Diamond Learning

Coloured lab diamonds: A fancy fusion of art and science

coloured lab diamonds

Science and technology have given us many wonders, and coloured lab diamonds certainly make the cut. With equal sparkle and splendour as mined fancy-coloured diamonds, laboratory grown coloured diamonds are real, luxurious and environmentally ethical.

In this guide, we’ll explain the growth process of coloured lab diamonds. We’ll also cover their quality, sustainability and how much they cost compared to mined diamonds.

What are coloured lab grown diamonds?

Coloured lab diamonds are real diamonds, grown in a laboratory. First, scientists take a tiny fragment of a mined diamond. They place it in a mix of carbon and natural mineral elements, under harsh heat and pressure.

There, for several weeks, the tiny mined diamond “seed” grows into a beautiful, real coloured diamond in the rough. Later, it is cut and polished into a stunning gem. This process recreates the way in which Mother Nature formed diamonds under the Earth’s surface millions of years ago.

The two most common methods used to grow coloured lab diamonds are High-Pressure High Temperature [HPHT] and Chemical Vapour Deposition [CVD]. The first method requires the use of cutting-edge gigantic presses, while the second one involves an enclosed growth chamber.

Are coloured lab diamonds real diamonds?

Coloured lab diamonds are real diamonds. They share identical properties, both physically and chemically, when compared to their mined peers.

The only difference is that lab diamonds are conceived in weeks with the help of advanced lab gear and trained scientists. While mined diamonds took billions of years to form.

How are lab grown diamonds coloured?

Coloured lab diamonds get their colour in the same way as their mined counterparts. Coloured mined diamonds were formed under the Earth under incredible volcanic pressure. Most diamonds that formed in this way became white (or colourless) crystals. However, in rare cases, specific minerals or extreme pressure would give some diamonds a very distinct colour. Like pink, yellow or blue.

In a high-tech laboratory, scientists can now recreate this natural process. They mix specific natural mineral elements into the carbon in which the lab diamond forms. Once these blend into the stone’s forming crystal structure, the colouring magic begins.

For instance, orange and yellow come from nitrogen mixed with carbon, rich hues of blue come from boron, while overpressured processing that changes the diamond’s lattice turns it into a gorgeous pink shade. The final colour tone is subject to the length of the heating and level of temperature.

How many colours of diamonds are there?

The world’s most eminent diamond authority, the Gemmological Institute of America (GIA), has indexed the colours of mined diamonds as follows:

  • 12 primary colours
  • 90 secondary hues
  • 9 different intensity levels
  • More than 230 colour blends

Mined diamonds are discovered in 12 pure hues, which are pink, yellow, blue, green, orange, purple, brown, grey, violet, red, black and white. Since coloured lab diamonds are real diamonds, they can exhibit these same colours.

One interesting fact about coloured lab grown diamonds is that with the help of science, you could create new and exciting hues. Almost any existing colour can be recreated in a laboratory setting – as long as the proper chemical elements and processes are conducted with laser precision.

The final result? Sparkling coloured lab diamonds that are ready to be skillfully handcrafted with jewellery, becoming gorgeous wearable works of art.

How are lab grown coloured diamonds graded?

Gemmologists grade coloured lab diamonds in the same way as they grade coloured mined diamonds. All diamond quality factors in the 4C’s are carefully considered. Additionally, special attention is given to colour characteristics like hue, tone and shade. 

You might have heard the word “fancy” being used in connection with coloured diamonds. In simple words, a “fancy” diamond is any diamond that is not transparent or white. The GIA labels coloured mined and lab grown diamonds equally, as “fancy” coloured diamonds. 

To classify different colour tones from light to dark, GIA uses a grading system as follows:

  • Faint
  • Very Light
  • Light
  • Fancy Light
  • Fancy
  • Fancy Dark
  • Fancy Intense
  • Fancy Deep
  • Fancy Vivid 

Are coloured lab diamonds more affordable than mined diamonds?

Yes, coloured lab diamonds are more affordable than mined diamonds.

Did you know that roughly only 1 out of every 10,000 mined diamonds forms in colour? This statistic explains the sky-high value of mined coloured diamonds and the demand from wealthy consumers. Those who seek the rarest diamond colours like pink or canary yellow can be found at gem auctions settling for record-breaking prices. Some buyers will even pay in the six figures for a single carat.

Luckily, coloured lab diamonds cost a little less than that. 

Firstly, lab grown diamonds are grown in a high-tech laboratory. What this means for potential buyers is that the perceived status and heritage of mined diamonds are waved off, thus making coloured diamonds feel more accessible.

Secondly, the associated cost of production is much less for lab grown diamonds than for mined diamonds. Things such as heavy machinery, drilling and transportation, labour costs, and other significant expenses involved in diamond mining, heavily influence the price. 

As is the case with all diamonds, the price of coloured lab diamonds varies according to the quality of each diamond’s cut, carat weight, clarity and colour. The good news is that you can get around 50% more carats (or alternatively, a much better colour, cut or clarity quality) for your budget with lab diamonds, compared to mined diamonds.

What’s more, you can feel good knowing you’ve made a more responsible choice in terms of the environment.

Sustainable coloured diamonds that care for the planet

Buying coloured lab diamonds means embracing an ethical choice that empowers human lives while avoiding further damage to Mother Nature.

Lab grown coloured diamonds offer the same quality and dazzle as Earth-mined diamonds – minus the drilling – making them an ethical and environmentally conscious choice. 

Regarding energy use, mined and laboratory diamonds emit very different quantities of carbon. This means more than 55 kg of carbon per carat for mined diamonds, while lab grown diamonds only release 2.70 kilograms of carbon per carat.

Spiritual beliefs and benefits behind the colours

Diamonds have long symbolised luxury and beauty among countless civilisations. They’re believed to attract the wearer fortune and opportunity – which explains why many notable historical figures adorned them. Let’s look at some of the most desired colours and the meanings associated with them:

Yellow diamond colour meaning

The belief behind this colour is associated with fortune, joy, happiness, positive energy absorbed by the sun, and boosting a person’s creative thinking, well-being and self-awareness.

Pink diamond colour meaning

The colour pink symbolises womanhood, romanticism and deep affection for its beholder. Pink diamonds indeed execute these qualities when merged with a suitable jewellery design. The rosy hues breathe extravaganza with a sense of mystique, all thanks to the rarity factor of this colour.

Blue diamond colour meaning

The symbolism behind blue diamonds is associated with loyalty, trust, sophisticated elegance and purpose. It also promotes strength and unity, bounding couples more strong to endure any hardships in life. Hues can vary from a darker ocean blue tone to a more tropical, almost turquoise tint.

Concluding thoughts – are coloured lab diamonds for you?

Ultimately, what type of diamond speaks to you, depends on your lifestyle and how much you’re willing to invest. Lab grown coloured diamonds are sustainable and ethical, and more affordable than their mined counterparts – yet offer equal beauty, brilliance and charm. They are a luxurious and stunning choice when you’re next thinking about buying jewellery or giving a meaningful gift to someone special.