In order to get the perfect lab grown diamond or diamond alternative, there are several factors to consider.
You may have heard about the 4Cs of diamond education, but here, we guide you through the best diamond buying guide, our 7Cs, factors that you should consider before making your lab grown diamond or Ethica Diamond alternative purchase.
1. DIAMOND CUT
The only characteristic not influenced by nature, the cut determines the light dispersion of the diamond, or diamond alternative, which has the greatest influence in overall appearance. Often confused with shape, the cut is far more than what shape a rough diamond has been polished into, like round, oval or pear for example, the actual cut is the greatest influencer of brilliance and sparkle regardless of the shape of a diamond.
The purpose of cutting any diamond, or alternative, is to maximise refracted light, and a well-cut diamond will have brilliant sparkle and fire, because it captures all the available light and bounces it back to the eye. If a cut is too deep, the light will be reflected out of the side of the diamond, whereas if it is too shallow, it will be lost from the bottom.
Cut to the most exacting standards. These diamonds have the most desirable dimensions and are proportioned to return the maximum possible light. Round diamonds will show a “hearts and arrows” facet pattern, a cut given to the round brilliant Ethica Diamonds (diamond alternative) and available to our lab grown diamonds.
Exquisite quality cut creating the optimal combination of brilliance and fire. Reflects nearly all light that enters the diamond. Top 3% of diamond quality based on cut.
Superior quality cut that reflects nearly as much light as the ideal cut while at a substantially lower cost.
Premium quality cut to optimize the size without sacrificing quality or beauty. Reflects most light that enters.
Adequate quality cut that reflects some light while maximizing weight. While not as brilliant as a good cut, still a quality diamond.
Inferior cut that allows most light entering the diamond to escape from the sides or bottom, meaning the diamond appears dull and lifeless.
HEARTS AND ARROWS DIAMONDS
During the 1980s in Japan, it was discovered that when a round brilliant diamond with exceptional symmetry was viewed from the bottom through a special viewer, a pattern of hearts could be seen, and when viewed from the top, showed eight grey arrowheads. Diamonds displaying such exceptional symmetry account for less than 1% of all diamonds cut. The Hearts and Arrows cut has 58 facets and to achieve it and they are cut under 100x magnification. The highest grades of polish, symmetry and perfect cutting angles allow it to reflect more light than a standard cut diamond and these (H&A) diamonds are considered to be the Rolls Royce of perfectly cut round diamonds.
Every Ethica Diamond is individually hand cut to the highest diamond grading guidelines and every round brilliant Ethica Diamond is cut to Hearts and Arrows specification.
There are many ways of cutting diamonds, some of which are more suited to different styles (eg Art Deco), or shapes of jewellery. The Ethica Diamond can be created in a wide variety of shapes, including:
2. DIAMOND CLARITY
When diamonds are formed, deep underground and under extreme pressure and heat, imperfections in the crystal structure can form and mineral impurities become trapped inside the stone. Clarity is referred to as the purity of a diamond and almost all diamonds have small impurities or “inclusions,” but they are not always visible to the naked eye. The clarity of a diamond describes the internal structure, whether it is perfectly flawless, or has some small impurities inside. Greater clarity is obviously a good thing, and the size and location of the inclusions play a significant role in determining the price of a diamond. Most mined diamonds have inclusions that are visible under magnification, and some you can even see with the naked eye. Diamonds without such impurities are very rare.
The grading scale starts from Flawless/Internally Flawless (FL/IF), Very Very Slightly Included (VVS1/VVS2), Very Slightly Included (VS1/VS2) Slightly Included (SI1/SI2) to Included (I1,I2,I3). Generally, diamonds below a VS2 grading are likely to have visible inclusions to the naked eye and the more inclusions a stone has, the weaker the lattice structure is which can cause the diamond to fracture. More expensive diamonds have less inclusions.
Ethica Diamonds are man-made, and they are consistent in clarity. Every gemstone is VVS1-IF the best grade available in nature, virtually flawless. Imperfections in diamonds make the lattice structure weaker an so because of the very nearly flawless clarity of every man made diamond, they are exceptionally tough in comparison to the average mined diamond.
VERY VERY SLIGHTLY INCLUDED
VERY SLIGHTLY INCLUDED
LESS THAN 1% OF THE WORLD’S DIAMONDS ARE ABLE TO BE GIVEN THE HEARTS AND ARROWS CUT
THE COLOUR IN FANCY DIAMONDS IS CAUSED BY THE PRESENCE OF IMPURITIES DURING THE CREATION OF THE STONE, WHETHER THAT OCCURS UNDERGROUND OR IN A LAB
AN EMERALD CUT DIAMOND WILL APPEAR LARGER THAN A ROUND CUT DIAMOND OF THE SAME CARAT, AS THE ROUND CUT IS DEEPER
3. DIAMOND COLOUR
The world of diamonds determines the colour by comparing a diamond against a master set of diamonds of different colours. This colour grading of a diamond refers to its lack of colour and for white or colourless diamonds, the diamond industry has adopted an alphabetical colour scale from D to Z, with D as the highest grading and that’s D for most desirable and fancy-coloured diamonds such as pinks and blues being graded separately. Without comparing diamonds side by side, it is very difficult to see the difference between a D and a G. As you go down the scale, the diamond starts to develop a yellow or brown tint and are at the bottom of the grading scale and the least desirable. The key question is where to draw the line when choosing the colour of a diamond – how far can you compromise colour before the diamond is too tinted? The answer to this question is usually relative to your budget and expectations.
Every Ethica Diamond is graded D-E and are consistent in colour, regardless of the cut or size.
‘Fancy diamonds’ are diamonds that are of different colours to brilliant white. There are colour charts for many shades of pink, blue, yellow, and more, ranging from the faintest blush pink to a vivid colour that you could mistake for a ruby. Fancy mined diamonds command a premium price, as they are a lot less common than their white siblings, and finding stones with consistent colour throughout is very rare indeed.
Because the conditions in which our diamonds are grown which is precisely controlled, fancy man made diamonds can be created to order. Please talk to us about what you would like, and we will discuss your options.
THE ETHICA DIAMOND IS GRADED E-F FOR COLOUR BECAUSE THERE ARE NO TRACE ELEMENTS PRESENT IN THE GROWING PROCESS, WHICH COULD CONTAMINATE THE STRUCTURE AND CAUSE DISCOLOURATION.
4. DIAMOND CARAT
It is important to understand that a 2 carat diamond is not twice the size in diameter of a 1 carat diamond. This is because diamonds are measured by weight, not size – something that is often mistakenly ascribed. Carat weight is not the same thing as size; a one carat diamond weighs 0.2g, so a two carat stone would weigh a 0.4g, yet the dimensions would be 6.5mm and 8.0mm respectively. How large a diamond appears is also dictated by other factors such as shape and cut, so it is important to check the dimensions in millimetres (not just the carat weight!) before deciding which carat weight suits you best.
The Ethica Diamond relative density is very slightly lighter than a mined diamond, so ‘1 carat’ means that it is the same size equivalent as a 1 carat mined diamond even as the carat weight of the Ethica Diamond is 0.93. For example, if you choose a 1 carat round brilliant cut gemstone, you will be assured that it is 6.5mm across – every time – the same size as a 1 carat mined diamond of the same cut. We have a diamond carat weight chart on the following page, if you would like more information.
Diamond certificates are issued to confirm a stone’s technical characteristics and identity and ensuring your diamond is certified an independent and recognised certification laboratory is essential for an unbiased assessment of the stone’s quality.
Leading diamond certification organisations issue a unique number for every diamond to protect the consumer. This number is usually laser inscribed in the diamond’s girdle and can be easily verified with a magnification loupe. This assures you the diamond you are buying is the one that has been certified.
About 80% of all polished diamonds come with a certificate issued by a grading lab and over many years, diamond producers have developed robust relationships with a small number grading companies. The GIA is one of the most well known who own the market for diamond certification and roughly two thirds have a GIA certificate. Others include AGS and IGI.
Some believe that only a GIA certificate is good enough, but there are many other gem laboratories that provide diamond certification services.
Diamonds with certificates issued by one of these bodies will carry a higher price premium, around 21% more than the average price for any given diamond. This does not mean that a diamond that you buy with this certificate is a better quality, it just means that you pay more for it.
The reason for this is because they have gained trust by monopolising the market. It’s the same as paying a premium for a branded product that is more well known and therefore believed to be better.
Each Ethica Diamond over 0.35 carat is individually laser inscribed and independently graded by the GRI who provide a professional and fair appraisal for gemstones using international standards.
6. DIAMOND CONFLICT
Unfortunately, diamonds that are labelled as conflict-free are still not the answer for those who desire an ethical diamond. The Kimberley Process Certification Scheme that certifies mined diamonds as “conflict free” is flawed and according to their definition, a conflict free diamond is “a diamond that hasn’t financed rebel movements against recognised governments”. This means that these so called “conflict-free” diamonds may still have origins associated with violence, human rights abuses and environmental degradation. How can a diamond claim to be “conflict-free” when it’s still in conflict with human rights, in conflict with harmony on earth and in conflict with the environment?
What’s more, the Kimberley process is highly vulnerable to smuggling and forged certification, meaning that a blood diamond could still be certified as “conflict-free”.
The truth is, there is no such thing as a conflict free diamond that has been dug up from the Earth.
Purchasing a created diamond sets you apart from the entire mined-diamond industry. You are not supporting environmental damage, human rights abuses, or dubious ethical practices. We guarantee it. The Ethica Diamond is designed to be created in a way that harms nothing; no person, no animal, no land, and not the customer’s pocket either.
7. DIAMOND COST
Ever since the production of laboratory grown diamonds began in 1953, a debate has raged regarding which is better: Natural or lab-grown. The argument has become more relevant than ever since technology has become advanced enough to produce gem-grade diamonds suitable for jewellery.
Despite the argument regarding which diamonds are better, lab diamonds have one major advantage over natural diamonds: A smaller overall impact on the environment. That advantage is leading many customers to abandon natural diamonds in favour of lab grown. The humanitarian consequences are minute compared to mined diamonds, as are the environmental costs and there are several ways in which lab-grown diamonds have less of a negative impact than natural diamonds.
Diamonds are priced on the merits of the colour, cut and clarity and the better the credentials, the more expensive diamonds are. The supply of them is controlled which keeps the cost of them artificially high. In addition, the bigger you go in carat size, the increase in cost is not based on a linear scale, due to these larger stones being less plentiful. The cost therefore increases exponentially and bigger, better diamonds are more often than not, way outside budget. This results in a compromise in the credentials and the preferred stone size and is often quite a disempowering buying experience.
Mined diamonds are more common than we are led to believe, and their price at which they are sold is carefully regulated. The reason for this is that the supply of diamonds is controlled by a cartel of diamond producers, and the pricing is set by them, according to the cut, carat, clarity and colour of the gems. They have produced their own pricing table which is used as the reference guide to look up how much diamonds are sold for.
The cost of a mined diamond and its value are two wildly different things. The cost is what you pay for it, and the value is often only a small percentage of the original cost, which you would discover if you attempted to sell a mined diamond ring back to a jeweller. You simply would not be able to recoup the cost because diamonds are sold at an over inflated retail cost but bought back at a fraction of the wholesale cost, if you can sell it at all.
Many people are also now very aware that the powers within the diamond industry control the high price of natural diamonds, that they are artificially inflated with the aim of convincing the consumer that they are worth what they pay for them.
However, what isn’t obvious is that laboratory diamonds (CVD/HPHT) are also sold to the consumer in the same way. In other words, the price of CVD/HPHT diamonds are sold based on the same artificial pricing structure as natural diamonds are sold, operating on a non linear scale with a huge mark up. Natural diamonds retail for thousands of pounds and the price is often tens of thousands for a slightly bigger stone CVD/HPHT diamonds are sold for around 30% -40% less than the cost of a similar quality natural stone. Between a 1 carat and a 1.5 carat for example, the price becomes unaffordable for most.
You may have wondered, if these stones are made in a lab and so easily produced in huge quantities, why are they still almost as expensive as natural diamonds?
The reason for this marketing and pricing strategy is simple. When CVD/HPHT diamond started to penetrate the market, it posed a real threat to the natural mined diamond industry’s empire. To price a product that is made in mass which is fairly priced based on research, development, and a modest mark up for marketing costs would have a catastrophic effect on the diamond industry.
The result is that consumers are forced to pay a disproportionate amount of money for something that is priced based on an archaic, dishonest pricing strategy. The pricing is set according to the mined diamond pricing table, minus 30-40%. The reason why they are cheaper than mined diamonds is not because they are inferior in any way, but because they are being marketed as such which maintains the smoke and mirrors illusion that mined diamonds are “worth” more. But you will still pay too much for a laboratory grown diamond.
Your diamonds cost so much less than mined diamonds, and even most lab-grown diamonds. Why is that?
Ethica Diamonds are priced according to the cost of manufacture, and other overheads and are man-made using all the credentials of the finest mined diamonds and laboratory grown diamonds. The other good news is that they are fairly priced on a linear scale, and the cost is based ethically on research and development, not artificially inflated. This means that you can have a bigger, better diamond for a fair price that will also last the test of time.
People choose us for our 5 star commitment to customer service and our customers are happy to have the opportunity to purchase a beautiful stone that is not only affordable, but is a true gift from the heart which possesses the longevity and aesthetic beauty that a diamond does. It has not caused humanitarian or environmental harm and the profits are not entangled with dubious practices.