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Diamond FAQ: Mined Vs Manmade

All diamonds are precious, which is why so many people in the United States choose a diamond engagement ring when they pop the question. If you're thinking about buying an engagement ring or any jewelry with these gemstones, you might not have considered where your diamonds come from or how exactly they were made. Doing a little research into this might surprisingly give you peace of mind and inform your decision. There are two types of diamonds: mined and manmade.

The naked eye probably won't be able to tell the difference between the two types of diamonds, but there are fundamental differences. If you're on the market for diamonds as a buyer, it's a good idea to really understand the difference between mined and manmade diamonds. Here's an easy guide to help you choose.

The Experts Know Best
If you're seeking an extensive outlook on the question of mined vs. manmade, look no further than the expert understanding of the Gemological Institute of America, or GIA. They explain that one of the main differences is where the diamonds were made. Mined, or natural, diamonds were formed due to pressure and high temperatures deep within the earth. They were most likely formed billions of years ago. These diamonds were made accessible for harvesting, because volcanic activity brought them closer to the top layer of earth, and deposited them in rock formations. If enough diamonds are deposited in a given formation, the area will be mined and the diamonds sold through retailers to people like you.

Manmade diamonds, on the other hand, are made in labs using high pressure and high temperatures or a chemical vapor deposition method. The Gemological Institute of America says that it wasn't until the mid-2010s that lab-grown diamonds entered the jewelry market, which might explain why the difference between earth-mined and manmade isn't common knowledge. 

At first, lab-grown diamonds were small stones only weighing about a carat or less. Now, laboratories are working and succeeding in creating bigger diamonds that usually only take a month or so to create. The GIA feels that as the technology to create diamonds improves, so do the diamonds themselves. With the advancements that have already been made, they are able to make strides even from last week to this week.


Can You Feel the Chemistry?
If you can't feel the difference in chemistry between a lab-grown diamond and an earth-mined diamond, it's because they're essentially chemically, physically and optically identical. Even highly trained professionals who make their livings off of appraisal won't be able to tell the difference just by traditional observations or using "diamond detectors." Telling the difference requires advanced technology in order to test.

If you're worried about getting a lab-grown diamond being sold as a natural diamond, you shouldn't be concerned. Lab-grown diamonds are responsibly labeled as such, and many even have laser inscriptions on their girdles. 

If this still doesn't put your mind at ease, just make sure that you purchase a certified diamond that comes with a diamond certificate. Your diamond certificate could be a GIA certificate. You could also get an EGL certificate through the European Gemological Laboratory. The AGS can also point you in the right direction when considering jewelry.

Out-of-Pocket Comparison
Although both lab-created and mined diamonds are real diamonds, there's actually a big difference when it comes to price. Lab created diamonds usually cost about 30% less than natural diamonds. This price difference is due to the cost of human labor. Mining is an expensive business and as a consumer, you definitely pay the price. 

Since diamonds made in labs don't require mining, you can get them much more inexpensively. In fact, you can get a much better deal for the diamond's quality if you go with a lab diamond. You can actually afford a diamond with a higher grading report, including cut grade, color grade, and clarity grade. You'll also be able to afford a higher carat diamond with fewer inclusions than if you went with an earth-mined diamond. Why waste your time with an i1 natural diamond, when you could get much better quality for a similar price?

Worth Their Weight in White Gold… or Platinum 
Since both kinds are true diamonds, they will be appraised on the same terms. At a diamond appraisal, the cost of the whole piece of jewelry is taken into consideration. Is the setting white gold or platinum? That will be a difference in value depending on what your stones are set in. 

He or she will judge all of the gemstones included in the piece of jewelry. As far as the diamonds go, your appraiser will take into consideration the Four C's: Carat, Cut, Color, and Clarity. You'll get a grading report and a number at which your necklace, engagement ring, broach, etc. is valued at.

Is the Labor Worth Your Diamond?
One of the reasons that lab-created diamonds have seen such a spike in popularity—outside of their lower cost—is for a humanitarian reason. The human cost of diamonds is great due to conflicts associated with mining. Diamonds created in a gemological laboratory take the potential for conflict out of the equation entirely. 

Millennials are especially drawn to lab-created diamonds for this purpose. Agape Diamonds offers both manmade and earth diamonds that are completely conflict-free. If you're going to buy earth diamonds, try to go  with the company that prides themselves on how little impact they leave on the people who mine this precious gemstone.

The world of diamonds is both beautiful and complex, just like the stones themselves. When purchasing, you want to come in armed with information, so that you get the best quality for your dollar. You can't go wrong with either man made and mined diamonds. Both have brilliance and inclusions, much like the people who buy them. Just make sure your diamonds are ethically sourced. 

To learn even more about diamonds, check out the IGI's webpage. The GIA, IGI, EGL, and AGS also offer copious amounts of information and resources for you to peruse.

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