To the naked eye, laboratory grown and natural diamonds can seem almost identical, however there are marked differences between the two. Naturally formed diamonds are precious, rare and millions of years old. Synthetic diamonds are man made in laboratories across the world and the manufacturing process certainly takes less than a million years, often only taking a few weeks. Specialist testing equipment is available to accurately decipher if a stone is natural or synthetic. Those with a good eye may be able to detect a synthetic diamond, as often the manufacturing process can leave marks or even alter the colour variations within the stone.
Both natural and synthetic diamonds have pros and cons. Synthetic diamonds have a smaller environmental impact than the mining and production of natural diamonds. For those looking for the most environmentally friendly diamond, synthetic may be the better choice as its production emits less carbon dioxide and does not affect large areas of land or ecosystems, as it is manufactured within a laboratory rather than mined.
Some people have raised the concern that lab grown diamonds will become mixed amongst mined natural diamonds and possibly wrongfully sold as natural diamonds. Technology to detect natural vs lab grown diamonds is used to mitigate against this, alongside the skilled eye of expert gemologists.
For many people, natural diamonds are a more special purchase and better investment due to their complete uniqueness and historical connection to the earth itself. Natural diamonds are also often stronger than synthetic lab grown diamonds which can more commonly feature factures and small cracks. The durability of a natural diamond is second to none as the strongest material known to man.
Whilst to many there is no notable visual difference between natural diamonds and good synthetic diamonds it is often said that if viewed side by side, your eyes will be drawn to a natural diamond versus a synthetic one.