Two lab-grown diamond earring studs that look identical to mined diamond earring studs

Can You Tell the Difference Between Lab-grown and Mined Diamonds?

Diamonds are created either by mother nature or by manufacturing. Whether created in a laboratory or extracted through mining processes, the diamonds are equally real. They have the same carbon crystalline structure, hardness, and light-reflecting brilliance. However, it’s essential to know how the diamond was created, as this significantly impacts the price charged for it. So, how can you tell the difference between lab-grown and mined diamonds? Get the answer here.

How Do Lab-grown Diamonds and Mined Diamonds Vary?

Lab-grown Diamonds 

Lab-grown diamonds are formed under manufacturing processes within a few weeks or months. However, they don’t usually have nitrogen present. It’s one of the ways that trained diamond assessors are able to distinguish them from mined gems. Yet, metallic inclusions are commonly found in laboratory-created stones. There are other subtle differences that trained professionals can find using specialized equipment.

The machines used to create lab-grown diamonds produce the same pressure as if you were to take a 747 airplane and balance it on your fingertip. These powerful machines produce the extremely high pressure necessary to create a diamond.

Mined Diamonds

Natural diamonds were formed over millions of years when volcanic activity was frequent, and the planet’s crust was much more dynamic than it is now. Carbon deposits subjected to immense geological forces deep within the earth were eventually shaped into crystals. Most of these diamonds contain tiny residues of other chemicals and minerals present as the diamond crystals were forming.

A large whole in the earth caused by natural diamond mining practices, with a gloomy sky background.

Nitrogen is commonly found within mined diamonds, giving a yellow tint to many stones. Other chemicals, such as boron or sulfur, impart blue or green hues. Interestingly, prized pink diamonds didn’t happen because of trapped trace elements but resulted from physical deformation. Most naturally formed diamonds also have inclusions — flaws caused by trapped matter or structural faults.

Diamond Grading

People not in the jewelry industry can’t tell the difference between lab-grown or mined diamonds, no matter how hard they look. Even a master jeweler needs specific hi-tech tools to decide between lab-created or natural gems. And that’s what identification essentially comes down to — the skillset and mastery of the right tools by people responsible for verifying diamonds.

Professional laboratories perform grading of lab-grown and mined diamonds. Two of the pre-eminent grading organizations are the American Gem Society and the Gemological Institute of America (GIA).

Different grading terms and reports are assigned to lab-grown vs. mined diamonds so that the two types of gems don’t get mixed up. This is important due to the higher prices that mined diamonds command over laboratory gems. However, all grading is essentially based on what is known as the 4C’s of diamond grading — cut, color, clarity, and carat.

The Tools Used by Qualified Professionals

Grading laboratories may have some different equipment for evaluating the characteristics of diamonds, but most tool sets are similar. The diamond assessors use highly technical apparatus, including microscopes, refractometers, and spectroscopes. They also use different lighting techniques with color filters, fiber optics, daylight globes, and UV lamps.

The numerous tests applied to each diamond are used to set the grading levels against each of the 4C’s. When all tests are complete, the diamond is given an overall grading, and a report is produced detailing the gem’s unique features.

Laser Engraving

When a grading report is developed for lab-grown diamonds or mined diamonds, it will have a unique report number assigned to it. At the grading laboratory, this identification record is laser inscribed on the girdle of the diamond. The laser beam creates a blackened etching, with the report number now visible to diamond buyers, jewelers, and other interested players in the gemstone’s life. No more mix-ups!

This number is similar to a VIN number on a car. In case your diamond is ever stolen, there is a chance of recovering it using this number. It is also helpful if you take in your jewelry for repair to verify you are getting the same stone back that you brought in.

With lab-grown diamonds assigned a different set of report numbers from mined diamonds, it’s now relatively easy to tell the difference between the two types of diamonds. The grading report should accompany any sale of the associated stone.

For the consumer, the engraving can’t be seen with the naked eye, as it is minuscule. But a jeweler’s diamond microscope will be able to read the engraving. Carbon Diamonds is happy to verify that the engraving details matches the diamond grading report at no cost to you.

Find Beautiful Certified Lab-Grown Diamonds for Your Jewelry

Here at Carbon Diamonds, we specialize in lab-grown diamond stones. Our family-owned and operated store is accredited by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), demonstrating our experience and knowledge in the diamond industry.

Our Bespoke designs are stunning, and we guarantee customer satisfaction. You’ll also find a fabulous range of certified loose stones to choose from to build your custom engagement or wedding rings. Or, if you already have a diamond stone, it will be readily incorporated into your chosen design.