Lab Grown vs Natural Diamond: What’s The Difference & Which One Should You Buy?

If you are not a gemologist, shopping for diamonds can be daunting. Whether for an engagement ring or just the everyday diamond, there are many things to consider: price, carat, colour, clarity, and the list continues. As if that's not enough, you also need to consider whether you want to buy a natural or lab-grown diamond. 

In recent years, lab-grown diamonds have generated a lot of positive and negative buzz. They look exactly the same, cost less but carry less value over time. So which one should you buy? 

This blog looks at the differences, pros and cons of lab-grown vs natural diamonds to ease your decision fatigue.

What’s The Difference Between Lab Grown & Natural Diamonds?

The difference between lab-grown diamonds and natural diamonds isn't in their appearance. Lab-generated diamonds and natural diamonds are both made of crystallised carbon, and they have the same physical, chemical, and visual properties. 

Unlike natural diamonds, lab-grown diamonds did not originate naturally in the soil. This distinction is significant as lab-grown diamonds are less rare than natural diamonds, making them far less expensive. The most significant difference between the two diamonds is how they are formed.

How Natural Diamonds are Formed

Natural diamond from the earth

Natural diamonds form when pure carbon is exposed to tremendous heat and pressure beneath the earth's surface for billions of years. The diamonds are embedded in massive chunks of rock brought to the surface by centuries of ground movement. Natural diamonds are extracted from the stones by miners and sold to the general population.

How Lab-Grown Diamonds are Formed

Lab-grown diamond machines

As you would expect, lab-grown diamonds are grown in a controlled laboratory. There are two ways to do this: High Pressure, High Temperature (HPHT) or Chemical Vapour Deposition (CVD). Essentially, scientists mimic the natural formation of diamonds, almost like 3D printing a diamond with massive, high-tech factory equipment.

Lab-Grown Diamonds: Advantages & Disadvantages


  • A lab-grown diamond of equal size, colour, and clarity will cost 30-40% less than a natural diamond.
  • Lab-grown diamonds eliminate the need for mining, which harms the environment and has a history of placing employees in hazardous situations. While the Kimberly Process, a recent initiative to combat the manufacturing and sale of conflict diamonds, has aided in determining a diamond's origin, it does not account for human rights issues.
  • Because lab-made diamonds have the same atomic makeup as natural diamonds, their popularity has soared in the last five years, with even natural diamond giants like DeBeers getting into the industry.


  • Lab-grown diamonds have no supply limits resulting in a continuous degradation of resale value and are therefore not a sound investment.
  • Diamond laboratories are managed by well-funded businesses in affluent countries, whereas buying a natural diamond helps people who rely on mining for a living.
  • Although lab-grown diamonds avoid the environmental challenges of mining, sustainability issues remain a significant concern. Vast quantities of energy are required to generate lab-grown diamonds due to the machinery's necessary heat and pressure.

Lab-Grown Vs Natural Diamonds: Pros, Cons & Price Comparison

Pros & Cons

Refer to the chart below to help you examine the pros and cons of lab-made diamonds against genuine diamonds:

Lab-Grown Diamonds

Natural Diamonds

Takes 6 to 10 weeks to develop

Develops over the course of billions of years

Mass produced

One of a kind

Costs 20 to 40% less than naturally mined diamonds

Can cost up to 40% more for a similar lab-grown diamond

Decreases in value

Increases in value


Price Comparison

See below chart to compare the price differences of lab-grown and natural diamonds as of January 2022.

Round | G-VS2

GIA Certified

Natural Diamonds

Lab-Grown Diamonds

1 Carat



2 Carat



3 Carat



4 Carat



5 Carat



Source: Diamond Mansion

So Which One Should You Buy?

It ultimately comes down to personal preference; there is no right or wrong answer when choosing between natural or lab-grown diamonds. Take a moment to decide what your goal is with the purchase. If you are on a budget and don't mind that the diamond will decrease in value over time, a lab-grown diamond is a good choice. If you have the budget and want a unique, sentimental diamond that increases in value, go for the natural diamond option. 

A great place to start looking for highly valuable natural diamonds in Hong Kong is Diamond Marketplace. It’s a conflict-free and ethically sourced natural diamond marketplace for the buying and selling of diamonds.

Visit Diamond Marketplace here