Lab Grown Diamonds vs. Imitation
An engagement ring is a symbol that you will love her for a lifetime. When it comes to durability nothing beats a diamond, in fact nothing even comes close. Diamonds form 100 miles beneath the Earth's surface where intense heat and pressure create the hardest substance known to man. All other natural gems are formed in the Earth's crust with far less pressure so they are not nearly as dense or as durable.
Diamonds are also valuable. When contemplating and proposing something important and meaningful most people would agree that if possible, they would like to commemorate that with something of great value.
If they all look similar, why the big price difference? Once again it comes down to durability and value. A lab grown diamond has a very similar chemical composition and crystal growth structure so it is a very durable, if less valuable option. They are grown in a lab verses being mined out of the Earth, so some might find that to be less romantic, while others are excited about the idea of getting more diamond for their money. Because lab grown diamonds have just recently entered the market place, no one knows weather the prices will fall significantly over time or if they will hold steady.
One issue we have seen is that there seems to be some confusion over terminology. Some online retailers have used confusing and at times misleading names for imitation gems that lead people to believe they are getting a lab created diamond when in fact they sell imitations. Imitations can be any gem that LOOKS like a diamond but is of a different chemical composition and crystal structure. Because of this, durability is significantly lessened and often the value is a fraction of the cost of a lab grown or natural diamond.
One such imitation is moissanite. Moissanite is a crystal that was originally found on a meteorite and has a Mohs Scale hardness of 9.25 versus a diamond's 10. This is a significant difference because the hardness scale goes up exponentially. The moissanite on the market today is all lab created. It is even more brilliant than a diamond, somewhat durable and typically about 1/10 the cost of a good quality natural diamond.
Cubic Zirconia has been on the market for a long time and visually is very similar to a diamond, but it's durability is a 6 on the Mohs scale. This means that during normal wear it can scratch and chip quite easily which will affect the shine and brilliance quickly. This type of stone has been marketed under many different "brand names" but don't be fooled! There is a VAST difference both in durability and value (pennies to the dollar) between it and even a lab grown diamond.
There are many other imitations of diamonds on the market but these are the most common and ALL are significantly less durable and less valuable than either lab grown or natural diamonds. This being said, sometimes budget is a factor, so we do carry a full selection of all types of gems to fit whatever you may need.