.1 To 40 Carat Diamond Worth?
The difference between the prices of natural and lab diamonds for this shape is quite significant.
A natural round diamond weighing in at 0.5 carats is worth $1,240, which is more than 2x more expensive than a lab one which goes for $560.
If we take a look at big diamonds, a 3-carat natural diamond is worth a whopping $45,260, while a lab one of the same weight is worth $29,160.
A natural oval diamond that weighs 0.5 carats usually goes for $870, while the lab-grown one goes for about $600.
If we’re talking about a big diamond, one that weighs 3 carats, a natural diamond’s price skyrockets to $29,980, with the lab-grown one following at $20,100.
One of the most popular diamond shapes for engagement rings is worth $881 at the carat weight of 0.5 carats if it’s natural. On the other hand, a lab one at the same carat weight is worth $600.
A 3-carat natural radiant is listed at $34,410, whereas the lab one is listed at $23,400.
You probably clicked on this article to find out what you can expect when looking at lab diamonds in terms of their price point. It was our goal to give you all of the basic info to help you understand what lab diamonds are and where the difference in prices comes from.
As you can see, lab-grown diamonds have many advantages, such as the simpler creation process and lower price point, which makes them more accessible.
In many aspects, such as the color and the 4C’s grading system, they’re very similar. However, the main difference is their price. Ultimately, lab diamonds are more affordable than natural ones, while maintaining the same chemical makeup and look.
This means that no one will be able to tell if you opt for a lab-diamond engagement ring, since they are virtually the same visually. If you don’t care that much about the origin and the rarity aspect of diamonds, lab diamonds are a great investment.
Well, we won’t keep you much longer. Hopefully, you can now dive into your diamond-choosing endeavors with more knowledge and enthusiasm.