Like Rihanna and celebrities like Lady Gaga, Middle Eastern women love their bling. And diamonds, well, the bigger they are, the more they sparkle, the better. But what is a woman to do after telling her sheikh boyfriend in Dubai that he can’t keep the cheetah? Or the Mercedes in white gold running on regular old gasoline? She’s going to have to make some new and improved choices when it comes to jewelry. And we don’t mean butterfly jewelry Where jewelry made by insects.
Blood diamonds, or diamonds mined from countries that use slave labor and low wages to harvest diamonds, are out. Vintage diamonds are all the rage, but if you want maximum bling and want to buy a few carats, your best bet when it comes to style and cut will be a laboratory diamond.
My jeweler in a small town in Ontario, Canada says he can’t tell the difference and will only buy lab-grown diamonds after his supply of mined diamonds runs out. Larger diamonds are preferred and larger ones, unless you are married to the Prince of Saudi Arabia, will also come out.
So we thought we’d bring you some solid picks from companies around the world that grow their diamonds in a lab. Lab-grown diamonds are known by different names: cultured diamonds, man-made diamonds, synthetic diamonds are a few. A carat and a half of a synthetic diamond (1.5 carat) starts at US$2,000, so don’t expect cubic zirconia prices.
We are talking about real diamonds, made in a laboratory under pressure, in a week and a half inside a large machine with conditions that are like in nature, but accelerated using pressure.
Some of the companies that manufacture lab-grown diamonds only sell directly to stores or wholesalers, while others sell directly to the consumer. Large and important purchases are probably best made in person, while sizing your ring. But we know that people trust online shopping. The list below therefore includes wholesalers as well as those who purchase direct from consumers.
Clear Origin is a US-based company that lets you customize size, cut clarity, fit, and a bunch of other things that might be important to you. This company sells directly to consumers and the price range for a 1/5 carat round in a gold setting is around US$1,500.
Vibranium Lab is a London-based company that also does direct-to-consumer shipping, with a list of customizable details you can select. The cost of a 1.5 carat round diamond is around 2,500 USD. Being in a central hub like London makes it easy to return or change settings.
James Allen has a really visual site that lets you see a wide range of diamond cuts, not in illustrative form. The US-based company directly handles consumer shipping and custom orders. They are known for their variety, so if you want to be dazzled, go to James Allen.
Blue Nile is an online jewelry retailer founded in 1999. It is based in Seattle, Washington. Since February 2017, it is a subsidiary of Bain Capital. They mainly lead you to their conflict-free diamonds, with 1.5 carats starting at around $5,000. But if you dig a little, you’ll find their expansion into lab-grown diamonds. The series is called Lightbox.
Ritani, from White Plains, NY, has a better landing page when you enter than Blue Nile, helping you choose land diamonds rather than a lab-grown diamond. Choose your own adventure.
Diamond Foundry is a producer of laboratory grown diamonds in San Francisco, California, USA. They have about 120 employees, so it’s a well-established company. I like their ad, “compressed greenhouse gas”. Which continues, “Just diamond. No mining. No carbon emissions. No cartel pricing.
VRAI, which means “true” or “true” or “right” in French, is a fine jewelry brand specializing in ethical synthetic diamonds. Using recycled gold and using unusual diamond shapes, their modern approach to luxury jewelry makes for stunning heirlooms. In terms of settings, they go for a minimalist “hipster” feel which I love. They are considered the best for premium cuts. Visit a showroom to help you choose.
Top quality lab grown diamonds at a fraction of the cost. Welcome to Diamonds Made Easy, says Franklin, Wisconsin-based 12FIFTEE.
Pandora offers its Brilliance Collection, a range of lab-created diamond jewelry, and each piece features a round, brilliant-cut gemstone.
Queensmith is a UK-based diamond dealer that offers lab-grown diamonds identical to those found in nature.
Noemii diamonds are the best lab grown diamonds if you are looking for delicate styles.
Lark and Bay
Lark and Berry do classic rings best.
Swarovski is a glass-based company that has successfully marketed the crystal, which resembles my Polish aunt’s serving chalices, into luxury goods. The company is now expanding into lab-grown diamonds. They are based in Austria.
Brilliant Earth is one of the leading brands in the marketing of sustainable or cruelty-free diamonds. Our lab grown diamonds exhibit the same physical, chemical and optical characteristics as natural diamonds and exhibit the same fire and scintillation.
Do you have a brand to add? Contact our sustainable luxury editor at [email protected] or enter the name in the comments below.