If you're on the hunt for the perfect, ethically-sourced diamond, lab-grown diamonds are the answer to your search.
Over the past few years, I've become fascinated with the growing world of lab-grown diamonds, exploring the best place to buy lab grown diamonds, ensuring you get the best value and quality for your money.
To help you find the ideal lab-grown diamond for your special occasion, I've compiled a list of the most reputable and reliable places to shop, so you can make an informed decision and invest in a stunning and environmentally friendly gem.
Best Places to Buy Lab Grown Diamonds in 2023
If you need the list quick, here are my top picks for the best online lab grown diamonds from reputable dealers.
1. James Allen
James Allen is the best place to buy lab grown diamonds for brides.
They offer over 51,000 of the best loose lab-created diamonds of various shapes. I researched and compared their selection, finding some lab grown diamonds as small as 0.30 carats and others as large as 6.25 carats!
You'll love this:
Every lab diamond on James Allen is a real diamond. Rest assured they do NOT sell fake diamond simulants like cubic zirconia. I verified that all of their lab-created diamonds are certified by the IGI (International Gemological Institute) so you know you're getting what you pay for.
Typically, with natural diamonds, we want a certification with the GIA (Gemological Institute of America) or AGS (American Gem Society). But in the case of synthetic diamonds and similarly created diamonds, IGI certifications do the best job of pinpointing exacts, which is what James Allen offers.
It gets better:
Lab grown diamond prices at James Allen are budget-friendly because I discovered that they are ALWAYS cheaper than your popular diamond retailers at brick and mortar locations (think Kay, Zales, etc). Plus, lab-created diamonds are known to be between 20%-30% cheaper than similar mined diamonds, even if the lab-created diamonds have the exact same anatomy, crystal structure, beauty, excellence and finished product.
So if you combine James Allen's standard great pricing plus the lower lab diamond prices, you can select a stunning round 1-carat lab-created loose diamond for $2,000 less than its mined counterpart from other bridal stores. That’s a great deal when it comes to lab-created diamonds.
Check out the difference below to see what I mean:
Pretty amazing, right?
The best part is no one will know the difference; just you and your wallet!
You can rest assured that every dollar of your budget spent on James Allen's lab-created diamonds for brides is money well invested.
If you want a hand to narrow down the best from the vast bridal selection, you'll be pleased to know James Allen's customer service team is highly educated and can help you pick the best lab grown diamond.
You can literally ask them anything about diamonds and jewelry and get a quick, educated answer in return.
I inquired with their team of gemologists about various aspects of lab-created diamonds — from high pressure high temperature (HTPT) techniques to the resale value of lab-grown diamonds — which we'll discuss a little later.
At the end of the day, James Allen is the best diamond company for both natural and lab-created diamonds, with vast and beautiful selections, all conflict-free. Their lab diamonds are high-quality, budget-friendly, with a fantastic lifetime warranty that covers wear and tear as well as routine maintenance.
Visit their official site from the button below to find the lab diamond of your dreams.
Read More: James Allen Full Review
2. Brilliant Earth
Brilliant Earth is one of the most popular online lab diamond retailers. Like James Allen above, they carry a catalogue of both mined and lab-grown diamonds, which I researched and compared.
Brilliant Earth is most famous for taking the extra step in ensuring that their diamonds are conflict-free.
If you've ever heard of blood diamonds, you might know that there have been many controversies over diamond mining in some places in Africa. The Kimberley Process was created to make sure commercial diamonds aren't sourced from these places.
However, while the KP greatly reduced the accessibility of conflict diamonds, it still isn't foolproof. Brilliant Earth goes further than that. They track the history and origin of their diamonds and keep detailed records, ensuring they are authentic and ethical.
They trademarked the phrase Beyond Conflict Free™ to demonstrate their dedication to also make sure their conflict-free diamonds don't violate human rights, are environmentally friendly, are ethical, and their metals are sustainably sourced.
This means that the diamonds and metals they use not only don't come from places of war, but other terrible working conditions in which miners come under while still being technically conflict-free.
Compare how much further Brilliant Earth truly goes Beyond Conflict Free™ in the image below:
Thankfully, lab-created diamonds aren't mined, so brides can trace the supply chain quite easily and know they weren't used to fund civil wars or other heinous acts in a laboratory.
It gets better:
Brilliant Earth carries lab diamonds ranging from 0.25 carats all the way up to a whopping 25 carats. I discovered they have (by far) the largest collection of the best man-made diamonds out of all of our retailers with over 199,000 different lab diamonds—more than the other 3 brands combined!
They are also retailers of lab-created colored diamonds, which is unusual for lab diamonds. I recommend that if you're looking for blue, orange, pink, or some other colored LGD, do check them out.
But let's see what kind of warranty they have...
Well, the answer is that they only have that manufacturer's warranty, which I don't like. It only covers you if there's a defect in the design. And if there is, you have to pay $50 in order to ship it so that they can evaluate if there's a defect.
If they deem so, the $50 is refunded to you. If not, you don't get the $50 back and they might ask if you want to go ahead with the repairs as well. Also, if the lab diamond engagement ring settings weren't manufactured by Brilliant Earth, they don't carry this protection either.
They have an Extended Service Plan you can purchase, but it only lasts three years, which makes it far from the best. The prices of the plans are dependent on the setting, and you don't know ahead of purchase. You can only purchase the plan over the phone, which, in my opinion, is very inconvenient and non-transparent.
Brilliant Earth is a solid choice if you want to choose the best lab-created diamond (whether clear or colored) from an incredible selection at a fair price, while also supporting the Beyond Conflict Free™ cause.
3. Blue Nile
Blue Nile is one of the best places to buy lab grown diamonds online. In fact, they have the craft mastered and I was impressed by their history and offerings.
That's because they have a glowing trusted reputation and solid customer base as the first online diamond retailer to open back in 1999. They often do the tango with James Allen for the top spot on a lot of our articles.
Blue Nile offers over 200,000 natural diamonds of various carat weights and grades. As I browsed their selection, I discovered they also carry over 10,000 loose lab-grown diamonds of various grades and weights.
You'll love this:
Before, I noticed one of the advantages places like James Allen and Brilliant Earth had over Blue Nile was that they offered lab-grown diamonds. Now, Blue Nile has changed up the game to offer customers a wide variety of lab-grown diamonds.
And even better than the other lab diamond dealers, all of the lab-grown diamonds in Blue Nile's inventory are GIA graded diamonds, which is the top grading lab in the world (the American Gem Society would disagree).
I found that though GIA certified lab-grown diamonds have been offered more ever since they revamped them back in 2020, only some retailers are able to get a bunch of them.
Blue Nile is that retailer:
But here's where the disadvantages come in:
Despite other customers' (and my) pleas of adding a service warranty, Blue Nile continues to offer the standard manufacturer's warranty. This only covers defects and ongoing issues with your lab grown diamond engagement ring.
They offer to clean and inspect your ring for free, but you have to pay shipping to get it to them. They'll pay return shipping. Any work outside of that like retipping prongs, rhodium plating white gold ring settings, and tightening stones are all done at cost.
They recommend you purchase jewelry insurance for your lab grown diamond ring with their partner, Jewelers Mutual. I noticed you can get a quote right there from the Blue Nile site. Jewelers Mutual is our pick for best jewelry insurance, so we definitely back them up.
Furthermore, all of Blue Nile's Build Your Own Diamond collection comes with its own appraisal, making it easy to hand over to the insurance company you choose.
But here's a feature that none of our other picks have:
As I compared different diamond retailers (online or offline), I realized that due to the value of lab diamonds fluctuating so often, most diamond retailers don't offer upgrade policies on lab-grown diamonds.
But not Blue Nile.
In their new diamond upgrade policy, they offer upgrades for both their natural and lab diamond collection. And on a case by case basis, you could even upgrade from natural to lab or vice versa.
All you have to do is spend at least 2x the value and you get the full value of your original diamond off. This is similar to brick and mortar store upgrade programs.
All in all, Blue Nile is an excellent option to purchase an affordable lab grown diamond from. I found their 360˚ viewing feature to be really helpful, and every single lab diamond comes with the best certification in the industry (GIA).
They may not have a great warranty, but their reputation of being a trusting company keeps customers coming back for more beautiful jewelry. And now they've got that awesome upgrade policy for lab diamonds, I'm sure even more people will consider buying their lab-grown diamonds from Blue Nile.
Read also: The Full Blue Nile Review
Whiteflash is another diamond retailer that didn't use to carry lab grown diamonds--but now they do. As I explored their offerings, I felt that diamond lovers can rejoice all around.
Though Whiteflash takes the last spot here on the best place to buy lab grown diamonds online, it's got nothing to do with quality. In fact, as I examined Whiteflash, I found that they have some of the best cut diamond inventories.
They offer 360° viewing on their lab diamonds, and all of them are either certified by the GIA or IGI grading labs. While browsing their website, I noticed they offer two kinds of viewing tools, the sparkle view and the brilliance view, which allow you to see different features of your manmade diamond's light reflection.
Check it out below:
Unlike Blue Nile, Whiteflash offers a service warranty:
However, I found it's still not as good as James Allen's warranty plan. Whiteflash offers a free service plan, but it only lasts 1 year. It's recommended to make sure to do any final maintenance to your ring before the warranty expires.
Why Whiteflash Comes in at #4:
Compared to my other picks, Whiteflash's inventory of lab grown diamonds is paltry with just over 1,000 available. As I analyzed their selection, I realized that it doesn't leave a whole lot to observe.
The prices of their lab diamonds are comparable to others, but they carry lots of brand names for ring settings, which can increase your price. Whiteflash is a specialty retailer and provides extra documentation like the ASET and Idealscope images for their lab grown diamonds.
This is a feature that no one else has.
ASET and Idealscope images can show you how well-cut your diamond is. When I reviewed these images, I discovered that the white on an Ideal Scope will show you where light leaks, which doesn't reflect back to the viewer.
At the end of the day:
Whiteflash is a good option to buy lab grown diamonds with a beautiful cut from, but they're not the best. I do like the free warranty, but it's a bummer it just lasts for a year.
My main issue with buying lab diamonds at Whiteflash is that given their smaller inventory they don't really have any advantages over another lab diamond retailer, besides the ASET and Idealscope images on their lab grown diamonds.
For many people, Whiteflash's lab diamonds might not be worth the price for little visual difference from another retailer.
Read also: The Full Whiteflash Review
How We Selected The Best Lab Grown Diamond Stores
I researched and compared various retailers to discover the best lab diamonds online and in-store, focusing on factors such as cut, clarity, carat, and color.
I browsed their collections and inquired about customization options to ensure buyers can find the perfect diamond to suit their preferences. Some of the most popular and interesting choices I came across were "round-cut", "princess-cut", "yellow lab grown diamonds", and "pink lab grown diamonds".
I inspected and assessed the quality of lab-grown diamonds by verifying their certification and grading reports. I searched for retailers that offered the best quality lab grown diamonds that were certified by reputable organizations such as the the International Gemological Institute (IGI) or the Gemological Institute of America (GIA).
In the past, IGI certifications were preferable but in 2020 GIA certifications for lab-grown diamonds were revamped and are now acceptable and preferable grading reports.
Settings and Jewelry Available
I browsed the available settings and jewelry designs from different retailers, focusing on the variety of styles, metals, and customization options. I looked for stores that offered a variety of settings and jewelry options to showcase the lab grown diamonds in engagement rings, weddings bands and more.
I reviewed all retailers and selected the ones that offer competitive and transparent pricing on their best lab diamonds. I also considered the overall value for money, including any financing options or promotions that may be available. Additionally, I checked for any unusual additional costs such as taxes or shipping fees that may impact the final price.
I assessed the user experience of each website to ensure they were user-friendly for both desktop and mobile use, and had useful features such as filters by karat size and diamond characteristic and most importantly an easy to use gallery of the individual and specific lab-grown diamonds that are available for sale.
I also considered customer reviews and ratings to gauge overall satisfaction with the online shopping experience for lab-grown diamonds.
For those who prefer an in-person shopping experience, I looked for stores that had good reviews on Google and Yelp for their physical locations. I assessed the in-person experience by evaluating factors such as store ambiance, staff knowledge, and the opportunity to consult with diamond experts.
I engaged with various retailers' websites and customer service teams to gain firsthand insight into their processes and responsiveness. By compiling my interactions, I aimed to help others make informed decisions when selecting the best retailer for lab-grown diamonds.
I evaluated the customer service of each retailer, including their return policies, warranties, and responsiveness to customer inquiries. Some of the most important customer service aspects I used to base my decisions off of were 30-day return policies, lifetime warranties, 24/7 customer support and personalized assistance.
Additional Buying Options
While we haven't vetted all of the retailers out there, we've done extensive research to bring you the most reputable online and brick and mortar stores to consider.
When it comes to online retailers, James Allen is our top recommendation. Their website offers an excellent selection of high-quality lab-grown diamonds with clear images and detailed information.
Brilliant Earth, Clean Origin, and Vrai are also great online options, known for their ethical and sustainable practices. Lightbox Jewelry offers their best synthetic diamonds at a more affordable price point and is a great choice for those on a budget.
For those who prefer to see diamonds in person before making a purchase, there are several brick and mortar stores that offer lab-grown diamonds. Macy's and Helzberg Diamonds are well-known department stores that have recently started offering lab-grown diamonds in their selection.
Jared and Tiffany & Co. are other popular jewelry retailers that now offer lab-grown diamonds in their collections. Leibish & Co. is a luxury brand that offers a wide range of lab-grown diamonds in various colors, while Ada Diamonds specializes in unique custom designs.
Other notable options include Agape Diamonds, Diamond Foundry, Gemesis, Lark & Berry, Pure Grown Diamonds, and Rosi Diamonds. Each of these retailers offers high-quality lab-grown diamonds and unique features that set them apart from the competition.
Lab Grown Diamonds 101
There's a lot of misinformation when it comes to what are lab-created diamonds. They are also referred to as synthetic diamonds, which is where a lot of misinformation comes from to begin with.
Synthetic diamonds and lab-grown diamonds are one and the same. They are real AND natural diamonds, but have been grown in a matter of weeks rather than billions of years like a mined diamond.
Read also: When Did Lab Created Diamonds Start?
Their optical properties and physical properties are the same. The main difference between the two lab created diamonds is their origin. There are two methods of how lab diamonds are made: chemical vapor deposition (CVD) and high pressure high temperature (HPHT).
In HPHT methods, a diamond seed (fragment of a diamond) is placed under extremely high pressure and temperatures similar to how diamonds would grow if they were in the ground.
The diamond seed can be an earth made diamonds or lab grown.
The diamond seed is placed into a chunk carbon and put under these conditions. The carbon melts and becomes bonded to the diamond seed, turning into a lab grown diamond after it cools. Then it's shipped to one day become your best lab created diamond engagement ring.
In chemical vapor deposition, or CVD methods, they take a piece of diamond seed (commonly an HPHT diamond) and place it in a chamber. They fill the chamber with carbon gases, which ionize into a plasma-like substance that breaks down bonded molecules. This leaves the carbon to form around the seed and begin to crystallize in lab created diamonds.
Read Also: Natural Diamonds Vs Lab Created Diamonds - which is better?
What Reddit Says About Lab Grown Diamonds
Reddit has become one of the best and most reliable places to find opinions of various jewelry brands and engagement ring advice. Many jewelry brands like James Allen have their own account and thank people for purchasing with them.
Overall, the reception to lab-grown diamonds among the r/ Engagement Rings sub-thread is very positive. Lab-grown diamonds and moissanite engagement rings seem to be the most popular these days.
In a recent post, the price difference between lab-grown and mined diamonds has come up. Majority of retailers tell you lab diamonds are between 20%-40% cheaper than mined diamonds of the same grades. However, the Redditor has come into contact with seemingly high-quality diamonds with a bigger discount.
Many Redditors assure him that it’s entirely possible and likely to find lab-grown diamonds at a bigger discount than they used to be. The production of LGDs has increased, as well as the number of the best lab-grown diamond companies producing them.
To compete, companies may have excellent lab diamonds at a great price. They also indicate the pandemic had a big effect on the supply chain of natural diamonds, causing prices to go up. Lab diamond prices continue to drop.
Alternatively, Redditors also warn that not all lab diamonds are created equal. Because of the number of production companies, the quality can be worse than others. They warn to watch out for heavily included lab diamonds or ones that have not been cut well.
How to Buy Lab Grown Diamonds and Save Money
While you can't save too much more money with lab grown diamonds outside of buying with them, there are still a couple of tricks I can reveal that'll give you the best edge to having a lab grown diamond engagement ring for even less...
You see, while there's nothing we can really do to cheapen out the cut of a lab grown diamond, we CAN work with the color.
Diamond color ranges from colorless (most expensive) to faint yellow (least expensive), and in between you can find the best lab-created blue diamonds as well.
Once you enter a L-Z color grades, you're looking at lab-created yellow diamonds. J color lab created diamonds may look faint yellow in a white gold setting, BUT put the best manmade diamonds in a yellow gold setting and they look colorless, not far from some of the best lab-made diamonds available.
You can save on color grade budget cost by changing the your lab created diamond engagement ring setting to yellow gold.
You can do the same thing with clarity as well with mined diamonds, but it's not often needed with lab-grown diamonds. One of the minor differences between lab grown diamonds and mined diamonds is their inclusions.
A lab grown diamond has less obvious inclusions than a mined diamond. That's because they're not around other elements and impurities. They still get inclusions, but they're less noticeable types that don't impact beauty.
You might look for lab-grown diamonds with inclusions near the edge. As long as the inclusions are internal and not on the surface, it shouldn't affect the beauty of your lab diamond engagement ring. It also makes the price go down since you chose lab created diamonds with a lower clarity grade, while not looking much worse than some of the best lab-grown diamonds.
This is best used in halo settings. Halo settings are also a great way of making a center stone carat weight look larger, without actually being so, further bridging the gap between the lower grade and the best lab-created diamonds.
What Red Flags to Watch Before You Buy Lab Grown Diamonds Online
While there are many benefits to purchasing LCDs or choosing the best one for lab grown diamond engagement rings, there are a couple things to watch out for.
- No Upgrades: The likelihood of what you'll pay for today's best lab made diamond engagement ring will most likely cost less a year from now. This can be quite frustrating for brides. Both lab grown diamonds and mined diamonds will be better served passed down through generations rather than an investment or reselling.
- The other downside of the lab diamond resale value factor is that you can't upgrade LGDs either. For natural diamonds, you'll find that most retailers have an upgrade policy. The value of lab created diamonds depreciate very fast, so there wouldn't be any kind of trade-up value for your engagement ring, even if you buy the best lab-grown diamond there is.
- Lab Created vs Cubic Zirconia: The other thing you want to think about is how lab created diamonds are often confused with diamond simulants, like zircon and cubic zirconia (CZ). While bridal and jewelry stores are advised by the FTC to disclose and distinguish simulated vs lab created diamonds, it can be difficult to know for sure if you're getting what you think you are.
- This is especially true when buying an engagement ring in foreign markets or private diamond dealers. This is why you should always make sure to get a grading report with your lab grown diamonds.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are lab grown diamonds real diamonds?
Yes, lab grown diamonds are chemically, physically, and optically identical to natural mined diamonds.
What are the benefits of buying lab grown diamonds?
The benefits of buying lab grown diamonds include their affordability, ethical and eco-friendly sourcing, and their quality and durability.
What are the most popular cuts for lab grown diamonds?
The most popular cuts for lab grown diamonds are round, princess, cushion, and emerald.
What percentage of people buy lab grown diamonds?
According to a 2021 study by the Natural Diamond Council, around 16% of engagement ring buyers purchased a lab-grown diamond, up from 5% in 2019. However, it's worth noting that this percentage varies based on different factors such as location, age, and income level.
How do I choose the best retailer for lab grown diamonds?
Consider factors such as the retailer's reputation, customer service, return policy, selection, pricing, and certification. Look for independent third-party certifications from organizations like the International Gemological Institute (IGI) or the Gem Certification & Assurance Lab (GCAL) to ensure the lab created diamond's quality and authenticity.
Recap: Our Top Picks
Here are our final ratings for trusted retailers to buy lab diamonds from based on our in-depth research and independent reviews.
Get Your Lab Grown Diamonds From...
While there are many places you can shop for lab-grown diamonds nowadays, the brands above are going to carry high-quality lab made engagement rings for people of all tastes and styles.
But if you're still wondering exactly where to buy lab grown diamonds from, I do have an answer for you.
At James Allen, you can rest assured you are shopping for the best lab created diamond engagement rings on the web. Their website and customer experience is top-notch at helping you find exactly what you are looking for, and making sure that you buy the best lab-grown diamond for your specific needs.