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If you ask the internet why diamonds are so expensive you’ll be merrily led down a rabbit hole which talks about their false scarcity, the famous ‘Diamonds are Forever’ ad campaign and a dozen other myth busting articles.
But when it comes down to it, a diamond is worth as much as someone will pay for it. Countless factors play into that, as they have done for centuries.
But how do those factors work for lab grown diamonds? Compared to their mined counterparts they’ve only been around for a blink of an eye.
Do they retain their value? Are they worth anything at all? What makes them expensive?
These are the questions we’ll be answering in our financial guide to lab diamonds.
If you’ve taken a glance over our lab grown diamond guide you’ll know that lab diamonds are identical in composition to mined ones, but you’ll notice some big differences in price.
Despite being just as ‘real’ as mined diamonds, high quality lab diamonds typically cost 30-40% less.
Why do they cost less? Well, for a start mining for diamonds has a lot of challenges. You need massive amounts of infrastructure and labour to support the mine, which is often located in a remote location in an unstable country.
Growing a diamond doesn't have these costs. You can set up the lab anywhere and get the materials you need. Now that's not to say that growing a diamond is cheap by any means, as the skilled labour and carbon neutral energy needed adds to costs significantly.
More importantly, lab grown diamonds don't have the artificial premium that mined stones do. Decades of aggressive advertising and large mining companies like De Beers holding back stock have created an inflated price which contrasts to lab grown stones.
Before we answer this one we want to make it clear that diamonds are absolutely terrible investments in any form.
When you buy a diamond ring in a shop it's already lost 50 - 70% of its value before you reach the exit. And whilst diamonds are currently increasing in price you’ll still be looking at at least 10 -15 years before you even breakeven.
Lab diamonds are in a similar position, although because the second hand market for lab grown diamonds isn't as established as it is for mined you'll typically get less than you would for a mined diamond.
Historical data has also shown that lab diamond prices have dropped, primarily due to efficiencies being made in the growing process increasing supply.
However as time goes on the rate at which those efficiencies develop will slow. This combined with the boom in popularity due to their unbeatable ethical origins will likely see prices level out and stabilise.
Speak to most traditional jewellers and they will warn you that lab diamonds are worth nothing, and by extension a lab diamond engagement ring is also worthless.
In our opinion that argument doesn’t make much sense when talking about jewellery. An engagement ring is first and foremost something beautiful for the person you love. It’s a piece of art, not an investment piece.
When a great chef makes a Michelin Star dish you don’t measure its value by its base ingredients, but rather how the finished product makes you feel. Buying an engagement ring is the same deal.
At Nightingale we’re all about giving the perfect ring to your perfect person. What you want in your engagement ring should always come first, and whether your diamond is lab grown or mined comes second.
The truth is, lab grown engagement rings can give you the perfect ring for considerably less money. Or they could even make a dream ring that was out of your budget a reality. That’s the true value of a lab diamond.