Brilliant Earth Lab Grown Diamonds test real on a diamond tester because they have the same properties as natural diamonds. Does that mean that the De Beers marketing slogan “A Diamond Is Forever” is applicable?
It is a common misconception that diamonds are the hardest substance on earth. Diamond is the hardest mineral substance on earth which means it can be chipped or damaged.
It’s amazing how much confusion can result from the difference of one little word. The reality is that there are lots of things in the world which are much harder than diamond.
Are Brilliant Earth Lab Grown Diamonds Durable?
There are structural differences between natural and lab-grown diamonds that companies don't like to talk about. For example, lab-created diamond crystals grow vertically on a platform from a square-shaped seed.
In contrast, the natural crystal used to produce round brilliant cut diamonds is dodecahedron-shaped. Under those circumstances, the cutter polishes the crown and pavilion angles along the natural crystal plane.
Whereas they lop off the edges of a cube to shape lab-grown diamonds and that does result in minor optical differences.
That is not to say that Brilliant Earth lab-grown diamonds look different than their natural counterparts. At least not to the naked eye because you have to examine the crystal matrix under higher degrees of magnification.
Can Lab-created Diamonds Be Damaged?
In terms of hardness, both natural and lab-grown diamonds score ten on the Moh's hardness scale. In that case, there is not a measurable difference in the hardness of earth-mined and manufactured diamonds.
That means that both lab-created and natural diamonds are subject to damage under specific circumstances. That is why it's a good idea to insure your ring with somebody like Brite.co, or Jewelers Mutual.
They will insure your diamond engagement ring against accidental loss, damage, fire, and theft. However, no insurance company in the world is going insure your diamond against an intentional act.
For example, crushing a lab-grown diamond with a hydraulic press as shown below. In contrast, you can insure your diamond for accidental loss, damage like chips, fire, and theft.
Consequently, the client who sent me the video below was tripping out that somebody would crush a 1.20 carat diamond. Before you get all worked up over the humanity of it all, allow me to propose a new title for this video:
Brilliant Earth Lab Grown Diamonds vs Hydraulic Press:
The title of this video is “Crushing diamond with hydraulic press” but actually this is not a natural diamond. It is a lab-created diamond. Under those circumstances, one little word really does change everything.
There are substantial differences between lab-grown and natural diamond prices. In addition, there are different qualities of lab-created diamonds. Such as different growing processes that determine whether post growth treatment is necessary for color correction.
Look closely at the GCAL diamond grading report pictured in the video at the 0:39 second mark. At that point, you’ll be able to identify the lab report number of the lab-grown diamond in this video.
In this case, it's GCAL diamond grading report number 260550045. You can verify the details using GCAL Certificate Search. Here is a copy of the GCAL diamond grading report:
I took the liberty of adding red arrows to the Optical Symmetry Analysis. Each red arrows points to sections of light leakage that are visible under the table facet.
One of the challenges with lab grown diamonds is that they are rarely cut to exhibit the degree of optical precision that I'm looking for. But that's really a story for another day, let's just focus on lab-grown diamonds for the moment.
Specifics of the lab-created diamond:
Photograph of I-3 clarity (A.K.A. "dead") diamond:
If you’re wondering why the trade commonly refers to I-3 clarity diamonds as “dead” it is because they tend to look like crushed rock quartz.
This is an I-3 clarity diamond from a file photograph. Real pretty, isn’t it? The inclusions are so plentiful that you can’t even see past them to focus upon the facet structure of the diamond. Which is all right, because it’s really not cut very well.
Light return? Forget about it… You might as well be trying to squeeze blood out of a stone. This I-3 clarity diamond is so included that very little light is actually going to pass through it.
Needless to say that this I-3 clarity diamond isn’t worth very much, and it’s a natural diamond. Lab grown diamonds are worth much less than natural diamonds. Personally I don’t think they’re worth anything at all, but I’m a natural diamond kind of guy.
How much do lab grown diamonds cost?
I was curious to know how much money just got crushed, but I can’t even find a lab created diamond from Brilliant Earth of the same quality. The minimum clarity offered on their web site is SI-2.
The diamond clarity scale starts out with I-3 on the low end, then it goes up to I-2, I-1, and then SI-2 and higher. The closest option that I could find is this 1.20 carat, I-color, SI-2 clarity round, SKU #2266256.
There’s no point in linking to the diamond, because B.E. scraps the diamond details pages after a diamond sells.
However, you can look up lab report #261320020 on GCAL for full details. Suffice to say, that the value of the lab grown diamond crushed in the video probably retailed for less than 3K.
Beware Falling Lab-created Diamond Prices:
You might be wondering if lab grown diamonds are a good solution to the conflict diamonds dilemma. Let me be perfectly blunt and say that I really don’t think that lab grown diamonds are a wise investment.
Due to advancements in diamond growing technology, the cost of producing lab-created diamonds becomes less expensive every day. This loosely translates into falling diamond prices.
The cost of lab-grown diamonds being produced today may very well be lower than diamonds produced just last week. Consequently, this is good for various types of industries that use about 1500 carats diamonds per year.
In 2013, about 99% of those diamonds were lab-created. Synthetic Diamonds producer IIa Technologies of Singapore is currently cranking out more than 300,000 carats of lab grown diamonds per year!
Lower production costs and stiff competition are causing the price of synthetic diamonds to fall more and more with each passing day. This might seem like a boom to consumers shopping for a diamond engagement ring, but I’m going to let you in on a little secret. None of my friends in the diamond business are investing in lab-grown diamonds for inventory… Not one, nada, zilch, zero.
Why Would Anybody Buy Synthetic Diamonds?
The only legitimate reason I can think of to buy a lab-grown diamond is the lower price. However, the lower price of lab-created diamonds is a Catch 22, because they depreciate in value faster than a rabbit can breed.
The fact is that none of my friends in the diamond business are investing in lab grown diamonds for inventory. Rapid improvements in technology make producing lab-created diamonds less expensive every day.
There will always be companies like Brilliant Earth that are willing to sell lab-created diamonds. After all, there will always be people who are seeking an alternative to natural diamonds. Be that as it may, ask yourself why they don’t want them back-in on trade:
Brilliant Earth is proud to offer a free lifetime diamond upgrade for any loose diamond purchased from Brilliant Earth. Excluding their lab-grown diamonds.
Hmmm, now isn't that interesting? I wonder how many people actually read the fine print before buying a lab-created diamond. In contrast, I wonder how many of their customers wish they had when it comes time to upgrade?
The Real Cost of Lab-Created Diamonds:
Naturally, I’ve read all the hype about diamonds grown in a laboratory being conflict-free. Truth be told, I’m good with the protection provided by the Kimberley Process and the efforts of the World Diamond Council.
No system is ever going to be perfect, but things are moving in the right direction. Say what you will about the conditions in any sort of mine, the diamond industry contributes to the livelihood of approximately 10 million worldwide.
“For our people, every diamond purchase represents food on the table; better living conditions; better healthcare; safe drinking water; more roads to connect our remote communities and much more.”
- President Mogae of Botswana - June 7, 2006.
Sometimes people tell me that they want a lab grown diamond because they don’t want to support any kind of conflict or bad working conditions. I totally get that, but the flip side of the coin is no working conditions, which equates to no money and starvation.
My girlfriend is from Taxco, Mexico which used to be the silver capital of Mexico. It was once a booming little town where most of the people were employed by the local silver mine.
Would you care to guess what happened when the mine closed? Her family tells me that silver mining is hard work, backbreaking, grueling, hot, sweaty, hard work… that they wish was still available to them.
Lab-created Diamonds from Brilliant Earth:
Clearly, you know by now that I’m not a fan of lab grown diamonds. However, it’s not my place to tell you what to buy or wear. The fact that I believe lab-created diamonds to be one of the biggest consumer frauds of the 21st century is just that, my own personal belief.
Consequently, I think that the people manufacturing and promoting lab-grown diamonds stand to make a small fortune selling them. Being able to say that they’re sustainable and environmentally friendly makes them sound like such a wonderful alternative to natural diamonds.
However, the difference of a word or two changes the meaning of everything:
Think of the Sesame Street Song:
"One of these things is not like the others… One of these things just doesn’t belong… Can you tell which thing is not like the others, by the time I finish this song?”
From a technical perspective, lab-created diamonds are synthetic. Under those circumstances, they’re never going to be real diamonds. Imagine the look on her face when you drop down on one knee and present her with a Synthetic Diamond.
Be sure to do it within the return period allocated by the vendor. After all, if she rejects your proposal, then you may want to return it. Also, remember that lab-grown diamonds are not eligible for an upgrade. Need I say more?