Lab Grown Diamonds
Lab-grown diamonds share the same chemical structure as natural, mined diamonds. While mined diamonds are formed in the earth over millions of years through combined heat and pressure, lab diamonds are produced in a lab in a much shorter period, in a simulation of that same environment.
Lab diamonds are graded for the same criteria as mined diamonds, and have the same durability. To the average viewer, mined diamonds and lab diamonds look the same; only a trained gemologist using special equipment can discern the difference.
Diamond Grading Explained
People often believe that carat refers to the size of a diamond, but it actually refers to the weight. The higher the carat, the more costly the diamond, as diamonds are priced according to their weight and quality.
A chemically pure diamond consisting of pure carbon would be completely colourless. Colour in diamonds comes from trace elements in the stone (most often nitrogen, which give diamonds a yellowish hue).
Colourless diamonds are graded from D to Z. D, E, and F graded diamonds are considered "colourless", and G, H, I, and J coloured diamonds are considered "near colourless". From there, diamonds start to take on a noticeably yellowish tone (or sometimes brown, or a mix of both). Colour is viewed as the most subjective of the gradings, because sometimes you may prefer the look of a warm coloured stone, or something champagne. When looking for a traditional colourless diamond, we generally would be considering I colour or higher.
Our lab grown diamonds will always be D, E, or F colour, giving them a stunning colourless appearance. We may select down to a G colour for 1.50ct marquise diamonds, as they are rarer lab grown diamonds and can be tricky to source.
Lab grown diamonds are generally very hard or not possible to source in lower colour grades/champagne tones.
During their formation, diamonds can form internal characteristics that are called "inclusions," and external characteristics known as "blemishes." The highest quality diamonds have no visible inclusions and no blemishes at all.
Clarity is divided into 6 categories:
- Flawless (FL): No inclusions and no blemishes visible under 10x magnification
- Internally Flawless (IF): No inclusions visible under 10x magnification
- Very, Very Slightly Included (VVS1 and VVS2): Inclusions so slight they are difficult for a skilled grader to see under 10x magnification
- Very Slightly Included (VS1 and VS2): Inclusions are observed with effort under 10x magnification, but can be characterized as minor
- Slightly Included (SI1 and SI2): Inclusions are noticeable under 10x magnification
- Included (I1, I2, and I3) Inclusions are obvious under 10x magnification which may affect transparency and brilliance. Inclusions are often dark or black, and usually easily visible to the naked eye.
For the most part, anything over an SI1 grading is considered "eye clean," meaning any inclusions are not visible to the naked eye.
Our lab grown diamonds will be VVS1 - VS1 clarity, meaning they will be perfectly clean to the naked eye, with only very minor inclusions that can only be seen under magnification.
Cut is a diamond characteristic that is often neglected, but is actually the most important factor in a beautiful stone. This is because the Cut determines how the diamond will sparkle and come to life.
For round brilliant diamonds, cut is usually graded on three aspects:
- Make: the overall quality of the cut (angles and proportions, etc.)
- Polish: the quality of the surface finish of the diamond
- Symmetry: the design and proportions of the diamond
Fancy shapes (ie. emerald cut, oval, marquise, pear, cushion, etc) are traditionally only graded for polish and symmetry and do not have Cut (make) gradings.
The grading for these aspects depends on the laboratory assessing the stone: GIA and GCAL use Excellent > Very Good > Good > Fair > Poor, while IGI uses Ideal > Excellent > Very Good > Good > Fair.
Round brilliant cut diamonds have scientifically designed proportions and facets, to the point that there is a possible "perfect" cut against which all round brilliant diamonds are compared. It's important to keep in mind though that in real life, diamonds will be worn in a variety of lighting situations, which will change the way the diamond sparkles and looks. "Perfect" proportions are always great to aim for, but those designed proportions are also generally measured in specific lab lighting.
For fancy shapes, the polish and symmetry are usually the most important factors, with length to width ratios also being an important factor. We generally try to select stones within 'ideal' ratios for each shape. However, it's important to note that shape is very subjective and can be used creatively for achieving different designs.
Antique cuts also usually fall outside the norms of lab grading, usually receiving Fair or Poor cut grades, despite being visually stunning. They don't fit into modern measurements for Cut grades.
Our round lab grown diamonds will have excellent or ideal cut/polish/symmetry. Other shapes will have excellent to very good cut/polish/symmetry.
Fluorescence in diamonds refers to how reactive the diamond is to UV light. In slightly yellow-hued diamonds (ie. a K colour), strong blue fluorescence can make them appear whiter than they actually are. About 25-35% of natural diamonds have some degree of fluorescence. It usually does not have any impact on the appearance of the diamond, but if a black light were to shine on it, it may have a faint glow.
Though it is the most well-known, the GIA (Gemological Institute of America) is not the only laboratory that grades diamonds.
For a long time, the GIA didn't grade lab grown diamonds at all (this has changed in recent years as lab grown diamonds have become more common and accepted in the jewellery industry). Because of this, many lab grown diamonds are graded by other institutions:
- IGI (International Gemological Institute)
- GCAL (Gem Certification & Assurance Lab)
The centre stones in our lab grown diamond rings will always be accompanied by a report, but depending on availability at the time of purchase, they may be certified by any one of these three labs. Your ring will come with a diamond grading certificate prepared by either the GIA, IGI, or GCAL.
Design your lab grown diamond ring
Round - Five Prongs
A key design element of our Wild Iris and Cyndra Supreme rings, our five prong option stands out while holding your round brilliant diamond in elegant security.
Round - Six prongs
Beautifully balanced, your round brilliant diamond will have two subtle groups of three prongs on either side of the band.
Oval - Four Prongs
An oval shaped diamond held in four prongs strikes a perfect balance between delicacy and security. The prongs at the four corners create a slight visual "squaring" effect, making the stone appear more rectangular.
Oval - Six Prongs
Like our six prong option for round diamonds, but elongated; your oval diamond will be cradled between three prongs at either end.
Emerald - Four prongs
Forever a classic, your emerald cut lab grown diamond will be held with a single finely-pointed claw at each corner.
Emerald - Eight Prongs
An LF favourite, with two claw-shaped prongs at each corner of your lab grown emerald cut diamond, uniquely accentuating the stone's shape.
Pear - Five Prongs
With a cluster of three prongs at the pear's pointed tip and two prongs at the pear's rounded base, our five prong option keeps your pear shaped diamond secure. One prong is required on the point of the pear to protect it.
Pear - Six Prongs
Our six prong option for pear cut diamonds has three prongs at the diamond's pointed tip, and three prongs at the diamond's rounded base. One prong is required on the point of the pear to protect it.
Marquise - Six Prongs
Our marquise diamonds are set with six prongs; three at either end. Prongs are required on the points of the marquise to protect them from breakage. Six is the required minimum amount of prongs.
Cushion - Four Prongs
Cushion cut diamonds are set with four prongs, one at each corner, delicately supported and secured.