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Fake vs. Real Diamonds: Which is better for an engagement ring?


After De Beers announced their move into the lab grown diamond market ‘LightBox’, it has created a lot of curiosity. The question that is most frequently asked is: are fake diamonds better or worse than real diamonds?

Lab grown diamonds are made through a 2 – 3 weeks process of mixing and matching chemicals and gasses and then placing the product in a pressurised machine to grow the diamond. Real diamonds take 1 to 3 billion years, yes, that’s right… Billions of years to form under the Earth - and then it takes another millions of years, volcanic eruptions to rise it to the top.

Lab-grown rings are almost structurally identical to real diamonds and are 10% – 15% cheaper too. This may sound like a dream come true, however, there are a few things to consider when comparing lab-grown diamonds and real diamonds for engagement rings:

The symbolism

Diamonds have a lot of cultural implications because they are rare. The process of forming a diamond takes at least billions of years, which relative to the human life is forever. Whereas lab grown diamonds can be made in 2 – 5 weeks. Romance isn’t exactly blossoming when you think of chemically engineered compounds made by scientists in a lab. No doubt the symbolic weight behind a real diamond compared to a lab-grown diamond doesn’t even scratch the surface. Engagement rings are a symbol of commitment to forever, and what better way to show that than giving a diamond that is rare and literally has taken forever to be made.

The scams

There are many different processes to create a lab-grown diamond, as well as many different types. Some are made with cheaper compounds, while others may be made through cheaper means. Because lab-grown diamonds and real diamonds are almost structurally identical to the human eye, business may pass lab-grown diamonds off as real. In one case in 2016 Kay Jewellers was replacing real diamonds. It was only when one vigilant customer went to check her recently repaired diamond that she found out that it was fake. This led to mass consumer boycotts towards Kay Jeweller. Imagine paying the same price of a real diamond for your engagement ring and then to receive a fake. You wouldn’t even know it’s a fake! The best way to find out is to ask your jeweller about where the diamonds are sourced and if there are any certificates to prove it.

Final say

Why is one of the biggest diamond miners and suppliers De Beers suddenly introducing lab-grown diamonds? Won’t this cannibalise their own market and business operations? The answer is no. The reason why De Beers and many other real diamond suppliers and businesses aren’t scrambling towards lab-grown diamond is that although it may be cheaper, it does not carry the same weight, symbolically speaking.

Lab-grown diamonds are seen as fake and more for non-serious affairs such as everyday affordable jewellery for the younger market. As marketing director of LightBox has said, their brand’s products were meant to be ‘viewed by consumers as playful accessories’, and that lab-grown diamonds are for people ‘who don’t want the weight and seriousness of a real diamond for everyday life’.

Ultimately which is better for your engagement ring? If you haven’t gathered from the final say, its hands down real diamonds.

If you are in the market for a diamond and require any assistance please feel free to contact us on 1300 361 873 or via the contact us page for more information.