Are Man-Made Diamonds Cheaper?

The answer to the question, "are man-made diamonds cheaper" is "it depends."

Man-made diamond prices, in general, have gone down in price. Natural diamonds, which have been around for a great deal longer than lab diamonds have fluctuated, but have retained value. Mined diamonds are a rare, natural resource that is always in demand, so they are gradually increasing in price over time.

Meanwhile, the value of synthetic diamonds is always changing. Initially, synthetic diamonds were priced slightly below natural diamonds, but now the difference in price is significant.

However, then De Beers started selling lab-grown diamonds (synonymous with synthetic diamonds) at a price of $800 per carat, which some claim was an attempt to flood the market and devalue lab diamonds. After they did this, lab diamonds decreased in value.

Currently, a lab created diamond is much cheaper than a mined diamond with prices falling fast.

The Reason for Higher Prices on Lab-Grown Diamonds

Many people are shocked to find that most lab-grown diamonds still go for around $1,000 to $3,000 for a 1-3 carat diamond. There are quite a few things that account for this price tag, however.

First of all, those who are concerned about buying a mined diamond after watching movies like Blood Diamond may prefer a lab created piece. Not realizing that “blood diamonds” otherwise known as “conflict diamonds” are virtually a thing of the past.

Another reason for the elevated price of synthetics diamonds is that it is still quite expensive to make lab diamonds. They require pressure chambers that raise temperatures to above 900 degrees Celsius. The process involves all sorts of specialized scientific material and expertise. Naturally, this process has and will get less expensive with time, like all other technologies.

Comparing Prices Is Hard Because It Can Be Tricky to Find Natural Equivalents

When discussing the costs of man-made diamonds, most people try just to find stones of a similar carat size and look at the prices. However, size alone does not give an accurate picture of a diamond's value. Diamonds are also valued based on their color and clarity.

In nature, all natural diamonds are rare, and this rarity increases when the size of the diamond and the clarity of a diamond increase. Except for the current limitations of the technology, no such natural scarcity exists. The ability to create lab-grown diamonds in larger carat sizes continues to accelerate.

When you compare lab created diamonds with a natural diamond of similar size, clarity, cut, and color, it will usually be at least a few thousand dollars cheaper. It is important to remember that the value of lab diamonds may drop precipitously in the future.

When Shopping for Used Diamonds, There's a Clear Winner

Whereas lab grown diamonds are less expensive than the equivalent natural diamond when buying them online or in a store, when looking to resell the lab diamond there is virtually no resale value. Natural stones are often resold for around 50-70 percent of its original value.

Meanwhile, no reputable jeweler buys back lab diamonds for more than a few dollars. The reason for this is that there is almost no market for preowned, lab-made diamonds. Most people who are interested in a synthetic diamond want a new piece of jewelry in a stylish, modern setting. Since most synthetic diamond pieces are only a few years old, they have not even acquired any value as a vintage design.

All of this is good news if you are in the market for a used lab-grown diamond. They are significantly cheaper while still being gorgeous and high quality. However, it might make you think twice about buying a new lab-made diamond if you want your jewelry to retain its value. Ultimately, a lab-created diamond is all about aesthetic appeal and sentimental value with tenuous long-term value, so they are not a wise investment.