Cultured and mined diamonds are often compared when people are trying to decide which to buy, but do you know what the difference is between these two types of diamonds? Let’s see what cultured and mined diamonds are, and how they are different.
What Is a Mined Diamond?
Diamonds that have been dug out of the earth are referred to as mined diamonds.
The term “mined diamonds” is often used to denote stones that have formed naturally, as opposed to ones that have been created artificially.
In that sense, “mined diamond” is simply a synonym for “natural diamond.”
What Is a Cultured Diamond?
Diamonds created in a lab through an artificial process are called “cultured.” Other common terms used to refer to cultured diamonds are “synthetic diamonds,” “created diamonds,” and “lab-grown diamonds.”
Cultured diamonds are made of the same material that makes up mined diamonds. Usually, synthetic diamonds are created under high pressure and high temperature.
How Cultured Diamonds Differ from Mined Diamonds
Although cultured and mined diamonds are made of the same material, they often differ with respect to clarity. Most mined diamonds have visible natural flaws such as black spots, specks, blemishes, lines, etc.
Cultured diamonds, on the other hand, tend to have fewer such flaws because the process used to create these stones is designed to minimize imperfections.
Another difference between cultured and mined diamonds is price. All else being equal, cultured diamonds tend to be cheaper than mined diamonds of the same or similar quality.
Are Cultured Diamonds Fake?
Since cultured diamonds have the same chemical composition and physical characteristics as mined diamonds, cultured diamonds are not considered fake. They are as real and genuine as natural diamonds found in the earth.
Many people mistakenly assume that simulated diamonds, or imitated diamonds, are the same as cultured diamonds, and therefore classify the latter as fake.
However, while cultured stones are real, diamond simulants and imitations are technically fake, as they are made of materials that have nothing to do with real diamond.
Diamond Shopping: Cultured vs. Mined Diamonds
The biggest advantage of cultured diamonds is that they are cheaper than mined ones, and you can get a cultured stone with pretty good clarity at a more affordable price, whereas a high-clarity natural diamond will be more expensive.
You shouldn’t worry that cultured diamonds might look different from mined stones.
If you are shopping for diamonds, you will have a hard time distinguishing cultured from mined diamonds just by looking at them.
There are simply no reliable visual clues that could help you to identify whether a stone has been made in a lab, unless you have the diamond tested with special equipment.
The best way to tell if a diamond is cultured or mined is to look at its grading report, which will often list the origin of the stone.
For example, the GIA (Gemological Institute of America) tests each diamond it grades to determine whether it is synthetic, and if the stone is found to be cultured, this is recorded in its certificate.
Therefore, we recommend that you only shop at reputable jewelry stores that sell diamonds with grading reports issued by a well-known, independent third party.
Where to Buy Diamonds and Diamond Jewelry?
For diamond jewelry, we highly recommend James Allen because it shows real photos and videos for each diamond so you can take a 360-degree look at any stone before buying it.
For colored diamonds, we recommend Leibish & Co., which specializes in fancy color diamonds (use code JewelryNotes200 at checkout to get a 5% discount).