Life·3 min read

How Lab-created Diamonds Make the Cut

James Allen Promo
Oct 15, 2019

The Story

It’s the most wonderful time of the year...for people in committed relationships. Yep. Engagement season is upon us. 40% of all proposals happen between Thanksgiving and Christmas, and we found a smarter way to ring in the occasion. Meet, lab-created diamonds. 

Come again? 

Lab-created diamonds are, you guessed it, made in a lab instead of being mined from the Earth. Scientists basically take baby diamond "seeds" (aka, a repeating bunch of carbon atoms) and carefully expose them to temperatures and pressures that mimic the way diamonds are formed in nature. Et voila. A star diamond is born. 

So... they’re not just a girl’s best friend. 

They’re also a geologist’s...and a jeweler’s...and a bank account’s. But despite having a close group of BFFs, there’s also a fair amount of people who say ‘no new friends’ to these kinds of sparklers. So we partnered with to debunk some of the common myths surrounding lab-created diamonds. Time to do a double-take...

Myth #1: They're not real diamonds.

Wrong. Lab-created diamonds are diamonds, full-stop. They have the same physical, chemical, and visual qualities as their Earth-created counterparts. The only difference? Where they come from.

  • Earth-created diamonds are formed in the upper mantle, about 100 miles below the surface, where crazy high temps (think: 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit) and huge amounts of pressure cause carbon atoms to stick together and start growing crystals. 

  • Lab-created diamonds are made in pretty much the same way, but professionals using cutting-edge technologies—not mother nature—are in the proverbial driver’s seat. In a lab, it typically takes three to four months for a little baby seed to reach the size of one carat. So it’s still a labor of love. 

Myth #2: They're the same as CZ and moissanite.

It’s a no from me, dawg. Cubic zirconia and moissanites’ chemical compositions are totally different than diamonds, so they really are ‘faux’. They’re worth way less than the real deal. (Around $20 per one carat versus $1,500 for a one carat diamond for CZ.) 

Myth #3: Lab-created diamonds lack character.

So wrong it’s (not) right. Just because lab-created diamonds are expertly controlled, doesn’t mean they come out totally uniform. And, like Earth-created diamonds, they’re snowflakes. As in, they have their own unique fingerprints and characteristics. Each lab-created diamond is graded on the same 4C scale (for carat, color, cut, and clarity) that earth-created diamonds are, so no two are twinning. 

Myth #4: It's easy to spot the difference between lab-created and mined diamonds. 

Nope. Because lab-created diamonds are chemically the same as Earth-created diamonds, not even diamond pros using a loupe (a magnifying tool used to check out small details up close) can tell the difference.  

Myth #5: They're man-made, so they’re cheap. Lab-created diamonds are significantly more affordable than earth-created diamonds, but the effort and expertise that go into producing them come at a cost. Meaning, these diamonds are still an investment. Creating them is a bit like constructing your overpriced lunch salad (read: expensive and complex), and the technology is proprietary. Plus, lab-created diamonds have to go through the same appraisal and lab certification as their earth-created counterparts.

But lab-created diamonds still let you maximize your budget. Hint: buying a ring at James Allen means you pay up to 50% less than you would at traditional jewelry stores. And you could get a ring that’s 30% bigger. The secret’s in the fact that it’s an online retailer. More frost for your buck. 

Phew. Thanks for that...clarity.

Slow. Clap. Really, no one can say that Earth-created diamonds are “better” than lab-created diamonds—or vice versa. Because (and we can’t stress this enough) the only true difference is the origin.


Whether you’re wink-wink-nudge-nudging your significant other into putting a ring on it, or helping a friend design their own diamond and setting combination, lab-created diamonds should be on your list of dream engagement to-dos. Cause if you like it, then you should’ know the rest.

Subscribe to Skimm Your Life

We're bringing you products, recs, and suggestions that'll make your life just a liiittle easier. It all starts with adding us to your inbox.