Lab-Grown Diamonds Offer an Affordable Alternative to Mined Gems

Diamonds are notoriously beautiful, expensive, and luxurious. And now, they're also lab-made. Yes, that's right—that sparkling gem found deep within the Earth can now be produced by scientists.

The International Gemological Institute Office, a nonprofit organization, is where you’ll find director David Weinstein, who has worked with diamonds for 30 years. He is one such scientist producing lab-grown gems. Recently, advances in technology have made it possible for scientists like Weinstein to produce gems in a pure white color, rather than with a yellow tint like in decades past. Now these diamonds are starting to show up in exclusive retailers like Barneys, which advertise them as a high-tech, eco-friendly alternative to mined diamonds.

Lab-grown diamonds are made by a “diamond-growing machine,” inside of which are vacuum chambers. At the bottom of these chambers, scientists place a small amount of a naturally-sourced diamond. They then add gases to the chambers, and a microwave in the machine creates a reaction that drops carbon on the solid diamond “starter.’’ This urges the diamond to grow and look just like the mined diamonds that Weinstein, others experts, and consumers are used to seeing.

Even though the diamonds are grown in a lab, “when you compare them to alternatives for the same budget, they are definitely nicer,” said Yarden Tsach of WD Lab Grown Diamonds. In fact, lab diamonds are actually 30 percent cheaper than mined diamonds are.

Lab diamonds are truly proof of how advanced and amazing technology is today. This development will certainly make quality gems more affordable.

[Sources: Wisconsin Public Radio; NPR News; Classical Network]