A Battle Over Diamonds: Are Synthetic Diamonds Valuable?
With technology constantly improving, synthetic diamonds have gotten almost identical to the real deal when looked at through the naked eye.
Their more affordable price has attracted customers and massively increased their popularity. But how valuable are they, and can they be a replacement to the real, mined diamonds?
Which One Is Better?
Lab-grown diamonds can be created in a matter of weeks, while the real ones take millions of years to form. Though they are chemically identical, there are a couple of differences. Mainly, synthetic diamonds are likely to have better clarity compared to their mined counterparts since they contain no nitrogen. This helps the experts differentiate between the two. However, because of how long it takes for a real diamond to form, synthetic diamonds could never reach that big of a value.
With the recent advancements, it is now possible to create large, clear diamonds suitable for jewelry. If time needed to produce them is excluded, there is almost no difference between the synthetic and natural gemstones. Manufactured diamonds allow for added customization and design. With some retailers, customers can specify the wanted clarity, color, and even carat mass.
Difference in Production
Diamond mining has massive negative effects on the ecosystem and requires a lot more energy. Improper practices can cause soil erosion, while in the most extreme cases whole ecosystems get destroyed beyond repair.
In contrast, synthetic diamonds are manufactured with ethics in mind without causing damage to the environment. Additionally, labs are now able to replicate strong pressure and high temperatures from the Earth's core that cause diamonds to form.
Diamonds have unique properties. They are extremely efficient thermal conductors and can withstand large levels of radiation. Among that, they serve as good electrical insulators. With the price of lab-grown diamonds reducing, we could see an increase in their use for more efficient electronic devices.
Because of their identical chemical properties, man-made diamonds are as hard as the natural ones. Their shine won't dull out and they too can last forever. They both share rank 10 on a Mohs scale, which is an indicator of a material's scratch resistance.
Impact on the Market
When comparing the prices, manufactured gems are changing the market as they can be up to 40% cheaper than the real ones. However, many jewelry retailers are still declining to sell them and many sellers still consider them "fake." Furthermore, it would ruin their idea of a rare, timeless and luxurious jewel.
Statistics show that about half a million carats of synthetic diamonds are produced on a yearly basis compared to more than 100 million carats of real mined diamonds. Out of all the diamond sales, only 1% of those are from man-made diamonds. This number is almost guaranteed to go up as energy efficiency increases. The more manufacturers there are, the bigger the competition is which will further reduce the price of synthetic diamonds.
Customers' interests are constantly on the rise. Manually created diamonds don't have a negative effect on the environment and are far more sustainable. For those looking to have as little of an impact on nature as possible, this is both safer and a more affordable option. The low price of man-made diamonds could cause a decrease in the value of mined diamonds that are going to be struggling to stay on the market.
Overtaking the Market
While some owners of large jewelry companies are worried about the stability of the diamond market, others believe that there is no reason to worry. As with other precious gemstones, there is a possibility that the markets for natural and synthetic diamonds will separate.
However, with the ever-increasing percentage of customers willing to settle for manually made diamonds, it could very well force major jewelry retailers to start warming up to the idea of selling them.
According to MadeStones, natural diamonds are more valuable because of their rarity; man-made versions of these gems share all of the trademark characteristics for a much more attractive price. They both have their own pros and cons. It all depends on what properties the customer is looking for. Even though the difference is unnoticeable, more than a billion-years-old natural diamonds carry a meaning with them that their synthetic counterparts will never be able to achieve.