5 June 2023

Make a lab-grown diamond your best friend and get more dazzle for your dollar

| Katrina Condie
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Spot the difference between natural and lab-grown diamonds… there is none! Photo: Michelle Kroll.

Lab-grown diamond engagement rings are becoming popular with couples seeking sustainable gems that offer more bang for their hard-earned buck.

Experienced jewellers and gemologists can’t tell the difference between natural mined and lab-grown diamonds, so it makes sense that more ‘regular’ Canberrans are choosing the latter when it comes time to pop the question.

Unique Diamonds general manager Mia Somerville says there is no physical or chemical difference between the natural and cultured gems, which share the exact same visual and chemical properties.

“The diamonds are grown in labs overseas using a method that replicates the high pressure, high temperature conditions in the earth that turns carbon into diamonds,” she says.

“People come into the studio asking about lab-grown diamonds and we show them both options. When they can’t see any difference, they usually choose the lab-grown diamond.”

Mia says those who opt for a lab-grown diamond will walk away with a gem twice the size, or more, of the natural alternative.

“If you’re talking about value for money, most people will choose a lab-grown diamond for its size,” she says.

“A 10-grand budget wouldn’t even get you a one carat natural diamond, but you could get a two carat lab-grown stone for that.”

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For many couples, choosing a more environmentally friendly diamond is just as important as the cost.

“Growing diamonds in the lab is much more sustainable than opening massive diamond mines and drilling into the earth’s core,” Mia says.

“Sustainability is a huge factor for many people.”

Diamonds take about two billion years to form naturally in the earth, whereas they take about two weeks to grow in a lab. And, both will last forever.

Technically, the only difference between the two types of diamonds is the presence of nitrogen in mined diamonds when the chemical structure is heavily scrutinised. Specialised equipment is needed to tell the difference.

Unique Diamonds general manager Mia Somerville shows a client a selection of diamonds over a glass of bubbles. Photo: Michelle Kroll.

Mia says lab-grown diamonds are graded for their quality and clarity and certified just like natural diamonds. They also come in a variety of colours including pink, green and blue.

They’re available in every shape, cut and colour variation as natural diamonds, so clients can choose the stone that best suits their occasion or personal taste.

Lab-grown diamonds are not to be confused with diamond simulants such as cubic zirconia or moissanite, which differ in appearance and chemical structure.

A cubic zirconia is a much softer stone and will scratch very easily, while moissanite is the most similar gemstone to a diamond in appearance and hardness.

A moissanite will reflect more colour than a diamond, but it’s much more difficult to tell the difference. The price of a cubic zirconium will be dramatically less than diamonds and moissanite.

Mia says anyone wanting to see a lab-grown diamond for themselves, should pop into the Unique Diamonds showroom in Kingston.

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Loved-up couples or anyone seeking that special gift can book an appointment with the expert team of designers who will sit down over a cuppa or glass of bubbles and guide them through what is often an overwhelming process.

“It is our mission to ensure our clients understand every aspect of their purchase, from diamond selection to jewellery insurance,” Mia says.

“This can not be a rushed process, so this is a space for long discussions, big decisions and exciting results.”

The team can custom-design the perfect piece of jewellery for any occasion using natural or lab-grown diamonds, as well as other precious stones – even your own gems.

A jewellery wholesaler since 2012, the team at Unique Diamonds prides itself on providing quality service, and ensuring each customer gains the education, support and guidance required to make that life-changing purchase.


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