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— by Cullen Jewellery — Reading time 7 minutes

Are Lab Grown Diamonds Real Diamonds?

Lab grown diamonds are relatively new to the diamond market. But are lab grown diamonds real diamonds?

They're identical, both sold by reputable jewellers, and certified . So why do lab grown diamonds cost less?

Good news: lab grown diamonds are real diamonds. Their physical, chemical, and optical properties are exactly the same, with the same fire and brilliance (in other words, that unique, white-light sparkle).

Their different price point has nothing to do with quality or authenticity. It's a benefit of avoiding notoriously expensive mining.

The only difference between a lab grown diamond and a mined diamond is where it comes from. When mining is taken out of the picture, economic, environmental, and social costs are reduced.

Bezel set lab diamond engagement ring. Source: Cullen Jewellery

Physical, Chemical, and Optical Properties

Lab diamonds have the same properties as mined diamonds. Source: Cullen Jewellery

To a casual shopper or an expert jeweller, mined diamonds are the same as lab diamonds. Test both with a diamond tester, and they'll pass with flying colours.

Diamond simulants like cubic zirconia won't pass.

Even down to their atomic structure — lab and mined diamonds are exactly the same. That’s why they possess exactly the same physical properties.

Beyond What Meets the Eye

Lab diamonds have the same optical characteristics as mined diamonds — as in, they look the same to the naked eye or under a microscope. But they aren't just optically identical — they also behave the same.

One of the great things about diamond engagement rings or diamond wedding rings , aside from their beauty, is that they last. Diamond is one of the strongest materials on Earth. This is true whether your diamond engagement ring or wedding ring includes lab grown or mined stones.

Yellow gold engagement ring. Source: Cullen Jewellery
Carbon neutral diamonds will also come with a Clear Neutral certificate. Source: Cullen Jewellery

How Are Lab Grown Diamonds Certified?

Lab created diamonds and mined diamonds are certified using universal scales by GIA (Gemological Institute of America)

and IGI (International Gemological Institute)
. Diamonds are certified on appearance, quality, and authenticity.

Lab Grown Diamond Quality

For both lab created diamonds and mined diamonds, variation in clarity and colour is natural. Diamond can sometimes have a faint yellow-brown tint due to the presence of specific trace elements when it was formed. Diamonds created in a lab can still be exposed to these trace elements, but in this highly controlled environment, it's much less common. Therefore, lab diamonds usually have a better colour grade.

Round brilliant cut diamond. Source: Cullen Jewellery
Lab diamond engagement ring. Source: Cullen Jewellery

The Nitty Gritty

How is a lab created diamond identical to a mined diamond? Science.

After learning how diamonds formed in the Earth's crust, scientists were able to create these conditions in a lab and grow diamonds — like natural. Diamonds need heat and extreme pressure to turn carbon atoms into a crystal structure.

Lab diamonds are created in two ways:


The HPHT (High Pressure High Temperature) method involves a very hot, high-pressure environment, where the diamond 'seed' is grown into a much larger diamond.


Lab diamonds are also created through the special deposition process called Chemical Vapour Deposition (CVD). During CVD, a diamond 'seed' is placed in a machine where it comes into contact with particles and gases that accumulate on top of it, form layers, and make it larger.

Oval cut lab diamond. Source: Cullen Jewellery
Lab diamond engagement rings. Source: Cullen Jewellery

Ethical Origins

The difference between mined and lab grown diamonds?


Specifically, the origin of a lab diamond will always be more ethical, because mining isn't involved. Diamond mines have long been associated with conflict. They're also inherently destructive, causing land clearing, habitat destruction, and pollution. Missing mining means lab grown diamonds are conflict free, and much greener.

A lab grown diamond also doesn't come with the same exploitative labour practices that a mined diamond does. Diamond mines continue to undercompensate their workers and are unsafe sites for corruption and significant harm to workers.

It can be difficult to know the whole story of the diamond engagement ring in a shop window. A lab grown diamond, on the other hand, would be traced back to the lab it was made in — and labs aren't associated with the same dangerous conditions for workers.

Common Terms Used for Diamonds

The terms used to describe diamonds can be misleading. So we're breaking them down.

Pear-shaped engagement ring. Source: Cullen Jewellery
Round pendant. Source: Cullen Jewellery
Ring stack. Source: Cullen Jewellery

Synthetic Diamonds

Synthetic is sometimes used synonymously with lab grown. However, synthetic connotes artificial. Growing a plant in a terrarium doesn't make it less natural. Diamonds grown in labs or in the Earth's mantle are physically identical — none is more 'synthetic' than the other.

Earth Diamonds

'Earth diamonds' is typically used to describe mined diamonds. But to be clear — this is because they're mined from the Earth. They're not pro-Earth. In terms of Earth- friendly — lab grown diamonds take the cake.

Engineered Diamonds

'Engineered' refers to the way diamonds are created in labs.

Mine Free Diamonds

This term best describes how lab grown diamonds are not just different — but a better alternative to mined diamonds. Mine free diamonds and mined diamonds have the same physical and chemical properties, so the main advantage of lab grown diamonds is that they are more sustainable because they aren’t mined. They're also more affordable because they don't come with all the additional costs of running an overseas diamond mine and extracting gemstones from the Earth's mantle.

Cultured Diamonds

Cultured diamonds doesn’t mean the diamonds go to the opera. But it does mean they were created in a lab. To culture something means to create the right conditions for it to grow.

Manufactured Diamonds

Manufactured diamonds are made — in other words, lab created. But when we think of manufacturing, we think of production lines. After the almost magical growth process, each diamond comes out unique — not cookie-cutter.

Man Made Diamonds

Man made diamonds assumes only a certain kind of person is making lab grown diamonds! We prefer to call them human-made.

Natural Diamonds

Really, mined or 'natural' diamonds are no more natural diamonds than lab grown diamonds are. The diamond growth phase for lab diamonds is, on the atomic level, identical to the growth process for their so-called 'natural' counterparts.

Lab Grown Diamond Jewellery

Being typically higher quality and more ethical for the price, lab grown diamond rings and lab grown diamond jewellery in general are growing in popularity.

When a mined diamond engagement ring costs the same as a lab diamond engagement ring featuring a stone with a much larger carat weight, it makes sense to choose lab grown diamonds.

Pear-shaped earring. Source: Cullen Jewellery
Analyce engagement ring. Source: Cullen Jewellery

What to Know Before Buying a Lab Grown Diamond Engagement Ring

Whether you're looking for your own engagement ring, or one for your partner, feeling confused is natural. Diamond engagement rings come with a lot of variation, from carat weight to ring setting.

Before you buy a lab grown engagement ring , it's best to visit a jewellery showroom to find out your or your partner's ring size (if you're planning a surprise proposal, we can help you find out your partner's ring size in secret), as well as what you're looking for: a round brilliant lab diamond? A halo ring setting? A large carat weight?

Cullen Jewellery has a number of showrooms where you can learn more about lab grown diamonds. Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, and Perth are now home to them. We think the best lab grown diamonds should do it all: from sustainability, to quality, to supporting safer labour practices. Satisfied clients are the other part of the story. People also choose our lab diamond rings because our client care is unmatched.

The Special Benefits of Lab Grown Diamond Wedding Rings

A pavé or eternity wedding band can be very unaffordable when it's made with mined diamonds. Using lab created diamonds means you don't have to compromise on your dream ring stack.

And what better way to say 'I do' than with sustainable diamonds?

Lab diamond wedding rings. Source: Cullen Jewellery
Emerald cut moissanite engagement ring. Source: Cullen Jewellery

Lab Grown Moissanite

A lab diamond isn't the only stone we can create ourselves!

Moissanite rings are a more affordable alternative to lab grown diamond rings. They are comparably hard stones that won't scratch easily, and also have a beautiful sparkle, with more of a rainbow effect.

A New Era for Engagement Rings

As the reasons to buy lab grown diamonds or moissanite stack up, it is hard to think of why to go back to mined engagement rings. Lab diamonds take the financial and ethical complications out of the picture, so you can focus on cherishing the special moments: from getting down on one knee, to saying I do.

Lab diamond ring stack. Source: Cullen Jewellery
Create your dream lab grown diamond ring here