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Thoughts on this MMD?

Discussion in 'Laboratory-Grown Diamonds /Man-Made Diamonds (MMD)' started by latte_espresso, Apr 19, 2018.

  1. latte_espresso
    Rough_Rock

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    by latte_espresso » Apr 19, 2018
    I've been browsing PS and mainly focused on the RockyTalky section, however stumbled upon this segment. Decided to look at BrilliantEarth and came across this:

    https://www.brilliantearth.com/lab-diamonds-search/view_detail/5116722/

    My initial budget was $25K all in. This seems to be relatively large 2.46 ct (great color (D) and amazing clarity(VVS1)). Cut also considered "super ideal". HCA is a 1.3.

    My initial hesitation on MMD was that they usually are not as clean in terms of color/clarity for larger diamonds, however this happens to say otherwise.

    This is actually substantially bigger/better/whiter/cleaner than the diamond I initially had my eyes on. Any thoughts on whether I should pursue this or avoid MMD?
     
    


    


  2. OoohShiny
    Ideal_Rock

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    by OoohShiny » Apr 20, 2018
    I'm not sure where you have heard that MMDs are not as 'clean' as mined diamonds for larger diamonds, although it is fair to say that larger MMDs are more difficult to grown with higher clarities, as I understand it, so perhaps that's it!

    MMDs aren't graded by the same processes as mined diamonds by GIA/AGS, annoyingly, so most are graded by other labs, as you can see in this example. It's therefore possible that colour and clarity might be 'softer' than GIA/AGS, but D and VVS should give you enough 'wiggle room' to still have a colourless and definitely-eye-clean diamond if the grading is a little softer in this case. Not all grading houses grade the same but I think GCAL is a decent one - @ChristineRose might be able to offer her much more informed thoughts :)

    Just to check, is your intended aware you are buying a diamond ring? If so, have you discussed how they feel about MMDs? Some might feel they are cool (because of the tech involved / no need to dig big holes in the ground, etc.) but some might not feel they are as 'romantic' as something that formed over billions of years, so it is worthwhile checking if you can. MMDs and Mined are both the same material so MMDs are not 'fake' diamonds, but perception (whether right or wrong) is everything in the general public's mind, and some might feel 'cheated' if they got an MMD but thought it was Mined...

    Personally speaking, I think it looks great, and that price for that spec seems a bargain when compared to Mined prices! They do seem to have excellent return policies, so if your intended is on-board with MMDs, you could order and inspect in all the lighting environments you experience daily :)
    https://www.brilliantearth.com/30-Day-Returns/

    Do consider if it might ever need to be upgraded - MMDs trade for lower prices initially, which will carry through to secondhand or trade-in prices (all diamonds sell for much less secondhand, but with MMDs you'd be battling the aforementioned perception issues), and MMDs have the potential to lower their costs further if they become more commonplace, but predicting the future market forces is not something anyone is capable of :D lol
     
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  3. latte_espresso
    Rough_Rock

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    by latte_espresso » Apr 20, 2018
    Thanks! I can't remember where I heard it from, but I always thought the ideal MMD was between 1.0 - 1.5 cts. It's good to know about the difference in rating, but hopefully you're right in that it'll be essentially colorless and eyeclean.

    I spoke to the SO last night, and she said she would be fine with a MMD (she shot down moissanite). I'll give her some more time to think about it before I make any final decisions.

    I did read a few articles last night about the value of the MMDs not holding up as well as the mined diamond. I don't think we'll ever feel the need to upgrade it, but who knows what the future has in store? As someone who works in finance, obviously this does not sit well with me, so I definitely need to do something thinking here.

    In regards to appraisal, do you know how it normally works? Would it get appraised for a lower value? Asking because of the insurance premium that it may come with, but also interested to know how the process works.
     
  4. OoohShiny
    Ideal_Rock

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    by OoohShiny » Apr 20, 2018
    Good to know you've spoken about it :) I think that if you go ahead and order it so that you can assess it, you would find it looks great and would not want to return it!

    If you do order it, you can go and compare it to stuff that's available locally - local vendors will likely start off by telling you that you've thrown your money away by a) buying online and b) buying MMD :lol: but I think the performance of it would more than demonstrate that is nonsense ;-)


    Mined diamonds generally sell for 10-70% of their original purchase value, depending on quality, any Brand name, speed of sale needed, sale method chosen... So usual free-market forces for any goods. MMDs will be no different, really - ultimately diamonds are not an 'investment' but can be viewed as a 'store of value', albeit that value can vary on the above factors.

    Personally, I think that one should buy on the basis that the money used to purchase is gone forever - that way, if it is kept, you're in that exact situation, and if you want to upgrade, anything you do get for it is a bonus.


    Appraisals are a minefield - you may be best to employ the services of @oldminer or @denverappraiser, who are up to speed on MMDs and the various aspects surrounding them. A local appraiser may be of the same mindset as the aforementioned local jewellers!

    Either way, you want a realistic appraisal, not an inflated value appraisal - the latter just sees you paying more in premiums while they will still only pay out market rates when settling a claim, as I understand it!

    It could be worth searching the forum for threads and posts on appraisals and insurance, as depending on your location and the coverage you want, things could vary markedly. :)
     
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  5. ChristineRose
    Brilliant_Rock

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    by ChristineRose » Apr 20, 2018
    Lab diamonds have fewer inclusions and hold up better. The inclusions they do have are different though, so it's hard to compare. But this would only matter if you were looking for an eye clean I1 or something along those lines.

    It's common for people to say the value of MMDs will not hold up. I wrote a long post about this in the thread right below this...suffice it to say that most diamonds will not hold value, and that MMDs are no worse than mined diamonds, which is to say, pretty bad.

    You may be thinking of color. All white MMDs are grown colored and treated. In high colors they tend to be more gray and less yellow, so I would be careful if you were thinking of getting a J or a K, which is commonly recommended on PS. For a D it's a non-issue.

    GemCal is a good lab. The problem with GemCal is that they grade more with machines and less with eyes. They guarantee consistency in grading, which not even the top labs like GIA or AGS will. Their standard is no more than one grade difference between gradings of the same stone.

    But the problem is that GemCal might (correctly) call two stones F and G and GIA might (also correctly) call the same stones G and F. I doubt if this translates into real life, because no one can grade a stone mounted in a ring in uncontrolled lights. But it makes it harder to compare the stone to a comparable GIA stone.
     
  6. OoohShiny
    Ideal_Rock

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  7. latte_espresso
    Rough_Rock

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    by latte_espresso » Apr 20, 2018
    Thanks @OoohShiny and @ChristineRose ! You guys have been extremely helpful.

    Just in terms of the diamond being initially colored and then treated to look white. Do you know if this will fade overtime or is the white treatment something that will be permanent?
     
  8. ChristineRose
    Brilliant_Rock

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    by ChristineRose » Apr 20, 2018
    Oh no, it changes the molecular structure of the stone is and 100% permanent.

    Stones grow much faster if there's nitrogen or boron in the growth chamber, which gets in between the carbon molecules and helps them to "stack." The altered stacking is also what makes them yellow (nitrogen) or blue (boron). The treatments compress the diamonds with a huge amount of force and shift the stacks into the white configuration.
     
  9. KingKuda
    Rough_Rock

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    by KingKuda » Apr 21, 2018
    OP, I was actually in a similar position to you a month or so ago when looking for a diamond. I had it narrowed down to two and one of those was a MMD.

    The MMD was whiter (D as opposed to an E) and clearer (VS1 as opposed to an SI1) however in the end I went with a mined option as it could come quicker and was a great stone.

    My only worry with MMD during my research is that like all things that are man made, I am concerned that at a point in time their price will just plummet. They may seem cheap now, but it wouldn't surprise me to see them drop 70-80% in the next decade as manufacturer increases and costs to produce them come down. I guess it doesn't really matter if you don't plan on selling it, but I'd hate to have a a diamond that I paid $15,000 for available for $5,000.
     
  10. OoohShiny
    Ideal_Rock

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    by OoohShiny » Apr 21, 2018
    There have been a few threads/posts about what might happen in the future re: MMDs - I think it is impossible to say what will happen, as they still require huge, energy-intensive production facilities and I can't see that changing, public perception of them over the longer term is impossible to predict, and even if manufacturing costs do reduce, pricing may still be tied to Mined diamonds' prices (because they will still be cheaper, relatively speaking, so attractive, but linked prices would allow profit to be maximised as production costs reduced).

    I doubt they will ever be 80% cheaper, either way.
     
    


    


  11. latte_espresso
    Rough_Rock

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    by latte_espresso » Apr 23, 2018
    Thanks. I think I'm on leaning towards your path as well. I agree, I do fear my $15,000 ring would one day be available for $5,000 in the future. While the same could be said for a natural mined diamond, it seems the risk is slightly higher with a MMD. See my rationale below:

    Anyone can feel free to correct me if I am wrong, but DeBeers essentially controls the diamond supply, and only releases diamond slowly to control the price. They have done a great job of keeping prices steady in the past and there's no reason to believe they have any reasons to change strategies going forward. However, MMD manufacturers are less predictable based on the lack of a track record. There is increased risk associated with potential new manufacturers who come into play and companies at price bidding wars which may eventually negatively impact the "value" of MMDs. I've read an article about how man-manufactured emeralds have suffered such unfortunate fate. To worsen concerns, diamond upgrades on Brilliance Earth do not apply to MMD, which in my opinion shows their concerns for the future value of MMDs.

    I understand there are many assumptions within my statement, but I haven't found anything that eased the concerns of many otherwise. At this point, it's just comparing the lesser of the two evils. lol.
     
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2018
  12. OoohShiny
    Ideal_Rock

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    by OoohShiny » Apr 23, 2018
    I don't believe that De Beers have anywhere near the market dominance (monopoly?) that they used to have, but I would have to call on some of those forum members who have been around much longer than me to confirm my understanding (or reject it!).

    Given the high setup costs (and the fact that, again AFAIK, current MMD manufacturers are running at a loss or at extremely thin margins at best) I don't think there is going to be a flood of MMDs swamping the market from new competitors in the future.

    I would say that BE's policy reflects the uncertainty that you, me, and the wider market has about the future - I don't think anything can necessarily be read into it.


    I think you are basically in the same position as everyone else considering an MMD - unless one has strong ethical concerns over the diamond industry and definitely don't want a Mined diamond, a decision on MMDs vs Mined is a balancing act of cost, quality, and also potential future value (regardless of whether one wants to sell/upgrade in the future or not).

    Only you can make the decision, but I don't think anyone would judge you for picking one over the other :) Myself... I am still undecided what I would do if I had the option!
     
  13. KingKuda
    Rough_Rock

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    by KingKuda » Apr 24, 2018
    Yeah it really isn't black and white. I tend to think of myself as a very pragmatic person, so when I had two similar options I gave it plenty of thought. At the end of the day, I was getting a marginally better diamond, at a marginally better price however there was inherent risk around it due to the uncertainty moving forward.

    If the cost of MMD was 40-50% cheaper than mined diamonds than for me it would be a no brainer, but at the 5-15% I was seeing when I was doing my comparison it really wasn't worth it.
     
  14. SMGB
    Rough_Rock

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    by SMGB » Aug 25, 2019
    From what I’ve been reading, DeBeers is now producing MMD under the name of Lightbox. I guess they’ve been noticing that MMD’s are gaining a lot of attention.
     

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