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Stephen Morisseau of the Gemological Institute of America gives us the scoop on lab-created diamonds.

Are lab created diamonds real diamonds?

By chemistry standards, yes, man-made diamonds have the same carbon composition and physical properties as natural diamonds.

Can you tell the difference?

To the naked eye, no. Most lab-produced diamonds have an inscribed serial number that can be seen under a microscope. Also, a good indicator is that man-made diamonds are flawless, while less than .5 percent of natural diamonds are so classified. If it’s perfect, the odds are it’s man-made.

Why man-made?

Manufacturers such as Pure Grown Diamonds emphasize that their stones are conflict-free and sustainable. Also, they generally cost around 30 percent less than mined diamonds.

Why natural?

For some consumers, “non-natural” diamonds still have an aura of being inauthentic, and—gasp—cheap. Plus, while a lab-made stone takes around three months to create, a natural diamond takes more than a billion years to form. Talk about commitment.

Where does that leave “ash” diamonds?

Companies like DNA2Diamonds use what the DNA2D website calls customers’ “personal source of carbon,” like hair or the cremated ashes of a loved one (or pet). Each diamond requires a cup of cremated ashes or 3/4 cup of hair. Hey, it’s your funeral.

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