How Much Does it Cost to Grow a Diamond in A Lab?
For several reasons, many are falling out of love for mined diamonds and are opting for their lab-grown counterparts. But how exactly do these lab gems measure up? How are they made? How much does it cost to make them? And how much is their final market price?
How are Lab-Grown Diamonds Made?
Lab-grown diamonds are manufactured using processes that ensure they end up with the same chemical, physical, and optical properties as natural diamonds. Mined diamonds are formed about 100 miles within the earth's crust under high temperature and pressure over hundreds, if not thousands of years.
The laboratory production of diamonds mimics these conditions minus the deep positioning in the earth's crust and the number of years spent for diamonds to form. In other words, high temperature and pressure are used to manufacture diamonds in the laboratory using only a couple of days. Lab diamonds are manufactured in two major ways:
High Pressure High Temperature (HPHT)
In this system, pure carbon such as graphite is placed in a chamber. The system is exposed to temperatures as high as 1500°C and pressure as high as 1.5 million pounds per square inch. The high pressure and temperature would make the carbon melt and crystallize to form carbon.
Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD)
This is a newer and more efficient method of manufacturing lab diamonds. Here the diamond seed is placed in a sealed chamber filled with carbon-rich gas. The chamber is heated to about 800°C. Soon enough, the carbon would begin to melt and stick to the seed, forming layers of diamond to make a bigger diamond.
How Much Does it Cost to Create a Lab-Grown Diamond?
Diamonds have been grown in labs as far back as the middle of the previous century. However, lab created diamonds did not gain popularity until the beginning of the twenty-first century.
In 2008, the Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC) revealed that it costs about $4000 to grow a carat of diamond. Today, however, it will only cost about $200 to $500 to grow one carat of diamond using the CVD method.
It is obvious how much progress lab-grown diamonds have made over the years in terms of production and scalability. More so, the rapid embrace of lab diamonds by consumers has helped its scalability and adaptability in the marketplace.
According to the same report by AWDC, the lab-grown diamond industry experiences an annual market increase of 15 to 20% every year. The growth is set to continue as more persons embrace lab diamonds and more diamond markets shift from naturally sourced diamonds to lab-grown ones.
Are Lab-Grown Diamonds Affordable?
Now that you know what and how much it takes to produce lab-grown diamonds, let's examine their market price in comparison to their mined counterparts.
On average, a carat of lab-grown diamonds costs between $800 to $1000 while a carat of mined diamond costs anything between $1,800 to $12,000 in the jewelry market.
While gem prices will also depend on other factors like cut, clarity, and presence of flaws, the price difference between lab-grown and natural diamonds is obvious and shows just how affordable laboratory-grown diamonds are.
We cannot judge the fact that mined diamonds are expensive though, as some people still have their sentiments. Not that lab-grown diamonds are fake or sub-standard. However, it will take a long time for sentiments about the source of diamonds to totally wane in the jewelry market.
If this means anything for you, it means you can spend less to buy an equivalent of a mined diamond when you go for lab-grown diamonds. It also means you can have more for your money as you can go for higher carat sizes of lab-grown diamonds using amounts that would not purchase a natural diamond of such carat size.
Lab-grown diamonds have been doing well over the years. Young jewelry users have come to love them for their authenticity and other benefits they present such as affordability. Thanks to scientific improvements, lab-grown diamonds can be manufactured less expensively, meaning that we can purchase them from the market at very friendly rates.