We all know diamonds have long been associated with engagement and marriage.
But a diamond that’s going to be a girl’s best friend doesn’t necessarily have to break the bank — in part thanks to the increasingly popularity of some the best lab-created diamonds.
Check Out These Sites for Cheap Prices on Lab-Created Diamonds
Man-made diamonds offer a real advantage over the real deal: They tend to be priced about 30% cheaper on average than natural stones. And most gemologists can’t tell the difference because the new breed of lab-grown stones have the exact same chemical signature as natural diamonds.
The market for lab-grown diamonds tends to skew younger. The 2006 Leonardo DiCaprio movie Blood Diamond helped fuel a social media backlash around natural diamonds and their drawbacks. The film laid bare the violence that accompanies the diamond trade and the inherently dangerous and ecologically disastrous mining practices behind the so-called “conflict diamond” industry.
So, it’s a sign of the times that the percentage of people who favor natural diamonds is shrinking. According to one recent study, only 45% of consumers between the ages of 18 and 35 said they prefer natural diamonds to lab-grown diamonds.
The Economics of the Lab-Grown Diamond Industry
The market for the best lab-created diamonds is broadening every year. Consulting company Bain says production of lab diamonds is up by 15% to 20% a year, according to reports. Still, lab-grown diamonds only have roughly 2% of total market share.
However, that could change soon thanks to a collapse in production costs for lab-grown diamonds. A 1-carat lab diamond cost an average of around $4,000 to create in 2008. Just 10 short years later, that price plummeted to between $300 and $500 at last check.
The decrease in production costs is driving a surge in discounts on the lab stones. One diamond industry analyst cited by the Financial Times noted the average discount for a 1 carat lab-grown stone compared to a natural diamond increased from 29% per cent in January 2018 to 43% by the end of the year.
De Beers Enters the Lab-Created Diamond Business
Traditional players in the diamond business can no longer ignore all the buzz around lab-created diamonds. In fact, industry leader De Beers has a new service called Lightbox to sell man-made diamonds.
With Lightbox, you can buy a 1-carat lab-created diamond in pink, blue or white for $800. Then you can have them set the stone in silver ($100) or 10-carat gold ($200), resulting in a beautiful man-made diamond ring for $1,000 or less. You can see a simple explanation of their very transparent pricing here.
As for presentation, the diamond you order from Lightbox comes in a candy-colored cardboard box. Sure, it’s not exactly the famed Tiffany Blue Box, but your ring sure will be a lot cheaper.
The power of the Internet makes shopping for a man-made diamond easier than ever. Below is an alphabetized list of options for the best lab-grown diamonds.
- Ada Diamonds
- Brilliant Earth
- Diamond Foundry
- Lightbox Jewelry
- Pure Grown Diamonds
- 1215 Diamonds
As always, money expert Clark Howard recommends shopping around to get the perfect lab-created diamond of your dreams.
Here’s Clark Howard’s Take on Lab-Created Diamonds
The consumer champ likes the idea of lab-created diamonds as a way to save money, but says the decision really comes down to personal preference.
“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,” Clark says. “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,” he continues. “Would you be happy with a man-made diamond? Or must you have nothing less than what Mother Nature produces?”
If you fall into that latter category, Clark has long talked about Costco as a great place to buy your natural diamonds because of the tightly controlled markup in price.