shape
carat
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Lab Grown vs Natural Diamond (Emerald Cut)

jerseypeach

Rough_Rock
Joined
Apr 30, 2021
Messages
49
Hi! I am in the process of upgrading my current engagement ring and have narrowed it down to two stones/settings. This has been a long process but I’m confident that it’ll be one of these two options. For the setting, I’m doing a thin band with side step trapezoids

Option 1:
Natural diamond
3 carats, K VS2
1.45 ratio
Really incredible spread: 10.37 x 7.14
I’ve seen the stone in person and it is beautiful. But there is no denying that in certain lights it has a yellow cast. Mostly I don’t mind because I find it fleeting.
D6770633-B4AD-4BD0-9610-87397118B79D.jpeg

If I opt to go with a lab stone -
3 Carats, E VS1
1.46 ratio
9.97x6.85

3C218516-6F65-4717-BB44-166CDBE78C6D.jpeg

Outside of the specs, the biggest difference is that the natural diamond is roughly double the cost of the lab diamond. I am very torn and undecided if it’s worth double to have a natural diamond, especially given the K coloring. But there’s something special to me about a natural stone. Anyone been in any similar situations? Or any thoughts between these two stones? Any and all opinions are VERY appreciated!
 

Diamond Girl 21

Brilliant_Rock
Premium
Joined
Jun 26, 2017
Messages
1,449
What stood out to me is that you said there's something special about a natural diamond, and that it's beautiful. Is there an upgrade option if you decide it's a little too warm for you?

Have you seen the lab diamond in person? Can you compare them side by side?

I'm probably not being very helpful, but maybe gave you a few things to think about.
 

DejaWiz

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Apr 23, 2021
Messages
895
The way I see it, an LGD saves up-front cost at the time of purchase, but should be approached as a "one and done" solution, since there will be no residual value.
The exception to this is the rare vendor that includes their LGD sales in their customer upgrade programs (James Allen is the only major one that I know of, but there are probably others out there).

The benefit of going with a natural grown is that the retained value will always be there and increase over time if you plan to keep it long term before maybe selling/upgrading (unless you go with a very specific vendor that has an LGD upgrade program).

Tough spot to be in: lab grown E VS1 for half the cost of natural grown K VS2, because your instant depreciation loss will be about the same: half the value for the natural, and all the value for the lab.

If that doesn't quite make sense, then here's another way to put it (using made up numbers):

Natural retail price: $8000
...instant depreciation: about 50% or $4000
...net loss: $4000
...retained value: $4000 (increases over time), can sell for cash if push comes to shove

Lab diamond retail price: $4000
...instant depreciation: about 100% or $4000
...net loss: $4000
...retained value: $0 (unless it's from a seller that encompasses LGDs in their upgrade program), will have no to extremely little cash value.

If you want the allure and retained/increasing value of a natural diamond, then the choice is clear.
 
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jerseypeach

Rough_Rock
Joined
Apr 30, 2021
Messages
49
What stood out to me is that you said there's something special about a natural diamond, and that it's beautiful. Is there an upgrade option if you decide it's a little too warm for you?

Have you seen the lab diamond in person? Can you compare them side by side?

I'm probably not being very helpful, but maybe gave you a few things to think about.

Thanks for your reply. :)

I haven’t seen it in person yet but I will be seeing them side by side on Tuesday. That being said I really trust the company that is sourcing it and they’ve told me I’ll be very happy with it visually. I’m sure I’ll find it beautiful as well! They do know my back and forth on lab versus natural which is why they want me to see both in-person.

where I’m purchasing from does have an upgrade program, so I could definitely trade the natural in at a later date!
 

jerseypeach

Rough_Rock
Joined
Apr 30, 2021
Messages
49
The way I see it, an LGD saves up-front cost at the time of purchase, but should be approached as a "one and done" solution, since there will be no residual value.
The exception to this is the rare vendor that includes their LGD sales in their customer upgrade programs (James Allen is the only major one that I know of, but there are probably others out there).

The benefit of going with a natural grown is that the retained value will always be there and increase over time if you plan to keep it long term before maybe selling/upgrading (unless you go with a very specific vendor that has an LGD upgrade program).

Tough spot to be in: lab grown E VS1 for half the cost of natural grown K VS2, because your instant depreciation loss will be about the same: half the value for the natural, and all the value for the lab.

If that doesn't quite make sense, then here's another way to put it (using made up numbers):

Natural retail price: $8000
...instant depreciation: about 50% or $4000
...net loss: $4000
...retained value: $4000 (increases over time), can sell for cash if push comes to shove

Lab diamond retail price: $4000
...instant depreciation: about 100% or $4000
...net loss: $4000
...retained value: $0 (unless it's from a seller that encompasses LGDs in their upgrade program), will have no to extremely little cash value.

If you want the allure and retained/increasing value of a natural diamond, then the choice is clear.

You’ve summed up nicely how I’ve been feeling about all this! The lack of “value” tied to the lab diamond is hard for me to wrap my head around. But then I also wonder if I plan on keeping it how much it should matter.
 

vintageinjune

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Jan 4, 2012
Messages
427
While in general I'm very pro lab-diamond, that spread on the natural is quite difficult to beat!
That said, while they have a trade up policy and you can buy a higher color diamond later down the road, how likely is it they can find you a diamond in a higher color with the same spread for what you'd be willing to spend on that upgrade?
You'd spend twice as much now for the natural, and probably even more down the road for an upgrade.
Would the lab diamond tick all your boxes for the long term? (aside from feeling there is something special about natural?)
 

jerseypeach

Rough_Rock
Joined
Apr 30, 2021
Messages
49
While in general I'm very pro lab-diamond, that spread on the natural is quite difficult to beat!
That said, while they have a trade up policy and you can buy a higher color diamond later down the road, how likely is it they can find you a diamond in a higher color with the same spread for what you'd be willing to spend on that upgrade?
You'd spend twice as much now for the natural, and probably even more down the road for an upgrade.
Would the lab diamond tick all your boxes for the long term? (aside from feeling there is something special about natural?)

I so agree! The spread is part of what is so appealing about this stone. It looks more like a 3.50+ to me.

your point is a good one. I don’t anticipate I’ll want to trade in this stone, and I especially doubt I’ll want to pay even more than this for a different stone. I’ve attached a few more pictures here so you can see where the yellow tends to come out. Office setting with fluorescent lights (and the blue wax isn’t helping) definitely highlights it. That being said, I think in a white gold setting and better matched traps it could help substantially. But those are big “ifs”. 0B9A996D-E89B-439A-A958-AC8C7BA478ED.jpeg A685145E-640D-4A2E-935C-B9FFBED97390.png BA47E931-42D7-4410-AD3A-D281AF34F6CA.png

regarding the lab diamond - the spread isn’t quite as impressive, but I would say it checks every other box.
 
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DejaWiz

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Apr 23, 2021
Messages
895
Makes it an even tougher call. If you want the bigger perceived spread and don't mind the warmth of the natural, then you can't go wrong.
If you want the higher color grade, then the lab makes sense.
 

jerseypeach

Rough_Rock
Joined
Apr 30, 2021
Messages
49
This is just what I was thinking! Either a lab grown with better spread, or a larger lab grown that is still significantly cheaper than the natural diamond, even if it's a little more than the current one.

That's definitely a possibility. Though in full candor I get a bit squeamish at the idea of spending more than half the cost of a natural diamond. So I'm looking for a bit of find, honestly pretty similar to the stone I have now. I looked for it for a really long time and my jeweler kindly jumped on it when I send it to them.

I have found one lab-grown that is closer to that proportions and in my budget - the question will just become if they're able to get it.

FYI - I'm pretty committed to working with them because:
1) I already paid a 50% downpayment on the natural stone but they're happy to let me switch to lab if I prefer (which seems like a very smart business decision given the profit potential on lab for them)
2) I've honestly never had some cooperative and kind people to work with.
 

vintageinjune

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Jan 4, 2012
Messages
427
Though in full candor I get a bit squeamish at the idea of spending more than half the cost of a natural diamond.
There is no right or wrong, ultimately you need go go with what your gut, heart, and eyes are telling you! Also, when you find people who are willing to take care of you, stick with them.

To me, comparing the cost of a K/VS2 vs an E, VS1 isn't apples to apples. I factor in how much I'm saving in lab versus natural with stones that both have identical or incredibly similar specs.

Full disclosure - my brain doesn't always work the way most others do. We all have our own internal dialogue of checks, balances, and beliefs that will ultimately help us decide which is the correct/best path to go down, and that is entirely personal.

Cause seriously.... you can't go wrong either way unless you try to go against your heart. I'm just excited you let us in on your project, it's incredibly fun to be along for the ride!
 
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jerseypeach

Rough_Rock
Joined
Apr 30, 2021
Messages
49
I’m team Slightly Bigger Lab! Find a 3.5-ish MMD with a similar 10-11x7-8mm spread for a teeny bit more dough. It would still be half the cost (max) of a natty 3.5ct. Love the ratio you’ve chosen, btw!

Thank you so much! Ratio wound up being one of the things I cared the most about!
 

Rockdiamond

Ideal_Rock
Trade
Joined
Jan 7, 2009
Messages
8,762
Lab diamond retail price: $4000
...instant depreciation: about 100% or $4000
...net loss: $4000
...retained value: $0 (unless it's from a seller that encompasses LGDs in their upgrade program), will have no to extremely little cash value.

Deja!!!
Please have everyone send me the $0 value lab stones.......we're buyers!!!
lol....
Seriously....wouldn't you agree that selling a lab grown diamond privately- or to a dealer- is not very easy...but then again, neither is selling an Earth mined diamond.....
I just think you're being a little too tough on resale of lab grown diamonds..
 

DejaWiz

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Apr 23, 2021
Messages
895
Deja!!!
Please have everyone send me the $0 value lab stones.......we're buyers!!!
lol....
Seriously....wouldn't you agree that selling a lab grown diamond privately- or to a dealer- is not very easy...but then again, neither is selling an Earth mined diamond.....
I just think you're being a little too tough on resale of lab grown diamonds..

I have yet to find a dealer willing to pay a consumer an equivalent aftermarket percentage for a used lab diamond as they would a used natural. Or any percentage for a used lab diamond, for that matter.

Are lab diamonds still 70-90 back, depending on the quality?
That makes them cheaper (or very near) for the seller to buy brand new than pay a walk-in the 40-60% of retail that they could get in they were selling a natural. There'd be no room for profit (maybe even no room to cover overhead) trying to re-sell a used LGD bought at that percentage.

Am I misunderstanding something and off base, here?
 

Rockdiamond

Ideal_Rock
Trade
Joined
Jan 7, 2009
Messages
8,762
Am I misunderstanding something and off base, here?

Well, from my perspective, the Rap price is irrelevant in this context.
If someone bought a nicely cut, attractive Lab Grown Diamond for $4k, I feel quite sure they could recover $1000 at least, by approaching reputable Lab Grown sellers.....( other than the majority of internet sellers who do not own any inventory)
But again, most Earth mined diamond sellers online don't own inventory...but you can find them......
Even if the seller is paying $2k and selling for $4k ( highly unlikely in today's market) the chance to buy a nice stone at 1/2 wholesale seems attractive to me.,.....
 

Rockdiamond

Ideal_Rock
Trade
Joined
Jan 7, 2009
Messages
8,762
@DejaWiz ...to be clear- I am quite sure neither of us is advocating buying EM, or LG diamonds for investment purposes...but I do believe recovery of a portion of the investment would be possible
 

DejaWiz

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Apr 23, 2021
Messages
895
@Rockdiamond that's fair. My ultimate concern is that growth methodologies for LGD will become reduced over time, thus further reducing the potential for any retained value.

Naturals tend to increase over time, especially in flavors of larger carat weights.
 

jerseypeach

Rough_Rock
Joined
Apr 30, 2021
Messages
49
Hi! I am in the process of upgrading my current engagement ring and have narrowed it down to two stones/settings. This has been a long process but I’m confident that it’ll be one of these two options. For the setting, I’m doing a thin band with side step trapezoids

Option 1:
Natural diamond
3 carats, K VS2
1.45 ratio
Really incredible spread: 10.37 x 7.14
I’ve seen the stone in person and it is beautiful. But there is no denying that in certain lights it has a yellow cast. Mostly I don’t mind because I find it fleeting.
D6770633-B4AD-4BD0-9610-87397118B79D.jpeg

If I opt to go with a lab stone -
3 Carats, E VS1
1.46 ratio
9.97x6.85

3C218516-6F65-4717-BB44-166CDBE78C6D.jpeg

Outside of the specs, the biggest difference is that the natural diamond is roughly double the cost of the lab diamond. I am very torn and undecided if it’s worth double to have a natural diamond, especially given the K coloring. But there’s something special to me about a natural stone. Anyone been in any similar situations? Or any thoughts between these two stones? Any and all opinions are VERY appreciated!

Hello all! Big thanks to everyone who has been following along on this journey.

today I went to the jeweler and made a couple decisions:
1) I didn’t like the size of the lab diamond. If I’m going to go with a lab diamond I want into to have dimensions closer to the natural diamond I’m considering.
2) I really love the natural diamond, but do not like the shade variation between the side stones and the center stone.

SO, with all that I told them I’m equally open to a lab diamond with larger proportions, or sticking with the natural if they can find side stones that are closer to J/K in color.

Here are a few pictures from today…

- comparison shots between the two stones. Clearly the F is brighter, but you can also see that it looks much smaller
- some solo shots of the natural K outside
AD0ABDD1-5199-4516-A4CC-590CCE3289E1.jpeg DF76D8D4-3952-4B6F-8899-2618965328A2.jpeg 4F32C390-6B1D-4725-8993-4CE9553CC340.jpeg F9849C0A-21CD-43E5-B1A8-6292F117C5E9.jpeg 51B52EFC-C01D-43AC-98AF-837161C05FF6.jpeg
 

jaysonsmom

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Mar 13, 2004
Messages
4,230
Just my 2 cents....this is not your e-ring diamond right? Are you keeping your e-ring diamond? I would not even think twice about getting the biggest, whitest LG emerald cut diamond for the Anniversary ring. Why pay double for a lower colored stone that will bother you to no end? AAARRRRRRGGGGGGGG

Do the optics (light return) look any different between the 2 stones you looked at in person? Does one look more "real" to you? No! So why would anyone want to pay double the amount of $$ for a lower spec (color and clarity) diamond?
 

jerseypeach

Rough_Rock
Joined
Apr 30, 2021
Messages
49
Just my 2 cents....this is not your e-ring diamond right? Are you keeping your e-ring diamond? I would not even think twice about getting the biggest, whitest LG emerald cut diamond for the Anniversary ring. Why pay double for a lower colored stone that will bother you to no end? AAARRRRRRGGGGGGGG

Do the optics (light return) look any different between the 2 stones you looked at in person? Does one look more "real" to you? No! So why would anyone want to pay double the amount of $$ for a lower spec (color and clarity) diamond?

Hi! It is replacing my engagement ring but I am keeping my original for sentimental purposes. So it’ll be worn everyday as my engagement ring.

to answer your question - I’m not sure. It’s always just felt more “special” to go with a natural diamond. And then I have also had a hard time wrapping my head around the extreme depreciation of a lab grown. This is what’s kept me tied to the idea of doing natural though the more time passes the more open to lab I find myself becoming!
 

jaysonsmom

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Mar 13, 2004
Messages
4,230
Are you aware that there are Vendors that have trade up policies for LG grown diamonds as well? So you are not losing anything by buying a LG diamond because 100% if the purchase price is recouped if you choose to trade up with the same vendor. It really blows my mind that the sentimentality of having a natural diamond warrants paying 2-3x more money than a LG diamond. If the specs were equal, and you were paying 2-3x more, I would understand. But the logical and frugal part of me cannot wrap my head around paying more for lesser specs! To each their own :)

Like in have stated in several threads I just want to bang my head against a wall when I see people spending so much. $$$ and settling on specs because they have a limited budget.
 

jerseypeach

Rough_Rock
Joined
Apr 30, 2021
Messages
49
Hopefully this will be my final update before a decision….

I’ve spent a good bit of timing working with the jeweler this week and have two true final contenders:

Option 1 - the original (natural) stone.
A reminder of the specs:
Natural diamond
3 carats, K VS2
1.45 ratio
10.37 x 7.14


my biggest issue with this stone was the trapped it was paired with. If I move forward, they will cut J/K traps to match. So that is one solution.

As the second contender, they have sourced a really beautiful lab diamond:
Lab Diamond
3.70 carats, D VS2
10.52 x 7.40
1.42 ratio

Here is a picture comparing the two:
4051E4D6-303A-4E20-8B60-D8EEB97572DF.jpeg 1554762B-010D-40FB-A62F-7411E1FF4939.png

it likely goes without saying but the natural is the top and the lab is the bottom. I’m mostly just posting this as an update because at this point I know it just comes down to preference. I no doubt prefer a natural stone (from a sentimental standpoint) but also can’t deny the appeal of a 40% cost savings. Of course any thoughts and opinions are appreciated. And thank you everyone who has provided comments thus far. :)
 

DejaWiz

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Apr 23, 2021
Messages
895
There is no denying the crystal clear beauty and obvious size difference of that lab grown diamond.

Did they send you any videos of it so you can scrutinize the facet action?
 

jaysonsmom

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Mar 13, 2004
Messages
4,230
Swoon.....Voting for 3.70ct Lab Diamond D/VS2 all the way. I'm color sensitive, and while I can appreciate warmer colors in antique cuts, I feel that icy white is the way to go for step cuts!

Check out my Avatar, that is my OEC (Lab Grown) with natural diamond band, I also have a 3-stone with natural diamond center and Lab grown sides. No one can tell the difference between my natural and lab grown diamonds, and I love all my rings the same....plus I have extra $$$ to buy more rings. Win Win.
 
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jerseypeach

Rough_Rock
Joined
Apr 30, 2021
Messages
49
There is no denying the crystal clear beauty and obvious size difference of that lab grown diamond.

Did they send you any videos of it so you can scrutinize the facet action?

Yes, they both look beautiful in the video I received. :kiss2:
 

m1918

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Oct 10, 2018
Messages
127
My vote is for the lab! It would be hard not to think about everything I could do with the $$ savings. I also like the ratio of the lab stone more even though I guess they’re not that different??
 
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