Thinking about buying a lab grown diamond? If you’re worried about quality or perception, I’ll tell you all that you need to know in order to make your best decision.
Are lab grown diamonds bad? Not at all. Compared to earth mined diamonds, they’re far more environmentally friendly, budget friendly, and socially responsible. When gifting a lab diamond, communicate openly and honestly about its origin. They’re just as beautiful and durable as mined diamonds. In fact, they’re visually identical.
It’s completely normal to wonder if gifting a man made diamond could sacrifice ring quality, or lead to some sort of disappointment when the ring is presented. If you have questions along those lines, read on—hopefully I can help.
Any idea why we propose with diamonds? That hasn’t always been a common practice. At the conclusion of The Great Depression, people were guarded and cautious with their money, and were very practical. De Beers was a diamond mining company that wanted to stimulate demand for their product (as all companies do). They started to pour money into advertising agencies that camp up with clever slogans, images, and media messages that began to condition society to equate diamonds with love and marriage.
Prior to this time, few people proposed with diamonds. They would use gold wedding bands or would have some other beautiful, but much less expensive, stone set on a ring. They looked on diamonds as something they didn’t want or need. Most house wives would much rather spend the money on a new oven or something much more practical.
The emotional attachment of diamonds to love and marriage helped stimulate demand in a big way. Soon, the depth of love felt, and the quality of the suitor, was somehow tied to the size of the diamond. Proposals with diamonds has become almost like a dowry that men pay out of their own pockets when they propose—hoping that they offering is going to be acceptable.
The same cultural conditioning is now playing out in places like China and India, where a growing upper and middle class is starting to embrace the marketing messages being fed to them by the diamond industry. With such large populations, they’re powerful and important markets to penetrate.
De Beers, and the broader diamond industry, has conditioned us with associations that predictably drive us to their product. We have to snap out of the consumption hypnosis and think for ourselves in order to make our best decision for now and the future.
Beauty and Durability
Man made diamonds are identical to earth mined diamonds. They’re made of Carbon, they’re just as hard, and have the same physical features. In fact, believe it or not, a jeweler or gemologist that’s give a mined diamond and a man-made diamond to visually and physically inspect, couldn’t tell them apart.
If they’re visually identical, and equally durable, but cost so much less—why would you voluntarily pay more (significantly more)?
Lab grown diamonds are forever stones. As you treat your ring with care, it can continue to look beautiful decade-after-decade. If you choose to, you can eventually gift the ring to a family member that survives you.
Savings and Value
Getting married is often an expensive proposition! The gown, the reception, the honeymoon, the cake, and ring all add up fast! If total budget is a concern, then lab diamonds could make a lot of sense. You can reasonably save 40% to 55% on the cost of your mined diamond ring when you opt for the identical looking lab grown version. That’s huge!
A recent state-by-state study of engagement buying trends found that the average engagement ring is over $5,000. In the state of California, the average is North of $10,000! If you can save even 50%, that would mean $2,500 to $5,000 that you can reallocate to other wedding expenses. When you can save that much without sacrificing on the look or quality, it becomes a ‘no brainer.’
Guys all want to be the hero that pulls the equivalent of the Hope Diamond out of our pocket to present to the one we love most. Man made diamonds provide the capacity to get twice as much ring for your money. That may not get you the Hope Diamond, but it will get you closer.
Many guys take out loans and go into debt to buy a bigger ring than they can really afford. It seems justifiable in the moment. While the ring may be beautiful right now, the impact of the debt could strain your marriage in the not too distant future. A university study that was done on the correlation between wedding spending and divorce, found that the less couples spend on their rings, the longer they stay together on average.
That really flies in the face of the message that the diamond industry is trying to sell us, doesn’t it? They want you to believe that big expensive diamonds equal true love, and that they’re the foundation of happy marriages. Based on this study, it’s not true. Instead of spending more than you can afford on a ring, how about giving something really rare and loving—financial security. Cutting your ring costs approximately in half with a man made version is a great start.
Lab-grown diamonds offer non-financial savings too. Here are several quick examples.
- Environmental Savings: Mining is much more impactful on multiple aspects of the environment.
- Human Suffering Savings: Lab diamonds help ensure that child labor and slave labor weren’t used to bring your diamond to market (ensuring that they aren’t ‘Blood Diamonds’).
Options for Your Savings
The money that you save on your engagement or wedding ring can be put to use in a variety of important areas. Here are several options (among many).
- Save for a down payment on a home
- Get more reliable transportation
- Pay down your student loans
- Get life insurance
- Start a small business
- Pay off other debt
- Save for a ‘rainy day’
- Start a college fund for a future child
- Plug it into a retirement account for your future
- Upgrade part of your wedding day that you haven’t had the budget to splurge on.
- Book a 1 year anniversary trip
- Extend, or upgrade, your honeymoon
- Pay for pre-marriage counseling to help you get off on the right foot
- Save money is an HSA (Health Savings Account) for future medical needs
Being able to get a beautiful and durable ring AND having money left over for some of the worthy causes listed above is SO MUCH better than paying twice as much for a ring that looks and functions the same.
It’s probably not a good idea to give someone a man-made diamond ring without telling them that it’s lab created. You don’t necessarily have to give that information while you’re down on your knee proposing, but you should mention it as soon as reasonably possible. As she’s admiring the ring and asking questions in the moments following her answer could be a good time. Later that same evening could be an appropriate time too.
Here’s the thing, when you gift that gem, you aren’t giving them an imitation stone—it’s 100% diamond. There’s nothing to feel ashamed of or apologetic over. The only reason that I recommend mentioning the origin, is for the sake of full disclosure. If you didn’t mention it, and she found out years down the road, she might not understand why you never mentioned that.
The best way to deal with the issue, is to find a way to talk about the benefits of lab grown stones and all the things you could do with the money you save BEFORE you go and buy the man made diamond ring. Maybe you could go through a list, like the one printed above, of possible uses for the money you save. Hopefully, they’ll catch the vision and support the idea enthusiastically. If you talk about it, in advance, you’ll know where they stand on various types of rings before you go out on a limb by making a purchase.
Do Real Diamonds Have a Rainbow Color?
When light enters through the top of your diamond, a portion of the light is broken up into a rainbow spectrum of light, that’s then reflected back to your eye as colored sparkles. The colored sparkles are referred to as ‘fire.’ A ring with lots of colored sparkle is said to be ‘fiery.’ Fire is part of what makes diamonds so captivating and beautiful to look at.
Can You Tell the Difference Between Cubic Zirconia and Diamond?
Someone that knows what to look for can tell the difference between a Cubic Zirconia and a diamond pretty quickly. Aside from various low tech tests that can be performed, you can also just look at the fire component of the sparkle of the stone to tell whether it is, or isn’t, a diamond. Cubic Zirconia is going to have a lot more fire (more of the colored sparkles) as light moves across the stone, as one major differentiator.
Do Diamonds Depreciate?
When first purchased at retail, diamonds depreciate significantly. It’s pretty common to lose 50% fo the amount that you spent on the diamond if you have to resell right away. In order to have a shot at even breaking even on your diamond, you’d likely need to be able to hold onto it for decades. Diamonds really aren’t a good investment vehicle, when it comes to diamonds of jewelry grade, and size.