"Above Ground" Diamonds VS "Earth Mined" Diamonds

August 16, 2019

Family & Co. Jewelers sells both “above ground” or “grown” diamonds as well as traditional “below ground” or “earth mined” diamonds. We have sold diamonds for over 82 years and have always believed in educating our clients, about diamonds and jewelry, and allowing our clients to make an informed decision about their purchase. This philosophy continues in the arena of diamonds.

The arena of grown diamonds is a controversial one. Grown diamonds; a term the Diamond Producers Association disputes as misleading; cost you 40 percent less than mined diamonds. Not surprisingly, companies like De Beers, Rio Tinto and other members of the Diamond Producers Association have cried foul, saying lab diamonds are inauthentic. The manufacturers of synthetic diamonds, on the other hand, are promoting the environmental benefits of their process, hoping to attract millennials more concerned about being green and saving money than embracing the tag line “a diamond is forever.”

The above arguments are made by people with a financial stake in only one type of diamond, either grown diamonds or mined diamonds. By deciding to offer our clients both types of diamonds, Family & Co. Jewelers has made the choice to not join the controversy.

Let’s talk about how above ground diamonds are created. The growing process can be completed in as little as three months. There are two approaches. One simulates the crushing force of the earth by applying high temperature and high pressure to dissolve carbon into a diamond seed. The other is akin to a 3-D printing approach, with pieces of carbon being layered on a diamond seed in a vacuum chamber.

The next step is the diamond cutting process. Grown diamonds are cut by master diamond cutters; the same as all diamonds are. The primary diamond grower that we deal with, Pure Grown Diamonds, specializes in cutting their diamonds to the highest standards. The majority of their diamonds are triple excellent; this means excellent cut, polish and symmetry.

The result is a diamond that has the same properties as a mined diamond, the same hardness, brilliance, chemical and optical properties as any other diamond.

This is not the first time gemstones have been manufactured. In the late 1800s, Auguste Verneuil, a French chemist, manufactured the first synthetic rubies. His process has also been used to make synthetic sapphires. Cultured pearls, where an irritant is placed into the oyster to create a pearl, have been made since the 19th century in Japan.

The first synthetic diamonds were created in the 1950s for industrial uses by companies like General Electric. They did not approach gem quality until the 1970s and 1980s, beginning with colored diamonds.

Tom Moses, who oversees the laboratories and research at the Gemological Institute of America, said it was not until the past five years that synthetic diamond producers began to create stones that could compete with mined diamonds and fool people buying these diamonds. However the grown diamond industry is not interested in fooling the diamond buying public. The grown diamond industry, like Family & Co. Jewelers, is simple offering the diamond buying public another alternative.

All of our diamonds are sold with a diamond grading report that describes the 4 Cs of the diamond and of course states whether the diamond is grown or mined.

All of our diamonds come with a very generous upgrade policy. Our clients can trade in their diamond (grown diamond or mined diamond) for another diamond with as little as a 10 percent difference in price. So you never lose a penny buying or trading your diamond with us!


Family & Co. Jewelers