The jury is in: not only are lab grown diamonds becoming more popular, but the diamond industry is scrambling to uncover the differences between them and their mined counterparts.

The Test

In a recent article, Upworthy writer Eric March asks, “would you buy a diamond grown in a lab?” He then offers four images of diamonds – two lab grown, and two earth grown – and dares the reader to distinguish between the two, noting that unless you’re an expert, you were probably just guessing.

 

 

These lab-grown ethical diamonds are indistinguishable from mined diamonds.

 


Mined diamonds

Why They’re Becoming Popular 

Consumers just can’t tell the difference. Popular Science reports that earth grown and lab grown diamonds are “so indistinguishable to the naked eye that the diamond industry is in an arms race to produce machines that can discern lab grown from natural ones, in order to keep the synthetics from flooding the market.” However, while traditional vendors and jewelers are afraid that the surge of lab created diamonds will undercut their sales, consumers are more accepting. Some couples seek out lab grown diamonds for their ethical and eco-friendly merits.

 

Calvin Mills Jr. proposed to Brittany Ramsey last month (left) with the lab-grown ring shown at right.

Moreover, while the term “synthetic diamond” has come to imply inauthenticity and imitation, as Unworthy notes, “scientists are just as good at scrunching millions of carbon atoms together as the molten inferno of the Earth’s mantle. And no one has to go down into a mine to get them. You can just … put them in a box. Right there in the lab.” Yep, synthetic diamonds are 100% real diamonds. Not cubic zirconia, not white sapphire. Pure diamond. 

Ultimately, the backlash against lab-grown diamonds and the subsequent failed attempts to highlight visible differences only underscores the success of synthetic diamonds in a changing market.