Sparkling Forever: A Guide to Sustainable Engagement Rings

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Diamond engagement rings have long been considered symbols of commitment and love and are always in demand. For decades, South African mines have supplied 65% of the diamonds used in rings. But, labor practices in South Africa have come under scrutiny for environmental harm, poor working conditions, child labor, and human rights violations. These are some of the issues that spurred the growth of lab-grown, sustainable diamonds. Made of the same material as natural stones, lab-grown versions are ethically sourced, beautiful, and affordable. Lovely, budget-friendly moissanite simulant diamonds are also gaining traction among engaged couples, as are cubic zirconia.

Earth-Friendly Diamonds 

Anyone who cares about the environment should consider lab grown diamond engagement rings. A sustainable diamond is grown in a laboratory, replicating the natural process of stone formation. Diamonds are identical to those that come from the earth. They have the same atomical, chemical, and physical properties. The only difference is their origin.

When couples choose lab-grown diamonds, they get extraordinarily beautiful gems sourced without depleting the earth’s resources. Creating diamonds has minimal environmental impact, and zero-emission labs produce some of the most elegant stones. 

According to Brides Magazine, lab-grown diamonds appear identical to mined stones, and experts agree. The FTC defines a diamond as “a mineral consisting essentially of pure carbon crystallized in the isometric system,” regardless of the source. This definition describes both mined and lab-grown diamonds.   

There are also manufactured lookalike diamond simulants used for engagement rings. Clear and sparkling, they mimic a diamond’s beauty but have crucial differences. For instance, moissanite stones are created from silicon carbide crystals and synthesized in a lab. Some labs produce cubic zirconium stones from zirconium oxide powder heated to high temperatures. Both stones are beautiful and less expensive than lab-grown diamonds.

Durability 

Mined diamonds are exceptionally tough, and lab-grown versions nearly match their durability. Gems never lose their beauty. Like natural stones, lab-grown versions can last indefinitely and be passed on to future generations. 

In contrast, moissanite is hard but can be scratched. Stones hold up to routine wear and tear very well. Cubic zirconia is only moderately hard and compares to most other gems in durability. Stones can accumulate scratches over time, but a jeweler can restore clarity.

Affordability

Engagement rings with lab-grown diamonds are popular among couples searching for affordable quality. Per the International Gem Society (IGS), a lab-grown diamond that exactly replicates a mined version can cost 50% less. The final price depends on cut, color, and clarity ratings. The higher the ratings, the greater the cost.  

Jewelers offer popular, elegant blue and pink lab-grown diamonds that are more affordable than their natural counterparts. They’re popular among buyers who love the look of colored natural diamonds but can’t afford the high price tag. That’s a bonus for those who want a larger diamond because they get more stone for their money.

Manufactured diamonds are a good choice for those who want a long-lasting, beautiful engagement ring, but they are not the best option for buyers looking for investment jewelry. High-quality natural stones have an excellent resale value due to their relative rarity. Lab-grown replicas have a much lower resale value since more can always be created.  

Lab-grown and simulant diamond engagement rings are gaining popularity as couples search for eco-friendly, affordable options. Manufactured stones rival natural diamonds in durability and elegance but cost far less. Lab-grown diamonds are just as beautiful and difficult to distinguish from mined stones. However, they do not have the same resale value.