Lab-made diamonds are cheap and indistinguishable from the real thing

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Lab-made diamonds are cheap and indistinguishable from the real thing
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Here’s something that’s hard for traditionalists to get their arms around: Diamonds can now be made in a lab and they’re absolutely magnificent!

From a carbon seed to a sparkling rock

‘They’re made from a carbon seed placed in a microwave chamber with methane or another carbon-containing gas and superheated into a glowing plasma ball,’ Bloomberg Business reports. After 10 weeks of this process, you end up with a perfectly formed diamond that is indistinguishable from a traditional mined diamond. And it’s much cheaper too!
 
Man-made diamonds are catching on with a small segment of people up to age 35, according to Bloomberg. Roughly half of people say they want the real thing and will accept no substitutes. But that means the other half of people are at least intrigued by this idea.
 
This isn’t cubic zirconia we’re talking about here. These diamonds have an identical chemical makeup — not similar, identical — to a diamond that is dug out of the earth. These man-made diamonds are starting to appear in more and more retail stores and you just flat out save money.
 
I think on this score, it’s really just a question of what you’re happy with. Would you be happy with a man-made diamond? Or must you have nothing less than what Mother Nature produces?
 
The growth in the man-made market is expected to go up by around 1,000 percent over the next several years, Bloomberg says. At some point, it’s going to represent a meaningful segment of the market. And that’s without the risk of mining diamonds, which is an inherently dangerous activity!

Read more: How the new EMV chip cards work for consumers

More diamond for your dollar at Costco

When it comes to jewelry, I’ve long said you get more for your money at Costco. But now an independent appraisal I saw on Good Morning America confirms it.

Good Morning America  ran a segment where they had an expert compare similar diamonds found at  Tiffany and Costco Wholesale.

The Tiffany diamond, which was being sold for $16,500, was appraised at only $10,500 — meaning it was being sold for 58% more than its real worth on the open market.

The Costco diamond of similar size was being sold for $6,600 but was worth 17% more than that price at appraisal!

The reality is Costco’s markups are teeny tiny. With Tiffany, you pay for image, luxury square footage of those stores, and that little blue box!

This whole issue came up because Tiffany actually tried to sue Costco when the wholesaler advertised certain cuts of diamonds in their cases as ‘Tiffany diamonds.’

Costco admits to BusinessWeek that the advertising was stupid. Nothing illegal, but a dumb move nonetheless. I thought it was very transparent of Costco to admit that they’d made a misstep!

Read more: 9 items to always buy used
 

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Clark Howard About the author:
Clark Howard is a consumer expert whose goal is to help you keep more of the money you make. His national radio show and website show you ways to put more money in your pocket, with advice you can trust. More about Clark
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