Did you know that there are actually two different types of diamonds commonly used to make diamond earrings? While you might think that all diamonds are derived directly from the earth, lab-grown diamonds that are formed in man-made settings have become incredibly popular in recent years. Lab-grown diamonds look exactly the same as mined diamonds, but are made via processes that are slightly more environmentally friendly than mining. Lab-grown and mined diamonds can also differ considerably in price, depending on supply and demand. When looking for a new pair of diamond earrings, you might not be sure what type of diamond to choose. Luckily, we’re here to break down the fundamental differences between lab-grown and mined diamonds so that you can pick out the perfect new pair of diamond earrings to wear or gift to a loved one.
Differences in Formation
The biggest difference between lab-grown and mined diamonds is how they’re formed.
Mined Diamond Formation
Mined diamonds are developed deep beneath the surface of the earth when carbon particles are subjected to a great amount of heat and pressure generated by the Earth’s core. A natural diamond takes approximately one to three billion years to form, which is about 25 to 75 percent of our planet’s whole lifespan! Given this, there are a finite amount of diamonds that are present within the world. To extract these diamonds to be used in jewelry, the diamonds must be mined.
Large-scale diamond mining became extremely popular in the late 1800’s, and added to the rise in the popularity of diamond jewelry for citizens of all different class sizes. However, as time has gone on, the diamond mining process has proven to cause an unfortunate deal of harm to the environment. In areas where diamond mines exist, there’s been a noticeable increase in deforestation, fossil fuel emissions, and pollution. Additionally, diamond supply has decreased considerably in recent years, so natural diamonds have become harder to extract from the Earth, with some mining attempts proving fruitless.
Lab-Grown Diamond Formation
In comparison to mining, lab-grown diamonds can be far more environmentally ethical in their production. This is especially true of lab-grown diamonds made via CVD, also known as Chemical Vapor Deposition. In this process, a diamond seed (a small sliver of an existing diamond) is placed in a vacuum sealed chamber. Within the chamber, carbon gasses are turned into plasma and the carbon atoms build up on the diamond seed to form a new diamond. This process takes about a month to complete, so you won’t have to wait a billion years to get a new diamond! A rough CVD lab-grown diamond resembles a cube, until it’s cut and polished into the desired diamond shape by a master craftsperson. CVD emits far less fossil fuels than mining does, and doesn’t impact the environment via means of deforestation. As such, CVD diamonds are considerably more sustainable than mined diamonds.
Lab-grown diamonds can also be created by means of HPHT, which stands for high pressure, high temperature. HPHT requires a diamond seed to be placed in pure carbon matter and subjected to high temperature and pressure in order to make a rough diamond. However, given the energy required to produce such high temperatures and pressures, HPHT diamonds are not considered as environmentally ethical as CVD diamonds.
Diamond Earrings: The Perfect Gift
Diamond earrings are the perfect gift for any holiday, anniversary, or birthday. If you want to give your loved one a pair of diamond earrings that are created with environmental sustainability in mind, you’ll want to look into lab-grown earrings. However, if you’re looking for ones with stones that might be considered more rare, you could choose a pair of diamond earrings made with mined diamonds.
One important thing to consider in regards to your diamond earring purchase is price;lab-grown diamonds tend to cost less than mined diamonds, given that mined diamonds are in fewer supply. However, this doesn’t mean that lab-grown diamond earrings are of lesser quality than those made with mind diamonds. In fact, the Federal Trade Commission considers both lab-grown diamonds and mined diamonds to be real diamonds of the same caliber. You want to get a pair of diamond earrings that align with your ethics and your budget, so it’s best to do your research on whether lab-grown or mined diamond earrings are right for you.
While similar in appearance, lab-grown diamond earrings differ from mined diamond earrings in a number of fundamental ways. First and foremost is the way that the two types of diamonds are formed and harvested: while mined diamonds are formed naturally within the Earth over billions of years and later extracted via mining, lab-grown diamonds are made within weeks utilizing man-made technology. Due to a lack of supply, mined diamonds cost more than lab-grown diamonds, but both are equal in quality. Now that you know the difference between lab-grown and mined diamonds, what type of diamond earrings do you think you’ll purchase next?