Daniel Namdar here, and this #diamondtalk I wanted to delve into the hot topic in our industry; Lab Grown vs natural diamonds. Are they really the same?
In general when you read about a topic like this- it’s usually written by someone who has a vested interest in selling either natural or lab grown diamonds and therefore is biased. Although we at Namdar sell natural diamonds; I wanted to try and give an honest explanation on the topic- without trying to promote one over the other- and just explain what they are.
So first things first- what’s a diamond? To make a long story short and skip over all the details that no one really cares about- it’s a type of rock that’s formed by carbon atoms under high pressure and temperature, that when cut well, can reflect light (aka shine) very nicely. There are many things that affect the value, but some key factors are beauty, durability, and most importantly- demand . For centuries diamonds have been a symbol of wealth, status, and achievement, and till today it’s an accepted part of culture that diamonds carry value. Due to people continuously wanting to own and wear diamonds, the prices have been steady and even gone up over time.
Until recently diamonds we’re only grown out of the ground and even though people have tried to mimic the look of a diamond, with things like cubic zirconia or moissanite etc, it was always just that, a cheap attempt at a copy but not the real thing at all.
This all changed when Humans figured out a way to grow a diamond in a lab. They managed to perfectly mimic the conditions that can create a diamond. The end result is a stone with the same exact chemical composition, and so identical to a natural diamond, that an expert in the industry can’t even tell the difference between them without certain technology, (which is not true with an easily spotted CZ.)
I’m going to leave aside the whole argument about them being “more ethical” or “better for the environment” etc. because I genuinely don’t believe one is clearly better than the other. Blood diamonds are not really a thing anymore- it’s very easy to buy conflict free diamonds nowadays. And the natural diamond industry gives jobs to millions of people. Making a lab grown diamond also uses a lot of energy; so at the end of the day, I don’t think anyone can objectively tell you as a fact that one is better for the world than the other.
So what’s the difference? Why pay more for something when you can get the exact same thing for less?
Take the following example: Some paintings go for hundreds of thousands and even millions of dollars. There is a Picasso painting called ‘Woman of the Algiers’ that sold for $106.5 million. Now picture a technology that could scan that painting and create an EXACT replica. Same materials, weight, size, frame, even signature- everything exactly the same. A replica so good, that even an expert art collector looking at the original next to the replica, would not be able to tell which is which without some kind of technology. Would it be considered “the same thing”? The answer is technically, yes, it’s the same exact thing, but not really. At the end of the day, even the best replica, is exactly that; a replica. The key difference: the artist. The painting is expensive because a genius named Pablo Picasso painted it, not some computer.
The case with diamonds is the same, except in our situation- the artist is the Earth. The creation of diamonds out of such a chemically chaotic yet organized world is remarkable. No man can decide for the earth to make another Billion copies, or how they’ll look.
Now all that being said- there’s nothing wrong with a replica. Not everyone can afford an original Picasso or a Van Gogh, but many still want to enjoy a beautiful painting and hang it in their homes. Not everyone can afford a 4ct diamond, but they want to have that big shiny rock on their finger. Markets for both exist, which is why I don’t think the lab grown market is going anywhere.
One thing to be said about the value of lab grown diamonds, is that due to the limitless capabilities of manufacturing- there’s no telling how low the value ‘can’ go. (One of the things that makes Bitcoin valuable and an enticing investment is the guaranteed finite supply.) But if you’re not a reseller, and just want the bling, then that shouldn’t bother you too much anyways.
As always, buying diamonds and jewelry is a very personal and intimate choice and there is no right or wrong. The only task is to find something that makes you happy.
That was my best shot at an honest explanation on the topic, I hope you enjoyed, and as always, feel free to reach out if you’d like to discuss further!