New techniques are producing laboratory-made diamonds that even experts have a hard time distinguishing from natural diamonds.
The synthetic stones cost considerably less than the price of similar natural diamonds, and they’re free of the ethical issues associated with mined diamonds.
These are not your mom’s cubic zirconia. Laboratory-produced stones must be labeled synthetic, lab-grown or lab-created.
Some in the traditional diamond trade dismiss talk of synthetic stones as serious competition. Diamonds’ romantic history and earthy origins give them a unique emotional cache, they say.
Also, while you may be able to recoup some of your investment by selling your natural diamond ring, that’s unlikely with a synthetic diamond.
Three reasons to buy a synthetic diamond
Still, there are a few powerful reasons for consumers to prefer a synthetic stone:
1. Ethics: Some buyers worry they might be buying a “blood diamond” or “conflict diamond.” Such diamonds typically originate in war-torn African countries, and the large profits associated with them have led to the purchase of weapons that fuel armed conflicts.
The problem persists in spite of corporate responsibility initiatives and international certification programs.
2. Cost: There are plenty of things a young couple can do with tens of thousands of dollars rather than spending it on a rock. Buying a real diamond is just one more way that wedding costs can quickly soar out of control.
A synthetic diamond can help you hold on to more of your cash. For more tips on how to cut wedding costs, check out “Your Own Royal Wedding: 20 Classy Ways to Save on the Big Day.”
3. Trust: This third reason for buying a synthetic stone — because you can be certain of what you’re getting — may seem counterintuitive at first.
The quality of synthetics is so high that the diamond industry acknowledges that it’s difficult even for experts to distinguish synthetics from natural stones.
In 2012, the lab of the International Gemological Institute in Antwerp, Belgium, found several man-made stones among a group of diamonds that had been thought to be natural. The lab-made stones even contained impurities that apparently had been added to make them appear natural.
So think about it: Buying a frankly synthetic diamond at a price much lower than a comparable natural stone is protection against unknowingly paying full price for a counterfeit.
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