One of the most common questions MiaDonna customers ask is focused on the price of lab created diamonds: “Why don’t they cost significantly less than earth-mined diamonds?” The biggest factors that relate to the cost of lab created diamonds are cut and growth. Read along to better understand what goes into the cost of lab created diamonds.
Lab Diamond Cutting
When a diamond is grown, it is initially called a rough; an uncut, unpolished rough piece of carbon. Transforming the rough into a beautiful finished product you can wear is no easy process. By comparison, it is much harder to cut and polish a diamond than it is to cut and polish a gemstone. While lab created gemstones can be cut cut using smaller, harder stones as an abrasive, diamond cannot. Only diamonds can be used to cut diamonds. This process is done by hand by skilled cutters who know how to read the grain of a diamond. While lasers and machines can help a diamond cutter, each stone still needs to be finished by hand.
In some cases, the cost of cutting a lab created diamond is the same as the cost to mine or grow the stone. Even if we were to drastically drop the cost of growing a diamond, the costs associated with cutting and finishing the diamond would remain the same. In order to see a steeper drop in price, the technology and process of cutting diamonds needs to advance first. It’s important to note that the cutting process for lab created and earth mined diamonds is the same.
Lab Created Diamond Growing
Lab-created diamonds start out as a small diamond "seed" and grow slowly over a period of six to ten weeks. The difficulty in growing diamonds increases exponentially if you try to grow a diamond larger in size. In addition to being larger, these diamonds must also be pure and that is when diamond waste becomes a concern. For example, a lab created diamond rough may be 20 carats, but after it is cut and polished it can produce one diamond or multiple smaller diamonds. Every rough is different, so it’s not possible to accurately predict the outcome.
In order to better understand, let's compare the growth of gemstones. Lab created gemstones, such as sapphires or rubies, are made from corundum. The rough starts out very large, sometimes as big as a watermelon. If the resources are available, these gems can be grown a thousand at a time. The process for cutting these is automated and waste is not a concern. If more than half of the carat weight of the rough is lost, it is cheap and easy to grow more. This also explains why at this time we can custom grow gemstones but not diamonds. Until the technology used to grow diamonds with limited waste improves, we will not see prices change significantly.
The Future of Diamond Prices
So what can be expected moving forward in regards to lab created diamond price changes? For us to see an immediate change, there needs to be a breakthrough in both cutting and growing technologies. As it stands, the majority of our customers are purchasing lab created diamonds for their ethical and eco-friendly benefits, not necessarily because they’re less expensive than earth-mined counterparts. Nevertheless, it is important to mention that the demand and price of earth mined diamonds are expected to surge this year. It’s estimated that the price of natural rough diamonds will increase by 4% in 2018. So although that price of lab created diamonds isn’t expected to decrease until technology advances, you can shop at ease knowing that our prices will remain the same.