Lab-Grown vs Natural Diamonds: What's the Sparkling Difference? - Robert Anthony Jewellers, Edinburgh

Lab-Grown vs Natural Diamonds: What's the Sparkling Difference?

Have you ever wondered about the captivating gems that adorn engagement rings? The choice between lab-grown and natural diamonds has become an intriguing topic in recent years. With both options possessing their own unique characteristics, it's essential to understand the differences and weigh the factors that matter most to you. In this article, we'll explore the captivating world of diamonds, addressing the most common questions that arise when buying an engagement ring. So, let's embark on a sparkling journey!

Unveiling the Secrets: Lab-Grown Diamonds Explained

The main difference between a lab-grown diamond and a natural diamond is its origin and formation process.

Natural diamonds are formed deep within the Earth's mantle over billions of years under high temperature and pressure conditions. They are created through a natural geological process involving carbon atoms being subjected to intense heat and pressure, causing them to crystallise into diamonds. These diamonds are then brought to the Earth's surface through volcanic activity.

On the other hand, lab-grown diamonds, also known as synthetic or man-made diamonds, are created in a laboratory setting. Scientists use high-pressure, high-temperature (HPHT) or chemical vapour deposition (CVD) methods to replicate the conditions necessary for diamond formation. By carefully controlling these processes, they can grow diamonds with the same crystal structure and physical properties as natural diamonds.

It's important to know that once lab-grown diamonds are created, they undergo the same cutting, polishing, and grading processes as natural diamonds, using the the 4 C’s: Clarity, Cut, Colour and Carat. This ensures they shine brilliantly and meet the highest standards of quality and beauty. From a chemical and physical perspective, lab-grown diamonds are nearly identical to natural diamonds. Both consist of carbon atoms arranged in a diamond lattice structure. They share the same hardness, brilliance, and durability. In fact, lab-grown diamonds are so similar to natural diamonds that specialised equipment is required to distinguish between them.

Are lab-grown diamonds more ethical?

When it comes to selecting an engagement ring, ethics and sustainability are increasingly important factors for many of us. The good news is that lab-grown diamonds are typically cultivated with fewer carbon emissions and a smaller ecological footprint.

If a more eco-friendly approach aligns with your desire to make responsible choices that help preserve our planet for future generations, a lab-grown diamond may be the right choice for you. By selecting a lab-grown diamond, you're not only making a stylish and stunning choice but also supporting an industry that values sustainability and ethical practices. Your engagement ring becomes a symbol of love and responsible consumerism, reflecting your commitment to a better future.

Sparkle Without Breaking the Bank: The Cost Comparison

Budget plays a vital role in any significant purchase, and engagement rings are no exception. For those seeking exceptional sparkle without the hefty price tag, lab-grown diamonds provide an enticing option. We'll discuss the cost differences between lab-grown and natural diamonds, helping you make an informed decision that aligns with your financial goals.

The primary distinction between the two lies in their origin and the time it takes for them to form. Natural diamonds are products of nature, while humans create lab-grown diamonds in a matter of weeks to months. This fundamental difference affects their availability and cost. Natural diamonds are rare and can be more expensive due to their limited supply, while lab-grown diamonds offer a more accessible and often much more affordable alternative.

See our range of lab-grown engagement rings.

What about Cubic Zirconia?

When searching for an alternative to natural diamonds, you may come across cubic zirconia (CZ), a popular diamond simulant. However, lab-grown diamonds are a superior choice in terms of quality and durability. 

Lab-grown diamonds share the same chemical composition and physical properties as natural diamonds, making them nearly indistinguishable. Their brilliance, hardness, and durability mirror those of natural diamonds, offering you an authentic and lasting gemstone. On the other hand, cubic zirconia is a synthesized material that lacks the same optical properties and longevity.

Lab-grown diamonds exhibit the natural beauty and sparkle found in genuine diamonds, capturing and refracting light in a way that closely resembles nature's brilliance. In contrast, cubic zirconia tends to have a more artificial-looking shine and may lack the depth and fire of a genuine diamond.

Cubic zirconia is also not as durable. Lab-grown diamonds have the same hardness as natural diamonds, making them resistant to scratching and suitable for everyday wear. Conversely, cubic zirconia is softer and more susceptible to scratches and abrasion over time.

While their quality and visual allure may be quite far apart, it is worth noting that individuals may choose cubic zirconia over natural diamonds for its affordability, fashion versatility, reduced emotional attachment, and lower risk in situations such as travel or security concerns.


Choosing between lab-grown and natural diamonds is a deeply personal decision. While natural diamonds evoke a sense of wonder through their ancient origins, lab-grown diamonds offer ethical advantages and affordability without compromising on beauty or quality. By exploring the fascinating aspects of each option, you can confidently select the perfect gem that resonates with your values and desires.

So, whether you're captivated by the allure of nature's masterpieces or seeking an ethical and budget-friendly alternative, the world of diamonds offers a sparkling choice for every unique individual.

Remember, in the end, it's the sentiment behind the diamond that truly shines the brightest.