Do Lab Diamonds Test as Real Ones?

by Tom Thornbridge

Did you know that not all diamonds are mined from the Earth’s mantle? Yes, welcome to the sparkling world of lab-grown diamonds. These gems, created through processes like CVD and HPHT, are virtually indistinguishable from their natural counterparts, yet they’re formed in mere weeks instead of billions of years.

You might be wondering, “Do lab diamonds test as real?” It’s a valid question that often arises when considering these modern marvels. Rest assured, lab diamonds do indeed test as real because they share the exact same chemical makeup as natural diamonds. But there’s more to this story, and I’m here to guide you through it.

Let’s dive into the world of lab-grown diamonds and explore how they match up against the real deal.

Understanding Lab Diamonds

Diving deeper into the realm of lab-grown diamonds, let’s discuss their definition and creation process.

What Is a Lab Grown Diamond?

Let’s clear up any confusion about lab grown diamonds. A lab-grown diamond, also known as a cultured diamond, shares the exact same properties as its natural counterpart. It exhibits the identical crystal structure, hardness, and refractive index as those diamonds mined from the Earth. The distinction, however, lies in their origin. Although they’re born in labs and not dug up from nature’s depths, they remain authentic diamonds.

Lab-Grown 1.08 Carat Fancy Intense Yellow-VVS2 Round Cut Diamond from James Allen

How Are Lab Diamonds Created?

Shifting to their creation process, they’re cultivated in labs using either High Pressure High Temperature (HPHT) or Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD). In both cases, processes manipulate environmental conditions to simulate the natural formation of diamonds. HPHT duplicates the immense pressures and temperatures buried deep inside the Earth, while CVD uses a carbon-rich gas, under intense heat, to cultivate the desired diamond. In both cases, what emerges is a diamond in formation, ready to be cut and polished just as a mined diamond would be. These processes, while accelerated, result in lab grown diamonds that encapsulate the brilliance and durability of natural diamonds. The leap forward is all due to science and technology, working hand in hand to shape these sparkling beauties.

Testing Lab Grown Diamonds

Exploring how lab-grown diamonds hold up under traditional diamond testing brings light to the authenticity of these scientifically created gems. This section will delve into the function of diamond testers and methods used specifically in testing lab-grown diamonds.

A lab grown diamond from Whiteflash created using the HPHT Growth Method

How Do Diamond Testers Work?

Diamond testers, crucial gadgets for jewelers, function by assessing a diamond’s thermal conductivity. What’s thermal conductivity, you ask? It’s the manner and rate at which a stone can dissipate heat. Real diamonds, thanks to their unique crystalline structure, are expert conductors, swiftly moving heat away from themselves. Diamond testers feature a probe that, upon contact, gauges how quickly a given stone conducts heat. Should the stone competently manage heat, the tester confirms it as a genuine diamond. It’s a swift, accurate method for real diamond identification, separating the contenders from the pretenders. For instance, cubic zirconia and moissanite, despite their dazzling appearance, lack a diamond’s thermal conductivity.

Methods to Test Lab Diamonds

When it comes to lab-grown diamonds, they exhibit identical properties to mined diamonds. Consequently, under normal circumstances, lab-grown diamonds pass traditional testing flawlessly. This is except when the tester examines for specific nitrogen levels or in instances where older methods were employed in lab diamond creation. In these scenarios, the tester may label the diamond as faux or cubic zirconia.

However, the diamond industry comes equipped with specialized techniques for determining a diamond’s provenance. One such technique is Raman Spectroscopy, a non-invasive method of analyzing a diamond’s crystal lattice vibrations, effectively discerning lab-grown diamonds from natural ones.

HPHT and CVD Testing are other methods employed to distinguish between lab-created and earth-extracted diamonds. These methods focus on testing the inclusions and growth patterns specific to the high pressure, high temperature, and chemical vapor deposition processes respectively, used to create lab diamonds. These testing mechanisms provide invaluable insights into the diamond’s formation process, further differentiating between lab-grown and natural diamonds.

If you’re looking for the highest quality diamonds then I recommend shopping for Whiteflash. James Allen and Brilliant Earth also are worth considering and researching.

Comparing Lab Grown and Natural Diamonds

Drawing a parallel between lab-grown and natural diamonds isn’t a ballpark task. Both retain the same legacy of shine and shimmer when it comes to their appearance. However, their formation processes respectfully draw some distinctions. Let’s uncover more about their physical and chemical properties and how they stand up to diamond testing.

Physical and Chemical Properties

Diamonds, whether they form under the Earth’s crust or grow in a controlled lab environment, are carbon atoms arranged in a crystal structure. With this unique arrangement, physical and chemical properties such as hardness, refractive index, and thermal conductivity remain virtually the same in both lab-grown and mined diamonds. Even under a microscope, it’s difficult to distinguish between lab-grown and natural diamonds based on these physical and chemical traits alone. However, gemologists often rely on certain growth patterns and inclusions visible only under high magnification to identify a diamond’s origin.

Performance Under a Diamond Tester

Diamond testers are designed to differentiate real diamonds from diamond simulants based on heat or electrical conductivity. Since lab-grown diamonds share the same physical and chemical properties as natural diamonds, they, too, pass conventional diamond testers. However, specialised equipment, such as machines capable of Raman Spectroscopy and HPHT/CVD testing, are employed to unmask the true nature of diamonds. These advanced testers can locate tiny variations in the crystal lattice vibrations and identify characteristic growth patterns, enabling experts to differentiate between a lab-grown and a natural diamond. So while lab-grown diamonds test as real on a standard diamond tester, they may be discerned from natural diamonds with advanced examination tools.

Hands holding a diamond tester and a loose diamond, surrounded by several smaller loose diamonds on a white surface.

Using a diamond tester to verify the authenticity of a loose diamond

Identifying Lab Diamonds

To distinguish between natural and lab-grown diamonds, a set of specific techniques are employed. These techniques range from visual identification methods to professional gemologist examinations. Let’s dissect these methods for comprehensive understanding.

Visual Identification Techniques

Surprisingly, lab-grown diamonds resemble natural diamonds so closely that differences aren’t visible to the naked eye. However, indicators exist that can be spotted under magnification. Certain types of inclusions, such as metallic flux inclusions found in lab-grown diamonds, provide clues about their provenance. Another significant difference is the presence of nitrogen. Natural diamonds contain minute amounts of nitrogen while lab-grown varieties do not, making it a differentiating factor discernible only upon detailed inspection.

Professional Assessment and Verification

Despite the close similarity, experienced gemologists can tell the difference between a natural diamond and a lab-grown one. This verification process often involves the use of advanced equipment including spectroscopic machines capable of conducting thorough examinations of the diamond’s growth patterns and composition.

Additionally, there are diamond testers on the market that are relatively simple to use. These testers, resembling an ink pen with a tiny metal tip, employ thermal and electrical conductivity tests to determine a stone’s authenticity. Both natural and lab-grown diamonds exhibit identical heat and electricity conducting abilities. Thus, lab-grown diamonds would pass these tests, just as their natural counterparts would.

Keep in mind; this testing methodology may differentiate lab-grown diamonds from diamond simulants like cubic zirconia, moissanite, and other materials attempting to mimic diamond’s characteristics. These simulants, despite their visual resemblance to diamonds, have different rates of conducting heat and electricity, thus revealing their true identity under testing.

Such comprehensive examinations and assessments, conducted by professional entities, ensure the identification of a diamond’s origin, whether it was created under Earth’s crust or meticulously formed inside a laboratory.

The Value of Lab Diamonds

Bridging the gap between affordability and ethical considerations, lab-grown diamonds offer an enticing option to diamond consumers. Under these subheadings, let’s explore the worth of lab-created diamonds and some important factors surrounding their market perception and purchase considerations.

Are Lab Created Diamonds Worth Anything?

Lab created diamonds, although not rare like natural diamonds, hold significant value. Their worth is determined largely by grading parameters known as the 4Cs – carat weight, clarity, color, and cut. Contrary to the belief, lab-grown diamonds often maintain higher clarity and color grades than natural diamonds due to controlled environmental conditions inhibiting impurity intrusion. However, unlike natural diamonds whose finite supply boosts their value, lab-grown diamonds may face value depreciation over time due to potential saturation in the market.

Market Perception and Purchase Considerations

The reputation of brands manufacturing lab-created diamonds greatly impacts their market perception and purchase decisions. Brands focusing on meticulous craftsmanship, such as Diamond Nexus, are perceived as high-quality producers which encourage consumer trust, even prompting a premium on their products.

However, consumers should factor in the potential lower long-term value of lab diamonds due to their lack of rarity compared to mined diamonds. An informed decision should include the potential need for diamond appraisal for insurance or resale purposes. Notably, while lab-made diamonds may not serve well as investments, they stand firmly as affordable, high-quality, and ethically appealing options for the value-conscious and environmentally considerate buyers.


So there you have it. Lab-grown diamonds are indeed real diamonds, possessing the same physical and chemical properties as their mined counterparts. They’re scrutinized under the same grading parameters, including the renowned 4Cs, and pass the test every time. While they may not hold the same rarity value, they’re an affordable and ethical alternative for the eco-conscious buyer. Market saturation could affect their long-term value, but that’s a small price to pay for sustainability. So next time you’re in the market for a diamond, remember lab-grown diamonds aren’t just real – they’re a real game-changer.

Yes, lab-grown diamonds are considered a more sustainable option compared to mined diamonds. They are created in controlled environments, reducing the environmental degradation caused by mining. However, like all industrial processes, their creation also involves energy use.

Specialized equipment like Raman Spectroscopy and HPHT/CVD testing are used to determine the origin of a diamond. These techniques can detect differences at a molecular level, which cannot be identified with the naked eye. Your diamond should also have an inscription on the side stamped with LG or Lab Grown.

Lab-grown diamonds’ value is largely determined by the 4Cs: carat weight, clarity, color, and cut, as well as market perception.

Market perception of lab-grown diamonds is influenced by the reputation of the manufacturing brand and the quality of its craftsmanship. Brands like Whiteflash are known for their meticulous standards and have built consumer trust over time.

Yes, a potential saturation in the lab-grown diamond market may lead to their value depreciation over time. However, they still offer an affordable, high-quality, and ethical alternative to mined diamonds.

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