Blog - Simulant Diamonds Vs. Lab-Created Diamonds cover1

Lab-Created Diamonds vs. Simulant Diamonds: Everything You Need To Know

If you’re looking for an affordable alternative to a traditional diamond, you’ve come to the right place. We’re explaining the pros and cons of real diamonds and diamond simulants, so you can choose the right stone for you.

Simulant Diamonds Vs. Lab-Created Diamonds cover1

Note: At James Allen, we sell only U.S. Federal Trade Commission-certified true diamonds, which includes both lab-created diamonds and earth-created diamonds.

What’s A “Real Diamond”?

The term “diamond” refers to a very specific stone: the crystalline form of carbon. While other forms of carbon exist, what makes diamond special is its particular atomic configuration. A carbon atom can bond with a maximum of 4 other atoms – and in diamond, all the available spots are taken by…other carbon atoms! That’s right, it’s carbon all the way. And this results in an extremely stable, super hard, super sparkling stone. 

Loose diamonds 4
Earth-created diamonds

The Lab Created Diamond

The crystalline form of carbon we call “diamond” can be attained only through intense heat, constant pressure, and a good amount of time. Nowadays, we can achieve that in a lab in specialized machines that knock a few billion years off the cooking time. The result is a lab-made diamond that differs from an earth-created diamond in name only. If you were to look at both types of diamonds through a professional jeweler’s loupe, or if you were to inspect both diamonds on a molecular level, you would see no difference. The same result achieved through very different processes. Lab-grown diamonds and earth-created diamonds are optically and chemically identical, the only difference being their relative origins. And this difference in origin leads lab grown diamonds to flaunt a much lower price point.

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Lab-created diamonds

Simulants, however, are not diamonds. They’re different minerals that bear a resemblance to diamonds. We’ll dig into two of the most popular diamond simulants: cubic zirconia and moissanite.

Diamond Simulants: Cubic Zirconia and Moissanite

Diamond simulants are various types of man-made stones that are synthesized for the purpose of being diamond lookalikes. These clear, sparkling stones mimic the beauty of a diamond, but at a much lower cost. However, they do display marked differences to both lab-created and earth-mined diamonds in non-visual traits. Why does this matter? It’s important to remember that clarity is only one characteristic of jewelry stones. Color, resilience, and sparkle vary between these different stones; stones’ specific characteristics can greatly affect how you wear them in jewelry, and their lifetime cost to you.

Cubic Zirconia

What is cubic zirconia?

Cubic zirconia is arguably the most popular diamond simulant. It’s a man-made, crystalline form of zirconium dioxide. 

How is cubic zirconia made?

In a laboratory, zirconium oxide powder is melted into various stabilizing agents at a super-high temperature of nearly 5,000 degrees F. When left to cool, this mineral mixture forms crystals, which can then be cut and polished into jewelry-grade stones.

Moissanite

What is moissanite?

Moissanite is a form of silicon carbide crystal that’s synthesized in a lab. The result is a clear stone that, on the surface, bears a striking resemblance to real diamonds

How is moissanite made?

Moissanite occurs naturally, but it’s incredibly rare. Thus, all the affordable moissanite on the market today is created in a lab. 

Distinguishing Between Diamonds and Diamond Simulants

Durability

The standard measurement to determine a stone’s strength is the Mohs scale of mineral hardness. It describes a mineral’s resistance to being scratched, and is measured from 0 (maximum softness) to 10 (maximum hardness).

Lab-created diamonds and earth-created diamonds:

Diamonds are the toughest stones out there. They score a maximum 10 on the Mohs scale, meaning they can withstand absolutely anything you throw at them in your daily life. This durability is one of the reasons diamonds are the go-to stone for engagement rings, which are worn daily for decades at a time. Because diamonds’ structure never changes, they can be passed on as family heirlooms. Both lab-grown diamonds and earth-created diamonds will last for, well, forever. 

Moissanite:

While moissanite isn’t the hardest mineral out there, it’s close. It scores a 9.25 on the Mohs scale. It’s more susceptible to scratching than diamonds are, but it still holds up extremely well to daily wear-and-tear.

Cubic zirconia:

Cubic zirconia is moderately hard. At an 8 on the Mohs scale, its resilience is comparable to that of other jewelry stones like emerald, beryl, and amethyst. Because it’s scratch-resistant, but not scratch-proof, cubic zirconia (particularly much-worn stones like those in engagement rings) often acquires many tiny scratches that cloud its appearance. When this occurs, a professional jeweler can recut the stone to restore its clarity.

Laurel Side-Stone Diamond Engagement Ring

14K White Gold Laurel Leaves Diamond Engagement Ring

“Love it! I got an oval diamond for my girlfriend and she loves it, so many compliments about the vintage style to the setting. It looks amazing.”
– Brian L.

Marquise Side Stone Diamond Engagement Ring

14K White Gold Shared Prong Marquise Side Stone Diamond Engagement Ring

I am absolutely in love with my ring! It is so beautiful. The diamond is sparkly and the setting is also very beautiful. Dainty and feminine.
– Christine L.

Lifespan

Lab-created diamonds and earth-created diamonds

How long do diamonds last? Well, you’ll never have to throw one out due to deterioration. As the famous De Beer’s slogan correctly claims, “A diamond is forever.” The oldest diamonds found have existed for nearly 4 billion years, and they’re holding strong. You can rest assured that any diamond you buy, whether earth-mined or lab-created, can be comfortably passed down through the generations. 

Moissanite:

Though not as long-lasting as diamonds, moissanite will comfortably last for decades without any significant degradation in quality. However, since it’s a relatively newly-recognized mineral, its exact lifespan is unknown. Although discovered over a century ago, jewelry-grade moissanite crystals only began to be synthesized in the 1970’s and only became widely available in the 1980’s. Meaning, many couples getting engaged today with moissanite engagement rings were born before moissanite engagement rings became a thing. 

Cubic Zirconia:

Cubic zirconia are made for short-term wear. With daily wear, you can expect them to last less than 5 years. This means cubic zirconia is a great “for the time being” stone; you can wear it as a placeholder until you replace it with your dream diamond. Be advised that contact with common chemicals will cause cubic zirconia to lose its shine, making it wearable for shorter periods of time. So make sure to remove cubic zirconia jewelry before doing daily tasks like putting on lotion, using cleaning supplies, or using hairspray.

Martini Diamond Stud Earrings

14K Yellow Gold Three Prong Martini Round Brilliant Diamond Stud Earrings

“These diamond studs far exceeded any expectations. They truly glisten. Quality is outstanding. So happy with them!”
– Anita P.

Halo Diamond Stud Earrings

14K White Gold Halo Lab Created Diamond Stud Earrings

Beautiful earrings for a great price! I ordered the VS1 1CT lab-created diamond halo earrings. They are stunning and my wife loves them. Great quality and the pricing is competitive.
-Shivam J.

Color

Lab-created diamonds and earth-created diamonds

Colorless isn’t the only option! Due to trace elements in their composition, diamonds can display a range of colors. Plus, diamonds’ color is permanent. It won’t change at high temperatures or fade over time. 

Moissanite:

Moissanite exhibits “thermochromism,” meaning that it is sensitive to color change at temperatures above 150° F (65 C). These are usually temporary, but these heat-sensitive color changes can sometimes be permanent.

Cubic zirconia:

Cubic zirconia doesn’t change color when exposed to heat, but under UV radiation it can turn color, albeit temporarily. Most commonly, it turns yellowish, light green, or white. Indoors your stone will remain clear, but if you go outside on a sunny day it may change hue.

Kite-Set Diamond Pendant Necklace

14K Yellow Gold Kite Set Solitaire Lab Created Diamond Pendant

‘My wife loves her new solitaire necklace. The chain is dainty, perfect length and great quality.”
– Kylie O.

Four-Prong Solitaire Diamond Pendant Necklace

14K White Gold Four Prong Basket Solitaire Lab Created Diamond Pendant

More incredible than I could have hoped! I have to say, I am so impressed! This design is just perfect and really lets the diamond shine.
– Maggie L.

Sparkle

A diamond’s sparkle is largely thanks to two qualities: brilliance and fire.

“Brilliance” is a specific term describing a gemstone’s ability to return white light. It’s measured by the refractive index; a higher refractive index indicates a greater amount of white light reflected. The more white light reflected, the brighter the gemstone appears to the human eye.

“Fire” refers to a gemstone’s ability to return colored light, and is measured by the dispersion score. The higher a gemstone’s dispersion, the more it will display a rainbow of colors.

Lab-created diamonds and earth-created diamonds

Diamonds have a refractive index of 2.42 and their faceting pattern returns light remarkably. They’re strikingly bright, but not too much so. Its dispersion is relatively low, at 0.044, so diamonds remain quite bright, with only minimal colorful sparkle. The combination of this brilliance (reflected white light) and fire (refracted color) give diamonds a truly balanced and unparalleled sparkle.

Moissanite:

Moissanite actually has a higher refractive index than diamonds, at 2.65, and thus appears incredibly bright under natural light. However, moissanite has crazy high dispersion: 0.104. This is why it reflects back a ton of colored light, leading to a “rainbow effect” that tends to overshadow its brilliance. The rainbow effect tends to make moissanite look fake to the well-trained eye, and is especially noticeable under natural light and in larger stones. In short, moissanite can often appear “too sparkly” under certain lights.

Cubic zirconia:

With a refractive index of 2.15, cubic zirconia is the least brilliant of the bunch. Its lower score means that it reflects less light back to the eye, appearing duller than both diamond and moissanite under identical light. It has a slightly higher dispersion than diamond, around 0.058, but isn’t very noticeable. Under natural light it will appear quite white, but it will definitely lack the sparkle of either diamond or moissanite.

Four Prong Diamond Tennis Bracelet

14K White Gold Four Prong Lab Created Diamond Tennis Bracelet

My girlfriend absolutely loved this bracelet. It looks amazing. Her eyes shined as bright as the diamonds on this piece when she opened the box. Definitely worth it.”
– Isidro O.

Bezel-Set Diamond Tennis Bracelet

14K Rose Gold Bezel Diamond Tennis Bracelet

This bracelet just exceeds my expectations! The diamonds sparkle, the bracelet is smooth, and overall the design is very nice! I just love my bracelet and NEVER take it off!
– Beth L.

Ideal Size

Lab-created diamonds and earth-created diamonds

Diamonds come in every carat. At James Allen, we sell loose diamonds in a huge range of carat sizes: from petite diamonds in 0.20 carats, all the way to large diamonds that are upwards of a whopping 20 carats. Diamonds’ stunning bright white brilliance and minimal color dispersal looks amazing in any carat weight.

Moissanite:

Moissanite’s intense rainbow effect increases as the stone gets larger. For this reason, it’s best to avoid large moissanite stones in jewelry. Stick with the smaller sizes; under 1 carat is best. Think: diamond for center stones, and moissanite for accent stones.

Cubic zirconia:

Cubic zirconia comes in as wide a range of carat sizes as diamonds do. While you can find cubic zirconia in as large a carat as you’d like, it’s best to choose an average-sized carat (around 1 carat) both to maximize the amount of light that hits the stone, and to avoid the relatively dull shine that becomes obvious in larger stones.

Seven-Stone Domed Diamond Anniversary Ring

14K Rose Gold Seven Stone Low Dome Basket Diamond Ring

“This was an anniversary gift. It’s a beautiful ring. I loved it!”
– Pankaj S.

Five-Stone Shared Prong Diamond Anniversary Ring

14K Yellow Gold Five Stone Shared Prong Contour Diamond Ring

I received this ring in honor of our 35th wedding anniversary and it didn’t disappoint. The size and clarity of the diamonds are perfect!
– Annette S.

Cost

Earth-created diamonds: 

Traditional diamonds are the most expensive choice. The process of discovering, mining, and shipping earth-created diamonds is resource-intensive; the high cost of bringing them to market has helped diamonds achieve their luxe reputation.

Lab-created diamonds:

For when you want a real diamond, but want to pay 30% less. Because the process of creating a diamond takes significantly less time and resources than mining a diamond from the earth does, lab-made diamonds cost significantly less than earth-mined diamonds.

Moissanite:

This is quite affordable compared to diamond, but it’s the more expensive of the diamond simulants. Moissanite costs about half of what a traditional diamond under 1 carat costs. As a traditional diamond increases in carat weight, comparable moissanites become relatively more affordable. 

Cubic zirconia:

Cubic zirconia is the most budget-friendly choice. It costs next to nothing compared to a traditional diamond. While a colorless, eye-clean 1 carat diamond could cost thousands of dollars, a comparable cubic zirconia will cost only a few dozen dollars.

Twisted Shank Diamond Engagement Ring

14K White Gold Twisted Shank Contemporary Solitaire

“Stunning diamond & band! Perfect engagement ring, my fiancèe was floored at how beautiful the ring was. It was exactly what she wanted and she cannot stop raving about it. I’m extremely happy with this purchase.”
– Christopher R.

Bezel-Set Solitaire Diamond Engagement Ring

14K Yellow Gold Comfort Fit Bezel Set Solitaire Engagement Ring

I love my ring. I love that it is a secure setting so that I don’t need to worry about prongs being damaged, and my diamond is insane – so sparkly!
– Anne B.

The Low-Down

Choose a classic earth-created diamond if:

  1. You love diamond’s sparkle
  2. You’ll wear your diamond jewelry often
  3. You admire the billions of years of history contained in each stone

Choose a modern lab-created diamond if:

  1. You love diamond’s sparkle
  2. You’ll wear your diamond jewelry often
  3. You want a large diamond at a lower price

Choose moissanite if:

  1. You’re on a budget
  2. You like small-carat stones
  3. You’ll wear your jewelry intensively

Choose cubic zirconia if:

  1. You’re on a budget
  2. You’ll wear your jewelry carefully and not every day
  3. You’re saving up for a more expensive stone

Choosing the stone that suits your lifestyle is an important part of designing meaningful jewelry that will last you throughout your life. And if you choose to buy either lab-created diamonds or earth-created diamonds, you can choose from 1000’s of beautiful options at James Allen.

Keep up on your diamond reading:

  1. Diamonds: The April Birthstone
  2. How To Take Care Of Your Diamond Jewelry
  3. Earth-Created Vs. Lab-Created Diamonds
  4. True Hearts™ Lab Created Diamonds
  5. Lab-Created Diamonds vs. Moissanite

Subscribe to our email list for access to secret sales, practical ring-buying tips, and $100 off your first purchase!

Rachel Hoar

Rachel is an unabashed linguistics fanatic who can identify the ancient Greek root of any word. She promises not to spray you with Windex.

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New Flex: True Hearts™ Lab Created Diamonds

In the market for a perfectly cut diamond, for less? You may want to scroll down.

Are you gearing up to pop the question to your significant other and still deciding on an engagement ring? If you’re been exploring our website, you may be familiar with our exclusive collection of True Hearts™ diamonds and our budget-friendly, but sparkling lab created diamonds. Good news: for the first time ever, it’s your chance to score the best of both with our brand new collection of True Hearts™ Lab-Created diamonds. Curious? Keep reading to get the down-low. Be sure to read until the end, because we’ve got a surprise in store for you.

1. What Exactly Are True Hearts™ Diamonds?

When you’re looking for a diamond cut with the most perfect precision, look no further than a True Hearts™ diamond – the premier choice for a diamond that sparkles like nobody’s business.

Why, you ask?

The answer is simple. Since cut determines a diamond’s sparkle, the best cut diamonds will give you the best sparkle. 

How do we get the best cut? Our True Hearts™ collection is crafted by the crème de la crème of diamond cutters and features a one-of-a-kind pattern that resembles hearts and arrows. Now that’s what we call romantic! Just in case you were wondering, this exceptional cut also results in facet positioning that acts like tiny mirrors (cool!), which contributes to its off-the-charts sparkle (yay!). By the way, fewer than 1% of the world’s diamonds qualify as a True Hearts™ diamond. 

Still not quite sure of the difference between a True Hearts™ diamond and an earth-created diamond? Feast your eyes on two diamonds below so we can make things crystal clear. Both of these diamonds have VS2 clarity, the same D color and weigh 1.14 and 1.12 carats respectively. However, there is an $860 price difference between the two. Why? The diamond on the right is a premier cut True Hearts™ diamond. You can tell by observing the perfect internal reflection of arrows when viewed from above and hearts when viewed from below. The result? Perfect sparkle.

An added bonus of choosing a True Hearts™ diamond is that it can actually appear larger than other diamonds of the same size. Yep, you heard right. A superior-cut diamond will offer better angles and symmetry, which allows light to refract more effectively. Lesser cut diamonds will “swallow” their light, making them look smaller, in addition to giving off less sparkle.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR

Interested in purchasing a True Hearts™ round-cut diamond? Keep the following tips in mind:

  • Consistency in the hearts and arrows pattern. You should see eight hearts and eight arrows, and each should be the same size.
  • Even color saturation. Each red, black and white hearts and arrow pattern should exhibit similar color distribution.
  • Optical symmetry is key. A symmetrical hearts and arrows pattern will result in maximum light return. 

In addition to round cut, our True Hearts™ collection is also available in princess and cushion cuts. 

2. Earth-Created Vs. Lab Created Diamonds: The Low Down

You may be wondering: What is a lab created diamond and how is it different from earth-created diamonds? We’re here to clarify a few points before you decide if a True Hearts Lab-Created Diamond™ is right for you.

Lab created diamonds are optically and chemically identical to earth-created diamonds. The only difference between the two is their origin.

  • Earth-created diamonds are sourced from below the earth’s surface.
  • Lab grown diamonds are created in simulated ‘below-ground’ conditions in a lab.

Needless to say, producing the special carbon arrangement of earth-created diamonds is intense. We’re talking high heat and super high pressure. Plus, very few places in the world are capable of producing earth-created diamonds.

Thanks to technology, we no longer need to go digging for our precious stones. Scientists are now able to simulate the required extreme conditions using specialized pressure chambers in a lab. Lab created diamonds are grown from tiny carbon “seeds” that develop in these chambers over months, as incredibly hot gases deposit carbon atom-by-atom onto the original seed. The result? A diamond packing the same quality and sparkle, produced a billion times quicker.

3. Enter True Hearts™ Lab Created Diamonds

Now that you’re more familiar with our dazzling collection of True Hearts™ and lab created diamonds, we have some dazzling news to share. James Allen is now offering you a chance to get your hands on the perfect sparkle of our True Hearts™ diamonds, for less. If you’re looking for the same perfect sparkle of a True Hearts™ diamond, with the affordability of a lab-created diamond, you can get both with our True Hearts™ and lab-created diamonds

Our collection of True Hearts™ lab-created diamonds are optically and chemically identical to True Hearts™ earth-created diamonds. Each True Hearts™ lab created diamond contains the same perfect internal symmetry and proportions as well as the highest gem grading for cut and polish found in True Hearts™ earth-created diamonds. The only difference between the two is their origin.

Four Prong Pendant

This light four prong wire basket is designed to showcase the unique beauty of a round brilliant diamond of your choice. Truly a classic design that is perfect for any occasion!

14K White Gold Four Prong Basket Solitaire Diamond Pendant

Kite Set Solitaire Pendant

The finely crafted four prong wire basket pendant features a kite orientation to add a twist to the traditional solitaire necklace.

14K Yellow Gold Kite Set Solitaire Diamond Pendant

Halo Diamond Pendant

This beautifully crafted pendant showcases a halo of sparkling lab created round brilliant diamonds that elegantly frame the lab created center diamond.

14K White Gold Halo Lab Created Diamond Pendant

CALLING ALL DIAMOND LOVERS!

Ready for some good news? For the first time ever, JamesAllen.com is offering 10% off True Hearts™ Lab Created diamonds. It’s like getting the best of both worlds: a super ideal cut diamond at a super accessible price point. If you’re someone who loves the highest quality diamonds and saving lots of money, this one’s for you! Now you can buy any of these gorgeous engagement rings and get bang for your buck.

Petite Pavé Engagement Ring

This French Cut pavé diamond engagement ring is created to maximize the amount of light that hits the diamonds from all sides. Custom tailored prongs are set into the shank of the ring, allowing a variety of bands to sit flush with the engagement ring. 

14K Rose Gold Pave Halo And Shank Diamond Engagement Ring Round Center

Pavé Halo & Shank Engagement Ring

This gorgeous engagement ring features pavé set diamonds on the halo and along each side of the shank, highlighting the round cut center diamond or gemstone of your choice.

14K Rose Gold Pave Halo And Shank Diamond Engagement Ring

Knife Edge Solitaire Engagement Ring

The knife edge design of this ring draws attention to the center diamond showcasing its brilliance without detracting from its beauty.

14K White Gold 2mm Knife Edge Solitaire Engagement Ring

Ready to shop True Hearts™ Lab-Created diamonds? Check out the articles below to get more inspiration!

Engagement ring catch your eye? Share the love on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, or in the comments below!

Subscribe to our email list for access to secret sales, practical ring-buying tips, and $100 off your first purchase!

lab-grown diamonds

Earth-Created Or Lab Grown Diamonds: Can You Spot The Difference?

We’ve lined up earth-created and lab grown diamonds. Think YOU can spot the difference?

Earth-Created Or Lab Grown Diamonds

Although lab grown diamonds are grown in a lab, they are real diamonds and have the same physical, chemical and visual properties as earth-created diamonds. With this striking similarity, begs the question: Is it possible to tell the two apart? Ironically, expert gemologists can’t differentiate between a lab-grown and earth-created diamond with the naked eye.

As you immerse yourself with our dazzling collection of engagement rings, anniversary rings, and gorgeous fine jewelry, we’ve highlighted jewelry featuring both earth-created and lab-grown diamonds. Think you know which is which? Take a moment to learn about lab-grown diamonds on our website, then start scrolling.

Round Lab Grown Diamonds

Do you like to keep things straight-up classic? And by classic, we mean round. Our extensive collection of round lab grown diamonds comes in a range of sizes, starting from 0.5 carats. In the early days of diamond-making, labs were only able to grow small diamonds. However, as things continue to get bigger and better, so has your sparkle. In fact, we’ve got diamond sizes in excess of a whopping 5 carats!

Pavé Halo & Shank Engagement Ring

This gorgeous engagement ring features pavé set diamonds on the halo and along each side of the shank, highlighting the round cut center diamond.

14K White Gold Pave Halo And Shank Diamond Engagement Ring

Presentation Solitaire Engagement Ring

This brilliant knife edge diamond solitaire offers the best of both worlds with its classic appeal at a cost-effective price.

14K Yellow Gold Presentation Solitaire

Fancy Lab Grown Diamonds

Lab grown diamonds aren’t just reserved for those who stick to the traditional approach. We’ve got a wide range of shapes, including oval, cushion, princess, emerald, and more! If you prefer your engagement ring with a pop of color, our fancy color lab-grown diamonds come in a range of options like yellow diamonds, pink diamonds, red diamonds, and blue diamonds to name a few.

Knife Edge Solitaire Engagement Ring

The knife edge design of this ring draws attention to the center diamond or gemstone, showcasing its brilliance without detracting from its beauty.

Petite Pavé Crown Engagement Ring

A vibrant pavé set diamond crown, featuring pavé accents on the prongs and gallery creates the perfect basket for the center diamond. The demure and feminine feel of this alluring ring is enhanced by the petite band.

14K White Gold Petite Pave Crown Diamond Engagement Ring

What’s The Actual Difference?

Have you been able to tell which diamonds are lab-grown? If not, don’t fret. They’re optically and chemically identical to earth-created diamonds. The only difference between the two is their origin.

  • Earth-created diamonds are sourced from below the earth’s surface.
  • Lab-grown diamonds are created in simulated ‘below-ground’ conditions in a lab.

Needless to say, producing the special carbon arrangement of earth-created diamonds is intense. We’re talking high heat and super high pressure. Plus, very few places in the world are capable of producing earth-created diamonds.

Thanks to technology, we no longer need to go digging for our precious stones. Scientists are now able to simulate the required extreme conditions using specialized pressure chambers in a lab. Lab created diamonds are grown from tiny carbon “seeds” that develop in these chambers over months, as incredibly hot gases deposit carbon atom-by-atom onto the original seed. The result? A diamond packing the same quality and sparkle, produced a billion times quicker.

Octagonal Baguette Double Halo Engagement Ring

Alternating baguette and round diamonds compose the elegant and striking inner halo, surrounded by an octagonal frame of round brilliant diamonds. The shank also features pavé diamonds on each side to exalt the splendor of this magnificent ring.

Spiral Tension Engagement Ring

This dramatic, spiraling tension-set solitaire ring allows you to fully view the beautiful diamond. Sleek and secure, it’s perfect for those who like an updated style with a classic feel.

Spiral Tension Engagement Ring with a lab grown diamond

Bang For Your Buck

Lab-created diamonds are generally more affordable than earth-created diamonds, giving you a 30% larger stone for the same cost

Why?

The diamond-growing process is less resource-intensive than the diamond-mining process. It simply costs less to grow a diamond in a lab than it does to mine a diamond from the earth, and those savings are passed along to diamond-shoppers. If you’re looking to maximize your budget without compromising on quality and sparkle, lab created diamonds are a great choice for you. 

Bow Tie Channel Set Engagement Ring

This beautiful tapered engagement ring design is channel-set with eight round shaped diamonds.

14K Rose Gold Bow-Tie Channel Set Diamond Engagement Ring

Worth It? We Think So

There’s no doubt that earth-created diamonds contain millennia of history, tradition, and romance. While earth-created diamonds are the classic choice, lab grown diamonds are an affordable option and equally fresh. No matter what you decide, both diamonds hold their magnificent sparkle forever!

Have we made a strong case to go for a lab-grown diamond? If you’re ready, you can pick up a 1 carat lab-created diamond starting at around $1,550. However, the price largely depends on its specifications. Remember, the 4 C’s (cut, color, clarity, and carat weight) also need to be considered, as these all impact the overall cost of lab-grown diamonds. 

Lab Created Bling

Lab created diamonds aren’t only for engagement rings. You can choose from a wide selection of lab-created diamond stud earrings and pendants when you shop with us.

Three Prong Martini Diamond Stud Earrings

This three-prong martini setting is constructed to fit the exact size of the lab-created diamonds, which sit perfectly flush into the setting exactly as the Martini design was intended.

14K White Gold Three Prong Martini Round Brilliant Lab Created Diamond Stud Earrings

Halo Diamond Earrings

These beautifully crafted earrings feature a halo of sparkling lab-created round brilliant diamonds that elegantly frame the lab-created center diamond.

14K Yellow Gold Halo Lab Created Diamond Stud Earrings

Kite Set Solitaire Diamond Pendant

This pendant is designed to showcase the beauty of a round cut lab-created diamond. The finely crafted four prong wire basket pendant features a kite orientation to add a twist to the traditional solitaire necklace.

14K White Gold Kite Set Solitaire Lab Created Diamond Pendant

Final Thoughts:

Were you able to tell our lab-grown and earth-created diamonds apart? Here’s the bottom line: Both are winners! Lab-grown diamonds offer equal brilliance and sparkle as earth-created diamonds. That being said, if you’re looking to maximize your budget without compromising on quality, a lab-grown diamond may be calling your name.

Something sparkly catch you eye? At James Allen, we’ve got loads more jewelry up our sleeve. Browse our stunning assortment of wedding rings, tennis bracelets, men’s engagement rings and more to spoil your significant other (or yourself!) today.

Searching for more diamond deets? Check out the articles below to get more inspiration!

Engagement ring catch your eye? Share the love on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, or in the comments below!

Subscribe to our email list for access to secret sales, practical ring-buying tips, and $100 off your first purchase!

Jarred Maram

Jarred is a writer by day and unofficial office ping pong champion

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Woman holding an engagement ring with a sapphire gemstone

2021 Engagement Ring Trends: Our Predictions

Proposal plans in motion for 2021? You might want to take notes. 

2021 Engagement Ring Trends

With 2020 coming to a close, we’re looking forward to fresh starts and sparkling new styles in the year ahead. From the return of the classics, to pops of color and a rise in personalized rings, the new year is set to have it all. People are raising their glow game with bright, bold choices to achieve that #winning ring selfie, while staying true to what fits their unique personality. Keep scrolling for our predicted 2021 engagement ring trends.

1. Colorful Stones

We previously anticipated a rise in colorful gemstones back in 2020 and expect the trend to continue into the new year. Keep your eyes peeled for gemstones, especially sapphire and emerald. You can never go wrong by incorporating a birthstone into your chosen ring – it’s an expression of your unique style and creativity. And did we mention they’re absolutely breathtaking?   

Comfort Fit Engagement Ring

white gold comfort fit engagement ring with green emerald

Three Stone Engagement Ring

rose gold three stone engagement ring with sapphire stone

2. Solitaire Engagement Rings

Following a year of challenges and uncertainty, people are all about keeping it simple (and sparkly!) in 2021. Solitaire rings not only spotlight the center diamond beautifully, but seamlessly compliment every personality and style. We also predict an upward trend of split shank engagement rings, where the band beautifully splits into two on each side before joining the center diamond.

Split Shank Solitaire Engagement Ring

14K White Gold Split Shank Double Claw Solitaire Engagement Ring

Knife Edge Solitaire Engagement Ring

14K Rose Gold 2mm Knife Edge Solitaire Engagement Ring

3. Personalized Creations

Today, more people are choosing to add their two cents into the ring-making process, with some couples even designing a ring together. In 2021, we’re predicting a rise in custom-made engagement rings and non-traditional styles. Speaking of customizing, we recommend adding a free engraving to your ring at checkout for an extra special touch. Need ring-spiration? Feast your eyes on some of our customer creations, then try your hand at designing your very own.

Pavé Halo & Shank (Pear Center)

14K Rose Gold Pave Halo and Shank Diamond Engagement Ring

Petite Pavé Engagement Ring

18K Yellow Gold Petite Pave Engagement Ring

Tapered Baguette Emerald Halo Engagement Ring

2021 engagement ring trends - tapered baguette emerald halo engagement ring

4. Lab Created Diamonds

There’s no doubt that earth-created diamonds contain millennia of history, tradition, and romance. But what about the new sparkle on the block? We’re referring to lab created diamonds of course – an equally dazzling and cost-effective alternative which we’re expecting to explode in 2021.

Lab created diamonds are optically and chemically identical to earth-created diamonds and are generally about 30% more affordable. Plus, they look great with every ring, no matter what you choose.

Cathedral Star Engagement Ring

14K White Gold Cathedral Star Engagement Ring

Bow-Tie Channel Set Engagement Ring 

14K Yellow Gold Bow-Tie Channel Set Diamond Engagement Ring

Regal Frame Engagement Ring

14K Rose Gold Regal Frame Diamond Engagement Ring

5. Yellow Gold Engagement Rings

Yellow gold engagement rings have gained serious traction in 2020 and show no signs of slowing down in 2021. This warm, luxurious metal pairs with almost any outfit, giving its wearer an instant boost of style and undeniable elegance. Why choose a yellow gold ring? Gold is yellow by nature, so the color of the metal stays vibrant and is easy to maintain, allowing you to keep your sparkle in tip-top shape through the new year and beyond.

Milgrain Navette Engagement Ring

14K Yellow Gold Milgrain Navette Engagement Ring

East-West Oval Diamond Engagement Ring

14K Yellow East-West Oval Diamond Gold Diamond Engagement Ring

Inspired by what’s to come in 2021? Check out the articles below to get more inspiration!

Engagement ring catch your eye? Share the love on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, or in the comments below!

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Jarred Maram

Jarred is a writer by day and unofficial office ping pong champion

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Earth-Created vs. Lab-Grown Diamonds: A Guide

Lab grown diamond – or earth-created diamond? Here’s all the data you need to live your best sparkling life.

lab grown diamonds vs. earth-created diamonds set side-by-side on blue and pink backgrounds

Lab grown diamonds are pretty much the new kids on the jewelry block. So let’s clarify a few points, so you can decide with 100% confidence which sort of sparkle sets a twinkle in your eye: classic earth-created diamonds, or cutting-edge lab-grown diamonds

ORIGIN

The only difference between the two is their origin.

Earth-created diamonds: sourced from below the earth’s surface.
Lab-created diamonds: created in simulated “below-ground” conditions in a lab.

What’s a diamond? It’s just carbon atoms. But arrange them in a very particular structure, and you get the incredibly hard and beautiful stone we know and love. Producing this special carbon arrangement in nature demands conditions that are…intense. We’re talking high heat and super high pressure. Needless to say, very few places in the world are capable of producing earth-created diamonds. 

But technology has advanced to the point that we don’t always have to go digging for our precious stones; we can actually simulate the necessary extreme conditions in specialized pressure chambers in a lab. Lab created diamonds are grown from tiny carbon “seeds” that develop in these chambers over months, as incredibly hot gases deposit carbon atom-by-atom onto the original seed.

Lab created diamonds even develop their own unique characteristics (inclusions, clarity, etc) along the way, and once they’re fully grown they’re cut into the shape that suits their qualities best.

White Gold Pavé Halo Engagement Ring
with Cushion-Cut Diamond

14K White Gold Pave Halo Engagement Ring
14K White Gold Pave Halo Engagement Ring

Rose Gold Vintage Engagement Ring
with Princess-Cut Diamond

14K Rose Gold Vintage Inspired Floral Bouquet Engagement Ring
14K Rose Gold Vintage Inspired Floral Bouquet Engagement Ring

COST

Lab-grown diamonds are generally about 30% more affordable than earth-created diamonds.

Why?

The diamond-growing process is less resource-intensive than the diamond-mining process. It simply costs less to grow a diamond in a lab than it does to mine a diamond from the earth, and those savings are passed along to diamond-shoppers. That means that for the same cost, you can purchase a lab created diamond that’s 30% larger than an earth-created one.

Rose Gold Bezel-Set Pavé Engagement Ring

14K Rose Gold Bezel Set Pave Diamond Engagement Ring
14K Rose Gold Bezel Set Pave Diamond Engagement Ring

Two-Tone Comfort Fit Engagement Ring

14K Gold Two-Tone 1.8mm Comfort-Fit Modern Twisted Solitaire Engagement Ring

VALUE

Earth-created diamonds are the classic choice. Lab-created diamonds are the fresh choice. 

There is no doubt that earth-created diamonds contain millennia of history, tradition, and romance. They are one of nature’s most incredible products. Drawn from deep within the earth, these sparkling treasures have been proudly flaunted by generations upon generations – paving the way for you to carry on the tradition.

Lab created diamonds, on the other hand, are the next step in diamond history. Technically speaking, they’re brand new. But traditionally speaking, diamonds are diamonds forever. Lab-created diamonds give their wearer a unique chance to create new memories. 

Both earth-created diamonds AND lab-created diamonds hold their sparkle forever, so they’ll be just as beautiful when you’ll pass them on as heirlooms as they are when you wear them on a night out.

Rose Gold Leaf Bypass Engagement Ring

14K Rose Gold Modern Leaf Bypass Engagement Ring
14K Rose Gold Modern Leaf Bypass Engagement Ring

White Gold Tapered Pavé Engagement Ring

14K White Gold Petite Tapered Pavé Adorned Crown Engagement Ring
14K White Gold Petite Tapered Pavé Adorned Crown Engagement Ring

CUTS & COLORS

Both earth-created and lab-created diamonds are available in nearly every shape and color – even fancy colors!

Colorful diamonds, like canary yellow ones, are quite rare. Their shocking hues are caused by trace amounts of non-carbon elements, like nitrogen. By adding these elements to a growing diamond in its pressure chamber, lab grown diamonds take on the same fancy colors as earth-created diamonds.
Good news: any diamond can be cut into any shape. When it comes to diamond cuts, you truly are spoiled for choice!

White Gold Milgrain Engagement Ring
with Princess-Cut Fancy Yellow Diamond

14K White Gold Tapered Milgrain Scroll Surprise Diamond Engagement Ring

White Gold Laurel Engagement Ring
with Cushion-Cut Diamond

14K White Gold Laurel Leaves Diamond Engagement Ring
14K White Gold Laurel Leaves Diamond Engagement Ring

JEWELRY

Diamonds aren’t only for rings. Have a look at the pendants and earrings that can be set with either earth-created or lab-grown diamonds:

White Gold Bezel-Set Diamond Pendant

14K White Gold Bezel Diamond Pendant
14K White Gold Bezel Diamond Pendant

Yellow Gold Scroll Diamond Pendant

yellow gold diamond pendant

White Gold Princess-Cut Diamond Stud Earrings

white gold princess-cut diamond stud earrings

Yellow Gold Martini Diamond Stud Earrings

18K Yellow Gold Three Prong Martini Style Stud Earrings
18K Yellow Gold Three Prong Martini Style Stud Earrings

Searching for more diamond reading? Read on below!

  1. Lab-created Diamonds vs. Moissanite
  2. Princess Cut vs. Cushion Cut 
  3. Why Diamond Cut Matters Most
  4. How To Care For Your Diamonds
  5. Our Diamond Price Match Guarantee

Subscribe to our email list for access to secret sales, practical ring-buying tips, and $100 off your first purchase!

Rachel Hoar

Rachel is an unabashed linguistics fanatic who can identify the ancient Greek root of any word. She promises not to spray you with Windex.

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Lab-Created Diamonds vs. Moissanite

Two budget-friendly stone choices – but one clearly comes out on top.

Loose princess-cut lab-created diamonds and loose round lab-created diamonds on a pink background

In their search for that perfect sparkler, ring shoppers who want to maximize their budgets inevitably end up checking all the different options. Moissanite has historically been a good option for wallet-wary shoppers, but it’s also worth noting that the surge in lab-created offerings and the significant lowering of retail prices have made lab created diamonds an excellent, wallet-friendly option.

So yes – at first, lab-created diamonds and moissanite can seem quite similar… and this can be an extremely perplexing issue! But you’ll soon find that they’re not similar. At all.

To put it bluntly: 

LAB-CREATED DIAMONDS = REAL DIAMONDS

MOISSANITE = NOT DIAMOND

“Ok,” you say.

“Tell me more.”

Lab-created diamonds are real diamonds!
They’re chemically, structurally, and visually the same as the earth-created diamonds we all know and love. The only difference is that the high-pressure, high-temperature, diamond-creating conditions that usually take place deep underground are instead performed in a lab. Because it’s easier to create lab conditions than to mine diamonds underground, lab-created diamonds can be significantly more affordable than earth-created diamonds.

Moissanite isn’t a diamond, it’s a silicon carbide!
It’s synthesized in a lab under a thermal growing process. This silicon carbide crystal is a completely different material that looks very similar to diamond but is still an imitation of the real thing. Moissanite is often marketed as a cheaper alternative to diamond, but it’s an inferior option given the pricing and availability of ‘real’ lab-created diamonds. Moissanite doesn’t have anywhere near the same brilliance or clarity as a real diamond, and it has none of the fire.

Loose princess-cut lab-created diamonds and loose round lab-created diamonds on a blue background

Let’s size up lab-created diamonds and moissanite over 6 traits:

1. COLOR PERMANENCE

LAB DIAMONDS
A diamond’s color is everlasting. The lab-created diamond you buy today will look exactly the same when you eventually pass it down to your grandchildren.

MOISSANITE
Moissanite exhibits “thermochromism,” meaning that it is sensitive to color change at temperatures above 150° F (65 C). These are usually temporary, but these heat-sensitive color changes can sometimes be permanent.


2. COLOR

LAB DIAMONDS
Colorless to extremely colorful
. Diamonds can exhibit a full range of colors, from intense fancy colors (canary, purple, pink) to completely colorless.

MOISSANITE
Moissanites usually display warmer tints, often exhibiting slight yellowish or greenish hues.


3. SPARKLE

LAB DIAMONDS
Lab-created diamonds have a refractive index of 2.42 and their faceting pattern returns light remarkably. The combination of their brilliance (reflected white light), fire (refracted color) and scintillation (surface sparkle) give diamonds their unparalleled true sparkle. Brilliant and sparkly!

MOISSANITE
Moissanite actually has a higher refractive index than diamonds, at 2.65, and their faceting pattern is different, leading their brilliance to display a “rainbow effect.” The rainbow effect tends to make moissanite look fake to the well-trained eye, and is especially noticeable under natural light and in larger stones.


4. IDEAL SIZE

LAB DIAMONDS
Lab-created diamonds sparkle the same at any carat weight. Go big, go small, go whatever you like.

MOISSANITE
Moissanite’s exhibits a “rainbow effect” which can look fake and is especially noticeable in larger moissanite stones. Stick with smaller sizes.


5. WEAR-AND-TEAR

LAB DIAMONDS
Diamond is the hardest stone (it has the highest rating of 10 on Moh’s hardness scale). It’s not susceptible to scratching.

MOISSANITE
Extremely hard (9.25 on Moh’s hardness scale), but is still more susceptible to scratching than diamonds.


6. COST

LAB DIAMONDS
Diamonds are usually the more expensive choice. However, lab-created diamonds are the affordable diamond option, allowing you to get a 30% larger stone for the same cost as earth-created diamonds.

MOISSANITE
Moissanites are a cheaper option, though buyers must take into account the lifetime costs of maintenance like jeweler cleanings. Moissanite’s value is mostly sentimental.


The Conclusion:

We at James Allen believe the overall resiliency, beauty, and affordability of lab-created diamonds make them #1 choice for budget-friendliness. Moissanite simply doesn’t compare.

Big, bright, and beautiful!

And now for our picks: pieces that show off all the sparkle of lab-created diamonds. And after you’ve chosen your lab-created diamond, ensure you’ve gotten the best deal by using our Diamond Price Match Guarantee and by chatting with our legendary customer service team.

Three-Stone Emerald-Cut Engagement Ring

14K White Gold Three Stone Emerald And Pave Set Diamond Engagement Ring

“This is the most sparkly ring I’ve ever seen. I feel like a million bucks!”
– Teresa T.

Pear-Cut Halo Engagement Ring

18K White Gold Pave Halo Diamond Engagement Ring

“I love my pear-shaped ring!! It is simple yet not understated at all.”
– Andy A.

Bow-Tie Princess-Cut Engagement Ring

White gold channel-set engagement ring with a princess cut lab created diamond

“A showstopper ring. It’s glam, class, and elegance all in one.”
– Swanson J.

Halo Pendant

Milgrain halo diamond pendant set with a round lab-created diamond

“The halo makes the center stone look much much bigger. It is very impressive.”
-Pi-Yu C.

Scalloped Pendant

14K White Gold Scallop Basket Diamond Pendant

“This is the best purchase I’ve ever made online!”
– Bing W.

Lab-created diamonds caught your eye? Read on to hone your diamond expertise!

Subscribe to our email list for access to secret sales, practical ring-buying tips, and $100 off your first purchase!


Rachel Hoar

Rachel is an unabashed linguistics fanatic who can identify the ancient Greek root of any word. She promises not to spray you with Windex.

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