Do Lab Diamonds Test as Natural Diamonds? Expert Insights

Lab diamonds test as natural diamonds on most simple testers with some exceptions, however they can be conclusively identified in a gemological laboratory.
With lab diamonds quickly becoming a major consideration for engagement ring buyers and jewelry enthusiasts alike, numerous questions have been raised. Are lab diamonds real diamonds? Does a lab diamond test the same as a natural diamond? Exactly how are lab diamonds made, and how do they differ from natural diamonds? Is the quality comparable?
These and other questions need to be answered, and that is the focus of this article.
At Whiteflash we pride ourselves on educating our customers so they can make the most informed diamond buying decision possible, whether it's a lab grown or natural diamond. The remarkable, evolving world of lab-grown diamonds deserves a closer look, and we've broken down some key questions below around testing, identifying and quality assurance.

What Are Lab-Grown Diamonds?

Lab grown diamonds (also referred to as LGD, lab diamonds, man-made diamonds, or lab created diamonds) were first produced in the 1950’s experimentally, with gem quality man-made diamonds coming on to the commercial market in significant quantities just in the last ten years.
While we specialize in natural mined diamonds of the finest cut quality, we also offer a growing inventory of precision cut hearts and arrows lab-grown diamonds, as well as providing other lab diamonds on request. Our lab diamonds are cut to exacting tolerances for optimal light performance and we provide a comprehensive set of diagnostics on each detail page, including HD video. We provide advanced light performance imaging for our hearts and arrows rounds. You can browse our in-stock lab diamonds at our Precision Lab page.
Many people equate lab grown diamonds with simulant or “fake” diamonds, such as cubic zirconia or moissanite. While simulants bear a resemblance to a diamond, lab grown diamonds have essentially the same chemical and physical properties as a natural diamond. This makes them equally durable as natural diamonds and capable of the same beautiful optics when cut with precision. And it makes it very difficult for buyers, and indeed for jewelers, to conclusively identify lab grown diamonds with the naked eye.

How are Lab Diamonds Created?

The two primary methods for creating lab diamonds are High Pressure High Temperature (HPHT) and Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD).
  • HPHT has been utilized to grow diamonds since the 1950’s – pressure and temperature equivalent to a zone beneath the crust of the Earth are reproduced to crystalize carbon and create a synthetic diamond.
  • CVD begins with a diamond seed crystal (usually a HPHT crystal). Carbon rich gas such as methane is introduced into a vacuum chamber and broken down using microwaves – carbon atoms will then accumulate onto the diamond seed and a lab diamond is created.
Depending on the process, lab diamonds can take between two weeks and two months to be produced. Natural diamonds take billions of years to form. This significant difference in timeline (vs a natural diamond) results in different crystal characteristics and strain patterns that can be identified in a lab. A much lower price is also the result, as you might expect.

Lab Diamonds Test: How Does an Expert Jeweler Identify?

1.04 ct D VS1 Round Cut Precision Lab Grown Diamond
1.04 ct D VS1 Round Cut Precision Lab Grown Diamond
1.046 ct D VS1 A CUT ABOVE® Hearts and Arrows Diamond
1.046 ct D VS1 A CUT ABOVE® Hearts and Arrows Diamond
The average person cannot discern much from just looking at a diamond with their own eyes; you may be able to pick up on very noticeable inclusions and color variations, but without specialized equipment and knowledge it might not mean much to you.
So, to put it bluntly, the naked eye cannot tell the difference between natural and lab-grown diamonds. Even a professional gemologist can’t conclusively tell the difference by inspecting the diamond with the naked eye or with a standard diamond loupe. *Most lab diamonds are inscribed as such on the girdle making it possible to identify them with a 10x loupe.
In spite of the fact that their basic chemical composition and physical properties are the same, lab diamonds can be differentiated by gemological laboratories thanks to the telltale signs left behind during the formation process. Experienced jewelers and gemologists can also notice differences that indicate a synthetic diamond, but this must be confirmed in a lab using higher-level diagnostic tools.

Do Lab Grown Diamonds Pass a Diamond Tester?

Flower Cluster Lab Created Diamonds Pendant
Flower Cluster Lab Created Diamonds Pendant
Yes, lab grown diamonds do pass a standard diamond tester. Since lab-grown diamonds share the same physical, chemical, and optical properties as natural diamonds, they also have the same electrical and thermal conductivity properties.
The most common tool in the market to distinguish a lab diamond and a natural diamond is this simple diamond tester. It’s a portable, pen-sized device measuring heat and electric conduction to determine if a gemstone is a real diamond.
In short, all it does is measure how well the gemstone conducts heat and electric conduction. This way, the tester can tell you if the diamond is a ‘real’ diamond or not. However, it can’t differentiate between natural and lab-grown diamonds. A lab diamond tests the same as a natural diamond.
This is because lab grown diamonds have essentially the same chemical and physical properties as a natural diamond.
As a result, both lab-grown and natural diamonds will register as diamond on a standard diamond tester. To distinguish between the two, only the newest specialized devices can identify lab grown diamonds, or by sending the diamond to a well equipped gemological lab. Thus, a conventional diamond tester is not adequate to differentiate between lab-grown and natural diamonds.

How Can You Tell if a Diamond Is Lab-Grown?

2ctw E VS1 Round Precision Lab Created Diamond Earrings
2ctw E VS1 Round Precision Lab Created Diamond Earrings
There are ways to know if a diamond is lab-grown or natural. At the end of the day, what matters most is what makes you or your partner happy or gives you the best value for your money. That choice is a very personal one.
While lab diamonds may not be for everyone, a growing number of consumers are embracing the beauty of diamond through lab-created diamonds as a way to make budgets stretch further. The perfect companion for modern fine jewelry is a lab grown diamond - often allowing you to prioritize cut which maximizes sparkle and potential size up in terms of carat and appearance.
The affordability of lab-grown diamonds is one of the major reasons for their emerging popularity. Lab-created diamonds are manufactured worldwide in dozens of factories with continually improving technology, whereas natural diamonds are rare and found in only a few places on Earth.
The real lab diamond test lies beyond what the eye is able to see, in the growth structure. It is this characteristic that allows lab grown diamonds to be reliably identified in the lab. In addition to growth structures, inclusions can help distinguish between natural and synthetic materials.
It's easy to determine if the diamond is natural or lab-grown by inspecting a laboratory report. Additionally, you may be able to examine the diamond's girdle with a magnifying glass to see an inscription. A GIA or IGI-graded diamond would carry an engraved serial number over its girdle if it was graded by a trusted lab. But be aware that with smaller sizes this is not always the case.
A larger diamond with no inscription visible? Don't take a chance - This diamond is uncertified.
Buying diamonds certified by a top tier gemological laboratory and dealing with a trusted vendor eliminates the risk of unknowingly buying a simulant or synthetic diamond. If you want to be certain that the diamond you are buying is of high quality and identity, you must obtain its laboratory certification.

Where To Buy High Quality Lab Diamonds?

Four-Prong Timeless Lab Created Diamonds Tennis Bracelet
Four-Prong Timeless Lab Created Diamonds Tennis Bracelet
Online is the best way to purchase high quality lab grown diamonds. It might seem contrary after the insights we’ve provided in this article but ultimately, the process is very similar to that of purchasing a natural diamond.
Before buying a diamond online, make sure you review its properties in full and do your due diligence as a buyer. The cut, color, clarity, and carat of a diamond will be described in detail by reputable online retailers. Most importantly, it will be clearly labeled as a lab grown diamond.
Make sure to look at pictures and videos of the diamond too. To get a sense of how a lab-grown diamond interacts with light, start with jewelers who have high-resolution imagining and videos of their diamonds. Make sure your diamond comes with a grading report, of course! But also be aware that there are some characteristics that may not be captured on a laboratory report such as transparency issues due to strain or striation. This requires careful vetting by a trusted merchant.
At Whiteflash, our aim is to empower buyers with facts and education so that they can make the best choice for themselves. The first question to ask yourself is, what is motivating this decision?
If you are looking for the most budget-friendly option, our experts can advise you on how to strike the right balance between cost and beauty. It is our pleasure to offer the pinnacle of lab diamonds; Precision Lab diamonds. At the core of our ethos is cut quality and light performance, so we don’t settle for anything less. Nor should you!
In situations motivated by ethical or ecological concerns, we provide transparency and peace of mind so you can make the best decision for you. Our team of experts can help you find the perfect diamond for your jewelry masterpiece, whatever your preference.
Lab grown diamonds are a modern and cost-effective alternative to natural diamonds. Whether you're interested in buying a lab-grown diamond in Houston or online, our team of friendly experts are ready to support you with all the information you will need and assist you in your purchase.

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