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What is a Lab-Grown Diamond?

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lab grown diamonds vs real diamonds

If you’re in the market for a diamond engagement ring, chances are at some point you’ll be asked to choose between a mined diamond or a lab-grown diamond for your ring’s center (primary) stone. Jewelers are increasingly offering both diamond types in stores and are eager to educate shoppers on the attributes of each.

While lab-grown diamonds have been available for decades, they’re still relatively new in the jewelry market. And you’d be excused for being confused about the difference between the two, and asking the question: What is a lab-grown diamond? To answer that, we need to start with the original diamond. You know, the one that we dig out of the ground. 

Mined diamonds 

natural diamond nestled in kimberlite

Most people know what a mined diamond is, but just to review: a diamond is a precious gemstone consisting of a clear and colorless crystalline form of carbon, which is the hardest naturally occurring substance on earth. 

Natural diamonds form deep underground in Earth’s mantle—we’re talking miles—formed by intense pressure and extreme temperatures, among other factors. And diamonds don’t grow overnight, or even over centuries. The formation process takes between 1 billion and 3.3 billion years (approximately 25% to 75% of our earth’s age), according to the Gemological Institute of America. So, diamonds close enough to the earth’s surface to be mined today are literally billions of years old. 

Lab-grown diamonds

how lab grown diamonds made

Lab-grown diamonds have the same chemical properties as the ones mined from the earth; they possess carbon atoms arranged in the high-sparkle diamond crystal structure. The only difference between the two are their origins. Lab-grown diamonds were grown in a factory that copies (as best it can) the controlled conditions under which diamonds naturally develop, over a short period of time. 

Lab-grown diamonds are made using two methods: high pressure, high temperature (HPHT) and chemical vapor deposition. How long does it take to make a lab-grown diamond? Approximately six to 10 weeks. Compared to a billion years, that’s some lightning-fast diamond production. 

Insuring Lab-Grown Diamonds

If you do opt for a lab-grown diamond engagement ring, know that Jewelers Mutual does insure lab-grown diamonds

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About Jewelers Mutual Group

Jewelers Mutual was founded in 1913 by a group of Wisconsin jewelers to meet their unique insurance needs. Later, consumers began putting their trust in Jewelers Mutual to protect their jewelry and the special memories each piece holds. Today, Jewelers Mutual continues to support and move the industry forward by listening to jewelers and consumers and offering products and services to meet their evolving needs. Beyond insurance, Jewelers Mutual’s powerful suite of innovative solutions and digital technology offerings help jewelers strengthen and grow their businesses, mitigate risk, and bring them closer to their customers. The Group insurers’ strong financial position is reflected in their 37 consecutive “A+ Superior” ratings from AM Best Company, as of November 2023. Policyholders of the Group insurers are members of Jewelers Mutual Holding Company. Jewelers Mutual is headquartered in Neenah, Wisconsin, with other Group offices in Dallas, Texas and Miami, Florida. To learn more, visit JewelersMutual.com.