Lab-grown diamonds are experiencing a surge in popularity as more people seek out affordable alternatives. According to some jewellers, interest in lab-grown diamonds has grown by more than 2,000% in the past five years. These diamonds are physically and chemically identical to natural diamonds, but can cost up to 85% less. In a study of 1,500 individuals planning to get married, 70% said they would be willing to choose a lab-grown diamond. The main reasons cited for this preference were value for money (55%) and sustainability (43%). Additionally, 69% of respondents admitted they would not be able to tell the difference between lab-grown and natural diamonds.
To illustrate the growing acceptance of lab-grown diamonds, a video was created showing passers-by being surprised and unable to distinguish between lab-grown and natural diamonds. This trend is exemplified by the London-based diamond retailer Queensmith, which has seen a staggering 2,860% increase in lab-grown diamond sales within five years. In 2019, lab-grown diamonds accounted for only 1% of overall diamond sales for the retailer, but this year, that figure has risen to 81%, with the jeweller projected to sell 1,900 lab-grown diamonds.
A spokesperson for Queensmith highlighted the reasons behind this shift, stating that lab-grown diamonds provide a more affordable and environmentally friendly alternative. Despite the positive response, the study found that 46% of respondents were not even aware that lab-grown diamonds existed. However, with increasing awareness, demand for lab-grown diamonds is expected to continue to rise.
The study also uncovered interesting insights about engagement rings and wedding priorities. More than half of those surveyed (53%) said they would choose a less expensive engagement ring in order to spend more on their wedding day. The wedding venue (53%) and wedding outfit (34%) were identified as the main priorities, with wedding rings (31%) in third place. Furthermore, 71% of respondents believed that lab-grown diamonds would become the new normal in the future. In fact, 27% already owned jewelry with lab-grown diamonds, while 32% knew someone who had purchased such jewelry.
Not limited to weddings, lab-grown diamonds are also becoming popular as gifts for partners. The top choices for gifts containing non-mined diamonds were necklaces (52%), earrings (50%), and bracelets (44%). However, despite the growing interest, only 26% of those polled felt they had a good understanding of what lab-grown diamonds are.
A spokesperson for Queensmith acknowledged that there is room for improvement in people’s understanding of lab-grown diamonds, but highlighted the increasing sales and upward trend. They emphasized that although lab-grown diamonds may not be as rare as natural diamonds, they are equally beautiful and provide a more eco-friendly option for those who might otherwise be unable to afford them.
Lab-grown diamonds are created using two methods: chemical vapour deposition (CVD) and high-pressure high temperature (HPHT). During the HPHT process, pure carbon is subjected to immense heat and pressure, causing it to crystallize into a diamond. HPHT diamonds are often considered to be of better quality than CVD diamonds, and any metal traces within them are usually minuscule and not visible to the naked eye.