Lab-Grown Diamonds (LGD) are diamonds that are produced in a controlled technological process as opposed to a naturally formed diamond which is created through geological processes and obtained by mining.  In 1797, it was discovered that a diamond was made of pure carbon, and many attempts were made to convert various forms of carbon into diamonds.  By 1879, James Hannay and Ferdinand Moissan were successful.  They heated up charcoal and iron to 6,330 degrees Fahrenheit then rapidly cooled it by immersion in water.  The resulting contraction resulted in the pressure needed to turn the concoction into a diamond.  Over the years, the process has been improved and now LGD make up over 10% of the engagement and wedding ring market.  However, prior to 2020, synthetic diamond sales were less than 2% of the market.  But, more recently, according to one large diamond retailer, 2/3rds of their recent sales were LGD.  Why the burst in popularity?


Recently, a survey was conducted and found that 60% of people hadn’t even heard of lab-grown diamonds before.  But the allure of ethical origins, identical appearance, and lower prices (60-80% less than natural diamonds) were enough to persuade them.  As for ethical origins, it simply means that there is no mining through precious earth formations; no stripping a mountain or hill to find them.  You don’t have to employ underage children to place dynamite in a cave to cull the earth for diamonds.  They are manufactured in a lab.  And they aren’t fake, they are 100% authentic diamonds, it’s just that they’re not a result of thousands of years of geological processes.  Too, they are called ‘synthetic’ diamonds, not because they aren’t real diamonds, but because they are grown in an artificial environment by a process designed by scientists to mimic the Earth’s diamond making process.

During the Covid shutdown, the diamond mining industry was heavily disrupted.  But that didn’t stop people from falling in love and desiring to get married.  Thus, the surge in LGD.  As a result, there are now diamond wars amongst retailers.  Some retailers are remaining pure and refusing to sell synthetic diamonds.  Their claim is that LGD lacks the romance of something created by Mother Earth.  They’re willing to keep their prices at a premium so the buyer knows it was mined from our planet and can truly be worthy of being called a luxury item.  Others are catering to bargain shoppers where 88% of shoppers say they don’t really care if it was grown in a lab, they like the lower price!

In 2021, the global diamond market size was valued at $95 billion, so there’s a lot at stake.  Who will win the epic battle of synthetic vs. natural diamonds?

Well…they both do.  Win that is.  Don’t you think?  Isn’t there something that feels right about having a choice?  For the purists that want natural diamonds, there’s an option for you.  For the thrifty who want lower prices for a 100% authentic, but lab grown, diamond…there’s an option for you too!  Thus, the beauty of free market economies.  Products and services are offered and priced based on consumer behavior and demand.  The companies that offer those products and services must constantly be on their game ebbing and flowing with consumer tendencies so as to maximize revenue and profits.

For example, over 20 years ago, Pepsi noticed the trend of consumers toward more health-conscious behaviors.  As such, they tilted their brands to be more health aware.  In 1998 they acquired Tropicana and then Quaker Oats Company in 2001.  In 2018, they acquired SodaStream as part of a more intentional plan to steer Pepsi toward offering healthier products.  The result: Pepsi’s market cap in 2000 was $72 Billion, in 2010 $104 Billion, and today $251 Billion (at the time of this writing).  Proof that swaying with consumer trends can help build a successful business.

So, who will win the battle of synthetic vs. natural diamonds?  It doesn’t matter.  The point is that we should be grateful that diamond retailers are offering us a choice.  They’re putting the offer in our hands and allowing us to decide.  When’s the last time you expressed your gratitude for choice?  We live in a free country.  We walk up and down the aisle at our local grocery store and are enamored with choices.  We head to the car dealership and are offered plenty of vehicles to choose from.  We click over to Amazon and hover over the plethora of choices of the item we’re shopping for.  Isn’t this all amazing?!  Yet, we often take it for granted.

This color or that.

This price or that.

This flavor or that.

This toothpaste or that.

This restaurant or that.

This diamond or that.

In the end, we’re blessed with the opportunity to decide.  May we rejoice in the blessing of choice today!