At The Diamond Shop, we pride ourselves on our premium selection of lab-grown and natural diamonds in St. Louis. Whatever the cut, clarity, shape, or source, we’re confident we have the stone you seek. Plus, our advanced technology can identify the difference between natural and lab-created diamonds, ensuring you make an informed decision.
Visit our Clayton store or book an appointment to select the perfect stone!
How Natural Diamonds Formed
Naturally-occurring diamonds formed deep within the earth’s mantle when carbon deposits were subjected to high pressure and temperatures. Then, when ancient volcanoes erupted and blasted natural diamonds to the surface, they trapped diamonds in their molten rock. As a result, the natural diamonds mined today are from within remnants of these ancient volcanoes, called kimberlite pipes.
Characteristics of Natural Diamonds
The primary characteristics of naturally-occurring diamonds split into four categories, known as the 4 C’s: cut, carat, clarity, and color.
- Cut: A natural diamond’s cut describes its interior and how well it interacts with light. The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) established a Cut Grading System that assesses how a diamond reflects light, disperses into color, and sparkles. Symmetry, polish, and proportions influence a diamond’s excellent or poor cut.
- Carat: The term “carat” measures a natural diamond’s weight, equating to 200 milligrams. However, larger-carat natural diamonds are difficult to find as the supply continues to decrease.
- Clarity: Since natural diamonds form deep within the earth, they display unique markings called blemishes or inclusions. These markings usually result from non-carbon atoms interfering during formation. Diamonds with fewer blemishes and inclusions have a higher clarity rating.
- Color: A naturally-occurring diamond’s color rating typically describes how “colorless” it appears. Although most natural stones look colorless to the naked eye, many have hints of yellow or brown.
Lab Grown Diamonds
How Are Lab Grown Diamonds Made?
Also known as engineered or cultured diamonds, stones made in a controlled lab setting undergo conditions resembling the earth’s mantle. These human-made diamonds contain carbon atoms arranged in the same chemical structure as natural stones.
Two primary processes create lab-grown diamonds: High-Pressure, High-Temperature (HPHT), and Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD).
- High-Pressure, High-Temperature (HPHT): Developed in the 1950s, the HPHT method subjects a diamond “seed” to high pressure and temperatures, resembling the natural stones’ formation.
- Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD): The CVD method requires less force and extreme temperatures, causing it to grow in popularity. Scientists fill a chamber with carbon-rich vapor and extract the carbon atoms onto a diamond crystal wafer. Over time, the lab-grown diamond forms layer by layer.
Characteristics of Lab Grown Diamonds
Since lab-grown diamonds form under the same conditions as natural stones, their composition and appearance are identical. Technological advancements continue to improve the process of creating lab-grown diamonds, meaning they are indistinguishable from their natural counterparts. Also categorized according to the 4 C’s, lab-grown diamonds offer the beauty and stability you want.
Comparing Lab Grown vs. Natural Diamond Stones
At The Diamond Shop, we source our lab-grown diamonds from multiple vendors. They boast numerous advantages, such as:
- Cost-effective: Lab grown diamonds cost up to 60% less than natural stones. As a result, you can choose a higher quality, larger diamond while still saving money.
- Larger inventory of cuts, shapes, & sizes: Since humans create lab-grown diamonds, they can control numerous variables to form specific cuts, shapes, and sizes. Therefore, you can choose from an endless selection.
- Better color & clarity: The controlled laboratory environment prevents naturally occurring impurities commonly found in natural diamonds. Thus, they can control the color and clarity, producing more marketable diamonds.
- Environmentally friendly: Lab-grown diamonds prevent nearly 100 square feet of land from being disturbed and almost 6,000 pounds of mineral waste per carat produced by mining diamonds.
- Ethically sourced: Chemically identical to natural diamonds, lab-grown stones are entirely traceable and relied upon as an ethical alternative to natural diamonds.
- Simple replication: Recreating a diamond is simple in a laboratory environment. Scientists control the same variables as the first time to match the original.
However, lab-grown diamonds’ disadvantages act as natural stones’ benefits:
- Maintain value: Natural diamonds are worth far more than lab-created stones, hence their expensive price tag. Therefore, they maintain their high value much longer than that of lab-grown, which fluctuates. When you purchase your natural diamond at The Diamond Shop, your diamond will always hold 100% of its purchase price towards a new diamond when you trade, while a lab-grown diamond will not.
- Environmentally friendly: The estimated carbon emissions of a lab-grown diamond are three times the amount of a naturally mined diamond. Lab-grown requires a substantial amount of chemicals and energy, as well as relying primarily on fossil fuels for their creation.
- Ethically sourced: We buy only ethically sourced diamonds. Supporting ethically mined diamonds is providing direct support for workers, their families, and their communities. Most diamond mining workers live in the same communities they work in, which helps create jobs for the locals and can stimulate their communities. The Natural Diamond Council gives back to wildlife conservation and education programs for those communities.
- Prestige: Consumers frequently purchase lab-grown diamonds over natural stones, making them more common. Natural diamonds are limited in supply and thus signify a higher status.
How to Tell Whether a Diamond is Natural or Lab Grown
The naked eye cannot distinguish between natural and lab-grown diamonds. In some cases, experienced gemologists have difficulty identifying them under a microscope. However, we at The Diamond Shop possess highly advanced equipment that distinguishes between the two easily.
Certified lab-grown diamonds contain a laser-inscribed certification number on the girdle. Each inscription includes the letters “LG” followed by the certification number and requires 10x magnification to locate. Non-certified diamonds, therefore, do not have this identification.
Find Your Diamonds in St. Louis Today
The Diamond Shop has served customers in the St. Louis area for over 100 years with their jewelry needs. Our experienced team and updated technology ensure you have all the information you need to make an educated decision. You can be confident that the price you pay is fair and that the characteristics of your stones are accurate.
Book an appointment or contact us today!