Shiree Odiz Talks Lab-grown Diamonds: The Environmentally-friendly Wedding Ring Option
Recently lab-grown diamonds have become more popular than ever. Since their emergence in the ‘80s, these stones have increased in size and improved in quality. This cost-friendly option is appealing to couples when shopping for their engagement rings and wedding rings for many reasons — one key reason being that they are the eco-conscious choice over natural diamonds. But with so much more to know about this jewelry choice, we consulted with Daniel Setton, Co-Founder of Shiree Odiz, to lay it all out there.
Lab-grown Diamonds vs. Natural Diamonds
Of course, first we had to know from his perspective as a jeweler how lab-grown diamonds differ from natural diamonds — “Essentially lab-grown diamonds are identical in every way to natural diamonds on the chemical, physical and aesthetics level. The only difference is their origin. One is formed over millions of years in the ground and the other formed in a similar, but controlled and accelerated process.
The main pros of lab-grown diamonds is that they are sustainable and don't have the same environmental and human impact as mining. Another advantage is that due to the more controlled environment, higher quality lab created diamonds can be grown for a fraction of the cost of rarer natural diamonds. The flip side of this is the inherent abundance and lack of scarcity, which uphold mined diamonds value and appeal to some.”
The Green Choice
Regarded as the green, environmentally friendly or eco-conscious choice, lab-grown diamonds enable the wearer to feel good about their decision. How so? Setton explains, “Using a seed amount of diamond carbon, lab grown diamonds are formed under high temperature and high pressure. The fact that they don't need to be mined means that we can avoid the environmental impact that digging large holes in the ground causes, as well as the human impact of mining conditions. They do, however, still require energy, so while there is less direct and immediate impact, they're not completely green. At eco-conscious Brilliant Earth and here at Shiree Odiz we source our lab-grown diamonds exclusively from carbon-neutral labs to offset any secondary impact the energy use has on our world.”
Size, Cut and Design
We already know that lab-grown diamonds are available in the same sizes, cuts, and designs as natural ones, so there will be no compromising in these regards. “In some cases,” Setton tells us, “such as with fancy colors, you'll find more availability. That said, if you're looking for lower grade I1-I3, salt and pepper, less than perfect or old, antique cut diamonds, you'll find that to be more of a challenge.”
But the truth, according to Setton, is that “fancy colored lab-created diamonds are still not as common as colorless stones, yet still relatively rare and exclusive, even when lab-grown. However lab-grown certainly opens the door to couples looking for fancy pinks, purples, yellows and more, making them significantly more affordable than mined fancy colors, which can run into the millions of dollars.”
And when talking carat size, as Setton reminds us, because lab-grown diamonds are lower cost compared to similar quality mined diamonds, they are going to allow for a larger diamond option for the buyer or wearer.
So ultimately with as many options as natural or mined diamonds, lab-grown diamonds may be a good choice for an engagement ring or wedding ring — as Setton says, “Grade for grade, they're totally indistinguishable. No one can tell them apart, but often a jeweler or appraiser may suspect a lab-grown diamond when faced with any high quality diamond, simply because they're more common in lab-grown than their mined counterparts.”
Value leads to another factor for some — price. According to Setton, “On average you can expect a difference of around 50% between natural and lab-grown. However, this increases as we go up in carat weight when natural diamond prices start to skyrocket.
“When it comes to the value, a lab-grown diamond of the same carat, shape and quality as a mined one of the same specifications, will be lower in price and therefore value. Either way, the monetary value is more or less what you pay for it. That said, if the final destination is your engagement ring, then the reseller value somewhere in the future maybe shouldn't be the number one consideration. As far as value for money (carat, quality, beauty, durability) lab-grown diamonds are an excellent choice.”
Caring for Lab-Grown Diamonds
Likely you want to purchase an engagement or wedding ring that you’ll wear for a lifetime, so you may be wondering about the proper ways to care for a lab-grown diamond. The good news is that if you already own diamonds, nothing changes.
In fact, Setton suggests the following care: Remove your ring when entering the sea or a swimming pool, when going to the gym or doing any activity that can physically damage the setting of the ring. This is no different than the way you should treat your other jewelry or stones. Gold and platinum are soft metals and care needs to be taken in order to avoid scratching, bending or breaking of the ring itself, especially prongs holding your diamond in place!
To elaborate on the point about wearing the ring in water, Setton explains, “Nothing will happen to your diamond in water or anywhere else. However, bear in mind that limescale, chlorine and salt can create a thin coating on your ring which can over time dull the metal and your diamond. A professional clean and polish will remedy this, but doing so very frequently can thin away the metal of your ring.
“Diamonds are forever, even lab-grown ones. There's no reason to ever see any wear or tear of your diamond, unless something extreme has happened. That said, the metal setting is more delicate and if you feel a rattling or loosening of your diamond in the setting, you should definitely contact your jeweler for next steps. We definitely would recommend checking up on your ring every few years.”
This Article is from the Celebrate Weddings MagazineSee the Current Issue
Photos courtesy of Shiree Odiz
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