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Lab Grown Diamonds, Are They Good or Bad for Filipino Jewelry Collectors?

Objectively speaking, lab-grown or man-made diamonds are a neutral product. They're neither good nor bad, and reception of them as a gemstone really depends on a person's own opinion. As we've stated before, these artificially made products, do possess the same essential chemical composition and crystal structure as natural diamond. They are indeed different from 'imitations' or 'simulants' such as cubic zirconia, moissanite and glass. The problem only lies when they are sold as 'natural' diamonds, as this is a different product class with different value points.

Despite this established differentiation, it seems a lot of people still (perhaps by habit) call these items 'fake' diamonds. Here at the laboratory, we try to refrain from using the word 'fake', as it promotes negativity towards any item type. A lab-grown stone is just a man-made counterpart of a natural stone.

On the other hand, a simulant or imitation stone, is indeed a lookalike counterpart of a natural stone, that does not share its composition or structure. Please note the difference between usage of the words man-made & lab-grown versus usage of the word simulant.

The monetary values and prices of lab-grown diamonds are not the same as those of natural diamonds (like the natural specimen pictured above, featured during a Sotheby's auction in Hong Kong). The latter is usually around 30% higher in price at the retail level, and 40-60% higher in price at the wholesale level, based on our own observations speaking to members of the trade from around the world (2018).

Filipinos that visit the facility as we've noticed, tend to feel scared when the issue of lab-grown diamonds comes up. The fact that all man-made diamonds cannot be checked or separated by thermal diamond testers, adds to that growing fear. Spectrometric / luminescence-spectrometry testing is now needed to confirm an informed opinion as to whether or not a diamond is a natural type 1aAB stone. Lab-grown stones can also possess inclusions, so do not depend on the absence of inclusions as a solo test for checking them. Some older HPHT grown stones though may show characteristic metallic flux inclusions that would help in their identification, but these should be judged by a gemologist who is already familiar with their appearances.

Relatively recent news of diamonds with false laser inscriptions and switched reports caused worry amidst even the local trade. These occurrences may be uncommon, but the fact that they happen (for both enhanced / treated and lab-grown diamonds), calls for an air of caution when purchasing expensive stones. You can find one of our articles on the matter here. The Diamond Loupe also writes about a similar instance, which you can read through this link too.

Do note that lab-grown diamonds are beautiful products in their own right, as long as they are sold with the proper transparency and ethical disclosure required of them. People should know that what they are buying is not a natural gemstone mined out of the earth, but rather is a well-made crystal grown from machines using a repeatable process. Marketing adjective-terms like 'cultured' are sometimes used by sellers at their own discretion, probably trying to relate their products more to the cultured pearl industry. Here at the lab though we only choose to use the terms "man-made or lab-grown" for this type of product.

It is up to the buyer to do his or her due diligence regarding the complexities of the man-made diamond trend, and decide whether or not the purchase of one would be applicable for his or her purpose.

There are some buyers out there though, who do prefer lab-grown diamonds due to the absence of the possibility of them being involved with the funding of wars in diamond-mining countries. This basically rules out the fear of 'conflict diamonds'.

Feel free to ask about lab-grown gemstones during your appointment visits with our G.G. / gemologist here at the lab as well.

*Gemcamp Laboratories does not buy, sell or recommend specific traders for both natural and lab-grown diamonds (and gemstones). We do this in order to maintain no vested interest in the items that we examine and share our opinions on.
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