Romancing the Stone – Natural Diamond or Laboratory Grown
What are your thoughts on laboratory-created diamonds?
I personally don’t mind the idea, as long as people understand them and know the true facts. A billion plus year old diamond is a sign of love, commitment and sincerity. You can’t replace that with diamonds created in a reactor. To me there are two reasons people believe they should choose a lab-created diamond over a natural. One is environmental, the other is cost. Both I will discuss below.
People want to purchase laboratory-created diamonds because they say they’re more environmentally friendly. Is this true?
This is not true. The estimated greenhouse gas emissions of the mining of a natural diamond are three times less than that of a laboratory-created diamond. In fact, De Beers is currently working to have all their mines become carbon neutral within the next five to eight years. Diamonds are formed in kimberlite, a rare volcanic rock, which has the capability to capture carbon dioxide and store it. I would need a few more pages of writing to discuss the social, economic, wildlife, conservation, community and overall global benefits of natural mining.
So, it must be because laboratory-created diamonds are cheaper then?
The short answer is ‘yes’. Over the past few years, pricing has dropped significantly. But there is still not enough of a price difference between the natural and lab-created to justify value.
The pricing doesn’t really make sense as they can create a diamond in any quality they want, and an infinite number of them, whereas natural diamonds are finite. It takes a two billion dollar investment to begin the operation of a mine. Most mines are located in extremely remote and inaccessible regions.
DeBeers has created a company called Lightbox which will feature laboratory-created diamonds in jewellery, and will drive the price down to about $800 per carat. As of right now the prices are quite a bit higher than that.
Do you stock laboratory-grown diamonds?
We carry a few sizes in stock, just to show people and discuss the arguments for and against a laboratory-created diamond. A couple other things I should mention is that we offer up to full value on diamond trade-ins that were bought at Nash’s for a lifetime. We will not do this with laboratory-created diamonds. I can’t guarantee that the value will be there tomorrow, whereas with natural diamonds I can.