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3 Arguments About Laboratory-Grown Diamonds And How To Counteract Them

Updated: Feb 6

By Julia Griffith FGA DGA EG
THE GEM ACADEMY

 


The world of diamonds is evolving and laboratory-grown diamonds have been nudging further into the spotlight. As these stones gain popularity, it's common to encounter various arguments and misconceptions about them. In this short guide, we'll explore three common arguments and show you how to respond to them with grace and knowledge.



 



1: "Laboratory-Grown Diamonds Are Exactly the Same as Natural Diamonds."


I've heard many an argument about this. While diamonds and laboratory-grown diamonds are the same material - they are not exactly the same.


To be 'exactly the same' they would share identical chemical compositions and properties - but they don't. This is due to subtle differences in impurity elements within these stones (which, contrary to popular belief, both diamonds have laboratory-grown diamonds have many impurities).


The result is that they often react differently from one another under gemmological tests. It's what help's gemologists to identify them. For example, many laboratory-grown diamonds do not test as 'diamond' on diamond testers.


As a result of these facts - it cannot be said that diamonds and laboratory-grown diamonds are exactly the same. Subtle changes to the words you use to describe laboratory-grown diamonds will help you to avoid debates around this issue.


How to avoid the argument that they are 'exactly the same'


Selecting your words carefully when describing laboratory-grown diamonds will save you from argument.


You could say “Laboratory-grown diamonds have essentially the same chemical composition and crystal structure as natural diamonds” and you would be 100% accurate. The word 'essentially' is important. It reflects that the key composition and structure of diamonds and laboratory-grown diamonds (which is carbon in strong covalent bonds) is the same but not necessarily everything else.




 

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2: "Laboratory-Grown Diamonds Are Real Diamonds."


Laboratory-grown diamonds being described as 'real diamonds' is a huge issue.


Those that do this often wish to express that laboratory-grown diamonds are the same material as diamond and not an imitation of diamond, such as cubic zirconia or synthetic moissanite - entirely different materials that look like diamond but are not diamond.


Though it is tempting to use the word 'real' to affirm the fact that they are 'diamond' and not lookalikes, using the word 'real' is inappropriate. But why?


'Real' has a meaning:


Real

Oxford Dictionary
2. (of a thing) not imitation or artificial; genuine. "the earring was presumably real gold"


Laboratory-grown diamonds are not imitations but they certainly are artificial. By dictionary definition and all trade guidelines in the jewellery industry, the word 'real' can only be ascribed to things that natural (i.e. not artificially produced).


Artificial means a product that was made by people and not nature. This alone should be reason enough to avoid using this term. Words and their definitions matter.


Regardless, some still insist on referring to them as 'real' in an attempt to affirm they are the same material as diamond. This is a bad idea...


If a description is true for two different things, in this case the word ‘real’ being used for both diamonds and laboratory-grown diamonds, then it is not helping to separate the products. The meaning becomes meaningless and can lead to a misunderstanding.


Also, by way of definition and for the same reasons, the term 'genuine' should also only be applied to natural gems.


How to counteract the argument that laboratory-grown diamonds are 'real'


Simply avoid using the term real in your descriptions and explanations of laboratory-grown diamonds. If you find yourself in a debate about this, do some gentle schooling that the 'real' cannot be applied to artificial products. Not just by your standards, but by all trade standards and dictionary definitions.


In every terminology guide and trade guide (including the FTC) – it states that, regarding gemstones, the world ‘real’ is to only be used to describe those that are natural.


You could elaborate that though you both know diamonds and laboratory-grown diamonds are the same material, the world ‘real’ should only be used to refer to natural diamonds as this is what it insinuates. Using the word 'real' to describe laboratory-grown diamonds may cause confusion.



 



3: "Laboratory-Grown Diamonds Are Fake Diamonds."


Just as laboratory-grown diamonds should not be described as ‘real’, the word ‘fake’ is equally wrong. It can cause just as much confusion.


‘Fake’ suggests that the stone is not diamond at all - but instead an imitation of diamond such as cubic zirconia, synthetic moissanite, or paste. The phrase 'fake diamonds' has been used for imitations for decades and is what many people would think of if they heard the phrase 'fake diamonds'.


Though an artificial version of diamond, laboratory-grown diamonds are diamond - possessing the same beauty and durability. This eliminates the word ‘fake’ from being an appropriate term to use.


How to counteract this argument:


Call them what they are! Call them synthetic diamonds, laboratory-grown diamonds, or laboratory-created diamonds. Simples.



 


In all these discussions, it's essential to remain calm, respectful, and well-informed. If you find yourself at a head with someone over these subtle yet important points, address these common arguments with confidence and respect and you can help promote a better understanding of these stones which will hopefully ripple through the industry.


Wish to discuss more arguments or misconceptions? Pop them in the comments below.



 


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