Pink diamonds are extremely popular, but incredibly expensive. Pink Lab Grown Diamonds are an alternative that brings all the function and beauty at a fraction of the cost.
How much do Pink lab grown diamonds cost? Pink diamonds can be difficult to create in lab settings. Because of that difficulty, and high-demand, they are more expensive than colorless diamonds, and even many of the fancy colored varieties. Cost ultimately depends on color quality, but in general, you can expect to pay roughly $6,000 per carat.
There are many factors that go into the cost of a pink diamond. We explore the drivers of cost and how pink diamonds are formed both in the laboratory and in the earth below.
How Long have Pink Diamonds Been Popular?
The first record of a pink diamond was the Noor-ul-Ain, which is still one of the largest pink diamonds that has ever been mined. Today, the famous gem remains the most prominent embellishment on a tiara that’s part of the Iranian Crown Jewels. That ornate headpiece, which also includes 324 other diamonds, is also known by the name Noor-ul-Ain.
This old and beautiful pink diamond, is believed to have come from one of the Kuller mines in the southern India. The gem likely remained in India until Delhi was raided and looted in 1739 by Nadir Shah and his troops. The diamond has remained in the Iranian Crown Jewels collection ever since. While the Noor-ul-Ain is famous among gem enthusiasts, it isn’t something that most other people have heard of.
In more modern times, the pink diamond that attracted a great deal of general awareness and attention is the 6.1 carat carat pink diamond that Ben Affleck presented to Jennifer Lopez when he proposed in 2002. That impressive ring was was reported online, on television, and in print media around the globe. It created a greater awareness of, and desire for, pink diamonds. That surge in demand for pink diamond that J-Lo’s ring kicked off, hasn’t subsided since.
Pink diamonds are a hot commodity in Hollywood, and for brides around the world. They add color and variation to the traditional engagement ring or wedding ring, and feel especially feminine.
Why Do Diamonds Turn Pink in the Earth?
Pink diamonds are beautiful, but their especially captivating because they’re so rare in nature. They’re also mysterious gems. Scientists have heated debates over theories about how these rare diamonds form, but in reality, they don’t really know.
Diamonds naturally come in a wide variety of colors. All colors that aren’t the traditional colorless (or white) variety, are categorized as ‘Fancy Colored.’ Fancy colored diamonds typically get their color from trace elements that become impurities in the stone. The most common color related impurity, is a yellowish hue that diamonds often get from Nitrogen. All yellowed diamonds, from the barely yellow, to the canary yellow owe their color to Nitrogen. Boron is the element that’s responsible for blue diamonds. Hydrogen is believed to be the cause of purple diamonds.
Pink diamonds are very different from all other fancy colored diamonds. Their color has not come as a result of impurities in the stone. There typically are no trace elements influencing color in pink diamonds. Again, the actual cause has baffled scientists for many decades, but the prevailing theory has to do with intense, over-the-top, pressure. Pink diamonds weren’t always pink. They probably formed as colorless diamonds initially.
In fact, pink diamonds belong to the rare Type IIa group. The same group that CVD (lab created) diamonds fall into. Type IIa diamonds don’t have Nitrogen impurities, so their color isn’t impacted by Nitrogen (which normally has a yellowing influence on diamond color). This type is pretty rare for earth-mined diamonds. It’s estimated, that only about 2% of all mined diamonds are Type IIa gems.
We all know that diamonds are formed in the earth under extreme pressure, but it’s believed that pink diamonds had pressure move to a whole new level. Scientists think that the multiplication of pressure could have been the result of seismic activity. That pressure pushed and stretched the stone in ways that left banding. Today, when pockets are found that contain pink diamond, their are pink sections and colorless sections side-by-side (banding), that again, is evidence of incredible pressured, stretching, and a resulting molecular change.
The vast majority of mined pink diamonds now come from one mine in Western Australia (the Argyle mine). They produce a massive haul of roughly 20 million carats of mined diamonds each year, however, it’s estimated that only about 200,000 carats of that annual volume represent pink diamonds. That supply (roughly 1%) represents 80% of the world’s annual supply of mined pink diamonds. When that mine is no longer producing, mined pink diamonds may become far more rare.
Two record setting earth-mined pink diamonds include the Daria-i-Noor and the ‘Pink Star.’
The Daria-i-Noor is the largest pink diamond ever mined. It tips the scales at a whopping 182 carats! This giant pink diamond is actually one of the largest cut diamonds ever recorded. It was originally mined in Vijayanagara, India, but is now part of the Iranian Crown Jewels collection.
The Pink Star is believed to be the largest vivid pink diamond in the world at 59.60 carats. This record setting diamond sold at auction in 2017 for more $71.2 million dollars (that’s roughly $1,200,000 per carat)!
Creating Pink Diamonds in Labs
It isn’t ONLY in nature that pink diamonds are difficult to make. They’re complex to make in labs too, but they are available, and do cost substantially less than the earth mined version of the stone. Because earth mined, naturally pink, diamonds are much more rare than lab grown versions, they’re also much more expensive.
Pink lab-grown diamonds are almost always created through the CVD (Chemical Vapor Deposition) method. CVD is an ultra low pressure environment (the opposite of how pink diamonds are believed to have formed in the earth).
Instead of deforming the lattice structure of the diamond (and therefore changing its color) through excessive pressure (something we don’t have the technology to do yet), irradiation is used to change the structure of the crystal lattice, which also changes the color.
It’s important to realize that mined pink diamonds and lab created pink diamond have the exact same characteristics and properties. They look completely indistinguishable when they’re placed side-by-side. If you love the look of pink diamond, a lab created version will save you major money, without sacrificing either look or durability.
Turning Ordinary Diamonds into Pink Diamonds
It’s possible to take a normal colorless diamond, or even one with a slight tint of yellow or brown, and turn it into a pink diamond. In order to accomplish the transformation, the diamond would need to be in a loose form (not mounted to a ring). A lab would irradiate the colorless diamond and then expose it to intense heat through the HPHT (High Pressure High Temperature) process.
The resulting color change is absolutely permanent. It isn’t a superficial change that only affects the surface of the gem, this color change penetrates the entire diamond. The treatment can be difficult to detect, but the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) requires manufacturers and retailers to disclose that the treatment was done. In fact, when graded a ‘treated’ diamond, laboratories like GIA (Gemological Institute of America) will inscribe the girdle with a notice that it’s an irradiated diamond. That inscription is so small, that it can’t be read, or even noticed, without 20x-30x magnification.
Diamonds that are yellowed or brown can be made more colorless through the HPHT process, and then either sold as colorless diamonds, or again, irradiated to produce a fancy color. In either case, the treatment ultimately makes the diamond far more desirable and valuable to the manufacturer.
Is it Safe to Wear a Diamond After Radiation Treatment?
If you think about it, all earth mined diamonds have been exposed to radiation, it’s natural part of the formation process deep in the earth. In fact, it can be the primary reason that some fancy diamonds, like green diamonds, end up with their coloring. Diamonds don’t have lingering ‘radioactivity’ following the treatment. They quickly become totally inert following the process.
How Color Impacts Cost
The value of fancy colored diamonds is based almost exclusively on just 2 factors: color and carat weight. Normally diamonds have 4 drivers of value (the 4 C’s): color, carat weight, cut, and clarity. It’s not that cut and clarity have no impact at all, but overall value it’s heavily weighted toward color and carat weight.
Color is arguably the most important driver of value for all fancy colored diamonds. For example, A two carat diamond with unfavorable color qualities (weak or uneven coloring) probably wouldn’t sell for nearly as much as a one carat diamond with rich, vivid, and even coloring.
Perfect clarity is an extremely rare quality to find a mined pink diamond. Because of the extreme pressure (far beyond that which normal diamonds are exposed to) that caused a deformation in their lattice structure (and their pink coloring), inclusions are extremely common. Lack of inclusions, would actually lead a gemologist to initially suspect that the diamond they’re examining isn’t a one that was mined from the earth.
Lab created pink diamonds can have very vivid and even coloring, but they’re also less likely to contain significant inclusions, and could be inclusion free.
There are multiple ways that the color intensity of individual pink diamonds can be communicated. The following terms are the most commonly used. They’re listed below in order from the the least intense to the most intense.
- Faint pink
- Very light pink
- Light pink
- Fancy light pink
- Fancy pink
- Fancy intense pink
- Fancy vivid pink
- Fancy deep/dark pink
GIA has their own scale for communicating color intensity. The Argyle mine has even developed their own simple 9 point scale to communicate the lightness or darkness of a pink diamond.
There are a couple of color related drivers for the cost of pink diamonds.
- Vivid and consistent coloring
- Color Treatment
The more vivid or deep and consistent the pink coloring, the more expensive a particular diamond is going to be. Diamonds with those desirable color qualities are rare, especially for earth mined diamonds. The value of a mined diamond with rare and beautiful coloring will be much higher when its color qualities are natural—meaning that the diamond hasn’t been treated to create, or enhance, the color.
Pink diamonds often include overtones of other colors too, and they also impact the value of the gem. It could be brown, purple, orange, or other colors that mix fairly evenly or unevenly with the pink to create a color combination. In such instances, you may see color descriptions such as Brownish pink, purplish pink, or orangy pink.
There are three key aspects to the color quality of Fancy colored diamonds: hue, tone, and saturation. Hue refers to the main, or dominant, color. Tone refers to how light or dark the shade is. Saturation references the strength, or intensity, of the dominant color (the hue).
How Much Do Pink Diamonds Cost?
It’s really difficult to give a simple ‘rule of thumb’ answer to how much you can expect to pay for pink diamond, because the cost varies so much based on intensity and combination of colors. Having said that, we’ll provide some ballpark numbers on lab grown pink diamonds, and we’ll provide some cost examples for both mined and lab grown versions below.
Lab Grown Pink Diamonds Prices:
You’ll notice that pricing isn’t always linear. The value of pink diamonds can climb quickly as size increases, or color quality improves. For example, a Fancy Vivid Pink diamond that’s approximately .5 carats, could cost roughly $2.800, while a similar stone, with different coloring, might cost about half as much.
So, how does the cost of lab grown pink diamonds stack up against the cost of earth mined pink diamonds. Here are a couple of price comparisons for fairly similar diamonds that I just found online. While there’s a slight size difference with these diamonds, I tried to match the size, color, and other important aspects of value as closely as possible.
Pink Diamond Price Comparison (Earth vs Lab Grown):
|Earth Grown||1 carat||Fancy Deep Pink||SI2||$300,100|
|Lab Grown||1.45 carat||Fancy Deep Pink||SI2||$11,360|
That’s a savings of $288,740, or 99.96%
Here’s another comparison:
|Earth Grown||1.14 carat||Fancy Vivid Pink||SI2||$741,100|
|Lab Grown||1.65 carat||Fancy Vivid Pink||SI1||$5,540|
A savings of $735,560, or 99.99%
In general, you can expect to pay at least $60,000 per carat for earth-mined pink diamonds, though pink diamonds have sold for more than $2,000,000 per carat when they had exceptional qualities.
The Resale Market for Used Pink Diamonds
Diamonds typically aren’t a good investment for a typical consumer. You should buy your diamond because you like the way it looks, not because you expect it to turn a profit, or even break even, if you resell it in the future. Typically, you can’t break even on a diamond that you resell for many years, and even then, you’re actually taking a loss on the ring after adjusting for inflation in most cases.
Having said that, again, the surge in demand that Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez ignited in 2002, hasn’t diminished since. There’s an intense interest in quality pink diamonds. I suspect that you would have a lot of interest if you tried to resell an attractive earth mined or lab grown pink diamond at a reasonable price. Again, no one wants to pay retail for even a slightly used ring, but given enough time, you could probably recoup what you originally paid.
Selling direct to consumer cuts out the middleman and avoids fees that can get heavy. Sites like Craigslist.com and Kagigi.com can be good starting places for resale. If you want to simplify the resale process, there are online consignment companies that will advertise and sell the ring for you. They typically want to retain 25-30% of the purchase price as a commission for the sale.
The Best Metals to Pair with a Pint Diamond
White metals tend to pair best with pink diamonds. You may want to consider White Gold or Platinum. It’s certainly also possible to mount a pink diamond to yellow gold, but the reflection of yellow, from the gold, can sometimes influence the perceived color of the pink diamond (making it look almost orangy pink).
The Most Popular Shapes and Styles for Pink Diamonds
Some of the most popular cuts for pink diamonds include:
- Round Cut
- Cushion Cut
- Oval Cut
- Emerald Cut
Popular ring styles for pink diamonds include:
Solitaire: This is any ring that only features one gem.
Halo (single halo and double halo): This style has a complete circle, or halo, of diamonds (or other gems) that completely surround the center stone. A double halo features two rings of gems that are side-by-side, surrounding the center stone. A halo can make your center stone appear larger. This can be especially useful with pink diamonds, because they’re typically more expensive—and are therefore often smaller.
Three stone: As the name implies, a three stone ring contains three diamonds. There’s typically a larger center stone that then has two smaller stones (one on each side). All three stones typically have the same shape. The two smaller stones are the same size, creating a balance and symmetry to the appearance. The color of all three stones can match, or they can balance and coordinate. For example, you could have a pink diamond center stone, with a colorless diamond paired on each side, or you could have a colorless center stone, with two smaller pink diamonds beside it.
How to Clean and Protect your Pink Diamond
Pink diamonds are an investment that you’ll want to take good care of, so their value and beauty is protected. Maintenance is mostly common sense, but I’ll share a few important tips on how to properly protect and care for a pink diamond.
Diamonds that have been treated, to change or enhance their color, should be kept away from intense heat. Extreme heat could potentially alter treated diamond’s color in the place where that heat is applied. Fortunately, we’re not talking about the kind of heat you might experience when climbing into a hot car on a blistering summer day (even in Phoenix), we’re talking really intense heat from a jeweler’s torch for example.
Because of that risk, you should always tell your jeweler that your diamond has enhanced color, before you have them do work on your ring. That should alert them to the fact that they will want to exercise care to avoid potential damage. Color treatment is a permanent feature, and treated diamonds are by no means fragile, but exercising precaution is always wise.
Consider insuring your pink diamond. Insurance coverage is easy to get for both earth mined and lab grown diamond rings. It’s also a fairly inexpensive way to get peace of mind. A policy will likely cost between $1 and $2 per year for every $100 of insured value. In other words, if your pink diamond ring is worth $5,000, your policy would like cost $50 to $100 per year (approximately $4 to $8 per month).
Finding a policy should be easy. You should probably start by contacting the agent or company that provides your homeowner’s, Renter’s, or auto policies. There are also some companies that specialize in jewelry insurance. You can compare policies and pricing to find the service that fits you best.
Once your ring is insured, you’ll sleep easier! If your ring breaks, or is stolen, you’ll get a check from insurance that should help you to replace it. My younger sister once accidentally dropped her diamond ring on a tile floor, and the diamond cracked. It apparently had an inclusion that made it weak in one area. Fortunately, she had insurance, and soon received a funds from her provider.
The insurance money provided my sister with options. She could replace her original diamond if she wanted to, or use the money in some other way. She ended up replacing the diamond with a simulant, and then applying the vast majority of the insurance proceeds toward paying down some debts.
Dirt and oils are a common part of your everyday environment. Without even realizing it, they begin to coat your diamond, eventually muting it’s sparkle. In order to keep your ring in top shape, you’ll want to clean it (or have it cleaned) regularly.
Diamond is a very sparkling stone when it’s cut well. It will keep sparkling through grime—long after many diamond simulants with similar coting have become completely lifeless. Still, washing your diamond properly will make it sparkle with a great deal of additional intensity that you didn’t even know you were missing.
To wash your ring, fill a bowl with warm soapy water. You can use a mild dish soap (Dawn is a popular choice) as the cleaning agent. Place your ring in the bowl, and let it soak for several minutes to begin loosening up some of the gunk. Once it’s done soaking, use a child’s soft toothbrush to lightly, but thoroughly scrub the diamond and setting from top to bottom. You’ll want to be sure to get under the diamond, and around each arm of the mount.
After scrubbing well, rinse the ring thoroughly to remove all remaining soap, and then dry completely. You may want to initially dry the ring, as much as possible, by dabbing it with a clean and soft towel. Because the towell can’t possibly reach all surfaces and areas, you should use a hairdryer on it’s cool setting to complete the drying process.
Your jeweler can also clean your diamond for you using an ultrasonic cleaner if you’d rather not scrub it yourself—or you could even purchase your own ultrasonic cleaner to keep and use at home if you’d rather. A decent home use cleaner should cost less than $50.
Do Lab Grown Diamonds Have Inclusions?
Lab grown diamonds can have inclusions–just like earth mined diamonds. The inclusions found in diamonds formed through the HPHT process are different, and more numerous, than the inclusions found in CVD diamonds . Some lab diamonds, most commonly those created through CVD, are inclusion free.
Are Lab Grown Diamonds GIA Certified?
They can be certified by GIA, but other non-profit grading laboratories can also certify them. GIA doesn’t grade lab diamonds the exact same way that they grade earth mined diamonds, so many manufacturers choose to have their diamonds graded by IGI instead. IGI grades both types of diamonds identically.
Do Lab Grown Diamonds Last?
A Diamond’s hardness means scratch resistance and durability. It’s an important part of what makes diamonds last through generations. Lab grown diamonds have all the same characteristics for hardness and durability that mined diamonds have. In fact, they’re sometimes even harder than mined diamonds.