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Is it true that you cannot differentiate a lab diamond from a natural diamonds if there is no inscription?

DoeEyes

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I thought I remembered reading here a while ago that no jeweler can actually identify a lab diamond absent an inscription, despite their claims.

I thought I also read something about certain machines or something that CAN identify a lab diamond, but that there are only a handful of these machines in the world?

Are there certain characteristics that are 100% only and always found in natural diamonds, or 100% only and always found in lab diamonds? If so, can they be identified by an average jeweler with standard equipment, or only be these rare machines mentioned above?
 

Bron357

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There are tests that can distinguish lab diamonds from natural but in the absence of tell tale grown inclusions or testing for it being a Type IIa (note - most lab diamonds are Type IIa but not all, and some natural diamonds are Type IIa) only a lab can run the appropriate tests. So your local jeweller or gemmologist is not able to conclusively identify lab from natural.
 

monipod

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IMG_2173.jpeg

Natural I1 diamond. No inscription or certificate needed for proof :lol-2: I love my 'bluffy' oval. She's pregnant with a spessatite garnet so def not a lab stone.

If this baby was VVS1 or even VVS2 then no idea how you'd tell if lab or not. As @Bron357 said, you'd need to take it to a lab.
 

sprinklesparkles

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There are some things that would indicate a lab diamond, but they're avoidable.

A larger, unincluded diamond with a brownish tint and obvious stria in an inexpensive or poorly made setting would give me a hint it's a lab diamond.

But individually or combined, all of those thing could be also true of a mined diamond.

I think there are some rare, metallic inclusions that the older, poor quality lab diamonds have that aren't found in mined. But you don't see those frequently and they're easily avoided.
 

sprinklesparkles

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IMG_2173.jpeg

Natural I1 diamond. No inscription or certificate needed for proof :lol-2: I love my 'bluffy' oval. She's pregnant with a spessatite garnet so def not a lab stone.

If this baby was VVS1 or even VVS2 then no idea how you'd tell if lab or not. As @Bron357 said, you'd need to take it to a lab.

This is such a fun diamond. Set that baby in a target with ruby or garnet halos!
 

nojs

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Bullet like metallic inclusion are a sure sign, just have a look on James Allen (clarity S1 and lower) to see some examples. Also those odd long black lines. Blue nuance is another tell sign, plenty of those around as well. Then there is stria. So in my opinion they are not identical to mind diamonds.

Sure, a D-F VVS+ might be hard to tell apart by naked eye, but I have understood the equipment to quickly tell them apart is quite common and relatively inexpensive.
 

nojs

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IMG_2173.jpeg

Natural I1 diamond. No inscription or certificate needed for proof :lol-2: I love my 'bluffy' oval. She's pregnant with a spessatite garnet so def not a lab stone.

If this baby was VVS1 or even VVS2 then no idea how you'd tell if lab or not. As @Bron357 said, you'd need to take it to a lab.

Love that diamond!
 

monipod

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This is such a fun diamond. Set that baby in a target with ruby or garnet halos!

Thank you! I couldn't resist mainly for that garnet baby, even though I promised myself to not buy another I1 lol She's in a chunky yellow gold semi-bezel east-west setting currently but I can see myself doing something else with her one day :D
 

Ada Diamonds CEO

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We had a (bold) reporter take one of our diamonds to 47th Street in NYC and secret shop them to 'We Buy Diamonds' people, and the buyers did not detect that it was a man made diamond:

Reporters can't tell the difference either:

 

monipod

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If you’re wondering if you could “trick” a recipient, probably, but only temporarily. As with all things, the truth always comes out.

I would feel bad about trying to sell a lab diamond to a pawn broker or other dealer as a mined diamond. I don't think I can even omit that detail on the basis that if they can't tell, then why volunteer the information etc.

However, I think for a majority of small/medium businesses, they won't be able to do the proper checks to differentiate between a lab and mined stone, especially in Australia. Certainly most wouldn't bother for anything under 1/1.5 carat unless there are some obvious oddities. I just don't think anyone would question if my lab studs (.5tcw) are mined or not if I were to sell them on ebay etc.

Larger stones? I think anyone with sense would do some due diligence and if they don't come with a certificate, they'd probably send it off to be valued/certified professionally and then they'll see what they come back with.
 

monipod

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We had a (bold) reporter take one of our diamonds to 47th Street in NYC and secret shop them to 'We Buy Diamonds' people, and the buyers did not detect that it was a man made diamond...

Oh now that's interesting!

Can I ask if in your opinion that stria is that noticeable or present in newer lab stones? I'm thinking the tech is starting to make them pretty clean with each generation of machines etc.?
 

kgizo

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We had a (bold) reporter take one of our diamonds to 47th Street in NYC and secret shop them to 'We Buy Diamonds' people, and the buyers did not detect that it was a man made diamond:

Reporters can't tell the difference either:


The first article is about 3 years old. I thought they had made improvements in testing since then. Can anyone in the trade weigh in on the cost and availability of testing equipment?
 

DoeEyes

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If you’re wondering if you could “trick” a recipient, probably, but only temporarily. As with all things, the truth always comes out.

Lol nothing so nefarious. Just arguing with someone on Facebook who said any jeweler could tell the difference..
 

jaysonsmom

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I probably own about half mined and half lab grown diamonds now, and wear them together and interchangeably. I also wear them next to each other, have them set in the same ring, and none of the 2 reputable local jewelers I use for setting/repairs etc could tell the difference. That being said, I have very high "premium" labgrown diamonds, with no stria, and ideally cut for light return because even at the "high end" they are still SO MUCH MORE AFFORDABLE than mined diamonds with similar specs! I just started buying lab grown diamonds in the past year, and I already have 50/50 mined to lab!

I'm at the point where I cannot see myself buying mined diamonds in the sizes that I want, because they cost more than my car/ I feel like shaking some of the PSer's who are spending 3X the amount of money for diamonds with the same high specs as my lab grown diamonds and I feel like shouting from the rooftops at the newbies in Rocky Talky (who are sacrificing 1 or more of the 4C's) because they can't afford what they want in a mined diamond to look into MMD.....I'm sure I would be violating some rules, but so frustrating!
 

m1918

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Oct 10, 2018
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I probably own about half mined and half lab grown diamonds now, and wear them together and interchangeably. I also wear them next to each other, have them set in the same ring, and none of the 2 reputable local jewelers I use for setting/repairs etc could tell the difference. That being said, I have very high "premium" labgrown diamonds, with no stria, and ideally cut for light return because even at the "high end" they are still SO MUCH MORE AFFORDABLE than mined diamonds with similar specs! I just started buying lab grown diamonds in the past year, and I already have 50/50 mined to lab!

I'm at the point where I cannot see myself buying mined diamonds in the sizes that I want, because they cost more than my car/ I feel like shaking some of the PSer's who are spending 3X the amount of money for diamonds with the same high specs as my lab grown diamonds and I feel like shouting from the rooftops at the newbies in Rocky Talky (who are sacrificing 1 or more of the 4C's) because they can't afford what they want in a mined diamond to look into MMD.....I'm sure I would be violating some rules, but so frustrating!

As someone on the fence about lab vs. mined, I love hearing this perspective! If you could do it all over again, do you think you’d go totally lab over mined?
 

monipod

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840
I'm at the point where I cannot see myself buying mined diamonds in the sizes that I want, because they cost more than my car/ I feel like shaking some of the PSer's who are spending 3X the amount of money for diamonds with the same high specs as my lab grown diamonds and I feel like shouting from the rooftops at the newbies in Rocky Talky (who are sacrificing 1 or more of the 4C's) because they can't afford what they want in a mined diamond to look into MMD.....I'm sure I would be violating some rules, but so frustrating!

Amen! I was just looking at my Asscher and thought to myself how awesome lab stones are. I would never have been able to afford a 1+ct mined Asscher. There's been so many posts in RT where I've wanted to suggest lab but other than it being forbidden, I'd be too scared of the hardcore mined stone fans LOL
 

jaysonsmom

Ideal_Rock
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As someone on the fence about lab vs. mined, I love hearing this perspective! If you could do it all over again, do you think you’d go totally lab over mined?

Definitely, without a doubt. I would not own mined diamonds at all. I got engaged 22 years ago before the technology to produce white MMD was available, and colored MMD were still rare, costly and small. If the technology were available 22 years ago, I wouldn’t hesitate to get the biggest, whitest, and most well cut MMD possible, and I would probably have quite an impressive collection by now (20 years married). My primary ring finger “e-ring” is my 2.8ct Heritage OEC (MMD) 20th anniversary ring and there would have been no way I could justify getting this ring with 1 kid in university and another to start in a year!
 

monipod

Brilliant_Rock
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Messages
840
As someone on the fence about lab vs. mined, I love hearing this perspective! If you could do it all over again, do you think you’d go totally lab over mined?

I love my 'pregnant' oval so much that even though I could have bought a more colourless, clearer and better cut lab oval, I'm good. Occasionally I look at my mined marquis and wish I had gone lab, but I love the white fluorescence so again, no regrets. Moving forward though, I probably won't go mined.
 

m1918

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Oct 10, 2018
Messages
114
Definitely, without a doubt. I would not own mined diamonds at all. I got engaged 22 years ago before the technology to produce white MMD was available, and colored MMD were still rare, costly and small. If the technology were available 22 years ago, I wouldn’t hesitate to get the biggest, whitest, and most well cut MMD possible, and I would probably have quite an impressive collection by now (20 years married). My primary ring finger “e-ring” is my 2.8ct Heritage OEC (MMD) 20th anniversary ring and there would have been no way I could justify getting this ring with 1 kid in university and another to start in a year!


I love my 'pregnant' oval so much that even though I could have bought a more colourless, clearer and better cut lab oval, I'm good. Occasionally I look at my mined marquis and wish I had gone lab, but I love the white fluorescence so again, no regrets. Moving forward though, I probably won't go mined.

Thank you both for sharing!
 

distracts

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I probably own about half mined and half lab grown diamonds now, and wear them together and interchangeably. I also wear them next to each other, have them set in the same ring, and none of the 2 reputable local jewelers I use for setting/repairs etc could tell the difference. That being said, I have very high "premium" labgrown diamonds, with no stria, and ideally cut for light return because even at the "high end" they are still SO MUCH MORE AFFORDABLE than mined diamonds with similar specs! I just started buying lab grown diamonds in the past year, and I already have 50/50 mined to lab!

I'm at the point where I cannot see myself buying mined diamonds in the sizes that I want, because they cost more than my car/ I feel like shaking some of the PSer's who are spending 3X the amount of money for diamonds with the same high specs as my lab grown diamonds and I feel like shouting from the rooftops at the newbies in Rocky Talky (who are sacrificing 1 or more of the 4C's) because they can't afford what they want in a mined diamond to look into MMD.....I'm sure I would be violating some rules, but so frustrating!

Yeah, I am not a Diamond Person, and whenever I think about buying natural diamonds, I am like, "oh, but I could buy this sapphire, or that spinel, AND a setting, AND have money left over." But lab diamonds are getting to the price where I don't have that second-guess. And the diamond pieces I most want are a tennis bracelet and riviera necklace, and in good size those are $$$$ and I'd probably never ever buy them in natural diamonds. As it is, my "diamond" solitaire and studs are moissanite and I'm perfectly happy with those. I'd never be happy with a synthetic for a colored gem but for clear diamonds? Sure!
 

kgizo

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@Starfacet has the answer :) This is what is used by many jewelers. It isn’t cheap at $6-7K, but considering that could easily be the loss on getting one diamond wrong many jewelers now have this.

 

Starfacet Jewelry

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Yep, we have one at work. We mostly use it when we are taking in goods that we are considering purchasing from individuals and when we purchase diamond melee parcels. Every now and then, a lab diamond will sneak into the parcels.
 

denverappraiser

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Yes and no.

I get asked to do this separation regularly and normally it's not all that difficult. The inscription is helpful but it's not necessary.

There are tools on the market for this purpose. There's one linked above. Here's another one, for example.


A lot of them are a little on the expensive side, and most jewelers don't have one for that reason, but it's definitely incorrect to say there are only a few in the world. I know of at least 4 in Denver, for example. (I have one). Business is booming for the people selling these things.

The tricky part is in the false negatives. That is to say, calling natural diamonds synthetic. The problem is in what's called type 2a diamonds. That's about 2% of the natural stones and 100% of the synthetics and separating a natural 2a from a synthetic 2a is beyond the scope of most of these testers. The inexpensive testers, under say $50,000, will refer you to someone who has one (or several) of the expensive tools. Realistically that means labs like GIA or IGI. I don't know a single jeweler who has tools to do it without occasional outside services. That's about 98% of your answer. If it's in debate and it's important, send it out.

There are subtle clues as well. There are inclusions that occur in natural stones but not synthetics and visa-versa. That you can do with a microscope and an inspection. Certain colors don't appear in nature or appear so rarely that they are assumed to be treated or synthetic unless they come with the above lab papers. Synthetics generally don't, currently, have blue fluorescence. Most naturals don't either but some do, it's an easy thing to check and, if the blue is there, you have a good clue for natural origin.
 

sprinklesparkles

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Yes and no.

I get asked to do this separation regularly and normally it's not all that difficult. The inscription is helpful but it's not necessary.

There are tools on the market for this purpose. There's one linked above. Here's another one, for example.


A lot of them are a little on the expensive side, and most jewelers don't have one for that reason, but it's definitely incorrect to say there are only a few in the world. I know of at least 4 in Denver, for example. (I have one). Business is booming for the people selling these things.

The tricky part is in the false negatives. That is to say, calling natural diamonds synthetic. The problem is in what's called type 2a diamonds. That's about 2% of the natural stones and 100% of the synthetics and separating a natural 2a from a synthetic 2a is beyond the scope of most of these testers. The inexpensive testers, under say $50,000, will refer you to someone who has one (or several) of the expensive tools. Realistically that means labs like GIA or IGI. I don't know a single jeweler who has tools to do it without occasional outside services. That's about 98% of your answer. If it's in debate and it's important, send it out.

There are subtle clues as well. There are inclusions that occur in natural stones but not synthetics and visa-versa. That you can do with a microscope and an inspection. Certain colors don't appear in nature or appear so rarely that they are assumed to be treated or synthetic unless they come with the above lab papers. Synthetics generally don't, currently, have blue fluorescence. Most naturals don't either but some do, it's an easy thing to check and, if the blue is there, you have a good clue for natural origin.

Man made / lab grown diamonds are not synthetics.
 

denverappraiser

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Factories are not laboratories.

From dictionary.com.​

synthetic​

[ sin-thet-ik ]SHOW IPA


See synonyms for: synthetic / synthetics / synthetically on Thesaurus.com

adjective​

of, pertaining to, proceeding by, or involving synthesis (opposed to analytic).
noting or pertaining to compounds formed through a chemical process by human agency, as opposed to those of natural origin: synthetic vitamins; synthetic fiber.
 
Last edited:

123ducklings

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Man made / lab grown diamonds are not synthetics.

MMD/LGD are synthetic.

But many companies and consumers have moved away from that language because companies that sell simulants like CZ or moissanite sometimes market them as “synthetic diamonds” which has created confusion in the marketplace.

I’m obviously not @denverappraiser but I believe the use of “synthetic” here is a matter of precise language in a technical/educational discussion rather than a value statement wrapped up with the baggage of emotional marketing.
 

John Pollard

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Hello all,

Many answers to these questions can be found on our education page on Lab Grown Diamonds.


Are there certain characteristics that are 100% only and always found in natural diamonds, or 100% only and always found in lab diamonds?

Yes.

Photo examples, supporting the discussion above can be seen here.
 

Ada Diamonds CEO

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@John Pollard - Thanks for quoting me in the FAQ! I presented a paper at the last GIA Symposium on the topic of functional diamonds. Might pique your interest!


@denverappraiser - While I generally agree with most of your posts, it's not scientifically accurate to call the crystallization of carbon synthetic, as there is no synthesis that occurs in in the process of converting one allotrope of carbon into another allotrope of carbon.

To stick with your favored source of truth, dictionary.com: Synthesis: Noun. Chemistry. the forming or building of a more complex substance or compound from elements or simpler compounds.

There are no simpler compounds or substances combined to make a more complex compound. Diamond is not a compound. Diamond does not have multiple precursors. Diamond is just carbon atoms bonded to other carbon atoms via sp3 bonds, made from 1-atom diamonds (CH4) or graphite (sp2 bonded carbon).

Put another way, there is no such thing as:
  • synthetic oxygen
  • synthetic gold
  • synthetic carbon
Thus, there is no such thing as synthetic diamond, just as there is no such thing as synthetic platinum.

That being said, if you want to stick with De Beers' carefully chosen and promoted terminology for an existential threat to their entire mining operation.... that's your prerogative Screen Shot 05-24-21 at 03.58 PM.JPG .

 
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