Lab Grown Diamonds - Jewellery's Answer to Fast Fashion or a Genuine Alternative to Diamonds?

Decoding the Diamond Dilemma: Real Diamonds vs. Lab-Grown Diamonds

Diamonds have long captivated humanity with their allure, symbolising love, commitment, and luxury. However, recent years have witnessed a seismic shift in the diamond industry, with the emergence of lab-grown diamonds challenging the supremacy of their natural counterparts. In this blog post, we delve into the intricate debate surrounding real diamonds versus lab-grown diamonds, exploring their unique characteristics, ethical implications, and future value.

The Timeless Elegance of Real Diamonds:

Natural diamonds, forged deep within the Earth's mantle over millions of years, embody unparalleled beauty, durability, and rarity. Their formation, under immense pressure and heat, results in a gemstone of extraordinary hardness and brilliance. A diamond has always been a coveted treasure for generations holding sentimental value as family heirlooms, each carrying its own unique and captivating backstory.

All mining processes have drawn criticism over the last 100 years. Whether it be based on corruption, illicit practices and earth-destroying aspects. This has created positive change for many mining processes and a positive socioeconomic impact for the communities reliant on the industry. Initiatives like the Kimberley Process have helped combat the trade of conflict diamonds, ensuring ethical sourcing practices and contributing to global peace efforts. Advancements in sustainable mining practices underscore the industry's commitment to environmental stewardship. Companies are increasingly focusing on land restoration, reducing carbon emissions, and protecting wildlife habitats. This has helped align the industry to compliance standards that satisfy evolving consumer preferences for eco-friendly products. 

Diamonds are however an expensive mineral to mine and their uses in industry as one of the hardest materials known to man make it a logical product to try and recreate in a laboratory to bring the prices down for industrial use.

In 1954, General Electric started the journey to the creation of laboratory-grown diamonds, where their researchers were able to build a machine that squeezed carbon so hard it turned into nature’s hardest substance: a diamond. 

Many years of development since then, and of course, the lab-grown diamond continues to serve the industry and has made its way into the jewellery industry as a more cost-effective version of the “real deal”.  Even the world’s largest diamond distributor, De Beers, has their own lab-grown diamond manufacturing facility, Lightbox, to capitalise on their marketshare of this $11 billion industry. 

Lab-Grown Diamonds: Ethical Alternatives or Ethical Ambiguity?

Created through controlled laboratory processes that mimic natural diamond formation, these diamonds possess identical physical, chemical, and optical properties to their natural counterparts. Lab-grown diamonds offer consumers a more affordable option without compromising on quality or beauty. However, as with any product that can be mass-produced, the basics of economics begin to apply - supply outreaches demand and slowly the price starts to come down devaluing the product. So much so, that you can now buy a 1-carat lab-grown diamond on Temu for under $1000.

Whilst the lab-grown industry has paraded its ethical and environmental “green-gemstone” status, recent scrutiny has cast doubt on the sustainability claims of lab-grown diamond manufacturers. Questions have been raised about the energy-intensive production processes, toxic gases and a general lack of transparency in supply chains. Concerns persist regarding the long-term environmental impact and social implications of large-scale lab-grown diamond production.

“Many companies are based in India, where about 75 per cent of electricity comes from burning coal. They use words like ‘sustainable’ and ‘environmentally-friendly’ on their websites but don’t post their environmental impact reports and aren’t certified by third parties.” writes Isabella O’Malley, Associated Press.

The Future Outlook: Navigating the Diamond Market Landscape

As lab-grown diamonds flood the market and prices continue to decline, the future value of these synthetic gems remains uncertain. While lab-grown diamonds offer affordability and a level of ethical appeal for some, their lack of exclusivity and potential oversupply pose challenges for long-term investment and value retention.

Edahn Golan, an expert in diamond market statistics, recently noted that the wholesale prices of lab-grown diamonds have plummeted by a staggering 86.5% since the third quarter of 2018 and this price drop in costs is not reflected in the jewellery industry. Something insurance companies are cognisant of when they are adjusting for market values on claims processed.

In contrast, real diamonds, with their timeless elegance and enduring legacy, continue to hold both their value and their allure as coveted symbols of love and luxury.  As with all luxury goods, the proliferation of “fakes” only serves to bolster the reputation and value of the original genuine product. 

We predict the value of diamonds will continue to increase in time, and even more so as they start to stand out in the market as coveted luxurious items. Our diamond suppliers in Antwerp would likely concur.


Ultimately, the choice between real diamonds and lab-grown diamonds is a deeply personal one, influenced by individual preferences, values and priorities. Whether you prioritise the ethereal beauty of natural diamonds or the ethical appeal of lab-grown alternatives, there's a gemstone that resonates with your unique sensibilities.


As we navigate the complex landscape of the diamond market, one thing remains clear: diamonds, whether natural or lab-grown, hold a special place in our hearts and culture. Whether you opt for the timeless elegance of real diamonds or the ethical appeal of lab-grown alternatives, your choice reflects your values and aspirations. At John Franich Jewellers, we understand the significance of this decision and are committed to providing you with exquisite diamond jewellery that embodies your unique style and values. Explore our curated collection of natural diamonds, and embark on a journey of timeless elegance and ethical sophistication.

John Franich will happily source lab-grown diamonds for custom-made pieces should clients wish to consider this option. Book an appointment to discuss this in more detail with Jenni or John Franich who will be able to show you a range and talk you through the options.

For further reading on your options for diamonds and look-a-like diamonds, read our article here.


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