Do Lab-Grown Diamonds Have Resale Value?

The world of diamonds is undergoing a seismic shift as interest in lab-grown diamonds skyrockets. As fascination with lab-created diamonds continues to grow, these engineered marvels aren't replacing their natural counterparts but are carving out their own space in the fashion jewelry world, according to industry experts. Central to the discussion around this emerging market is the compelling question about whether lab-grown diamonds have resale value. We’ll offer insights and answers, examining the factors influencing the value and appeal of lab-grown diamonds. But first, it let’s better understand what a lab-grown diamond is and how they’re made. 

The Basics of Lab-Grown Diamonds

So, what are lab-grown diamonds? Contrary to some misconceptions, lab-grown diamonds are not imitations but real diamonds with composition and appearance virtually indistinguishable from their natural counterparts. The essence of both lies in their pure carbon structure arranged in a cubic crystalline form. The key difference? Natural diamonds form beneath the Earth's surface over millions of years, while lab-grown diamonds, such as those crafted in the Lightbox lab reactors, can be created in just a few weeks. Using advanced technologies like CVD (Chemical Vapor Deposition) and HPHT (High Pressure High Temperature), a tiny lab diamond seed is nurtured in a controlled environment to grow layer by layer. These methods are marvels of modern science that expedite the diamond-formation process without compromising on quality.

In terms of comparison, it's important to know that lab-grown diamonds are categorically different from diamond simulants like cubic zirconia. While the latter might offer a similar sparkle at first glance, they lack the unique physical and chemical properties that make a diamond. In other words, do lab-grown diamonds pass a diamond tester? Absolutely, because they share the same fundamental characteristics as natural diamonds. Lab-grown diamonds can also be graded based on the universally acknowledged 'Four Cs'—Cut, Color, Carat, and Clarity, just like natural diamonds. At Lightbox, although we do not individually certify each stone, we do guarantee that all our lab-grown diamonds meet rigorous quality standards. This commitment to quality elevates our lab-grown diamonds from being just a more affordable option to an embodiment of everyday extravagance and contemporary classics.

Factors Influencing Resale Value

Cut, Clarity, Color, Carat Weight

Both natural and lab-grown diamonds are assessed based on the 4 Cs—Cut, Clarity, Color, and Carat Weight. As mentioned, Lightbox offers lab-grown diamonds that meet the internationally recognized standards for these factors. 

  • The cut of the diamond affects its brilliance. The better the cut, the more the diamond sparkles. Lightbox's cut grading ranges from 'Very Good' to 'Excellent,' promising exceptional brilliance. 

  • Clarity, assessed under 10x magnification, grades the tiny imperfections within the stone—Lightbox lab-grown diamonds score as VS or VVS, indicating only minor inclusions. 

  • Color is a measure of how colorless a diamond is. Lightbox's white stones are categorized as 'near colorless,' while their Lightbox Finest™ are 'colorless,' the highest grades. 

  • The carat weight measures the diamond's weight, not its size. Lightbox offers linear pricing per carat, making it easier for those looking for transparent pricing. 

Market Demand, Price Differentiation, and Retail Trends

The market demand for diamonds is a dynamic element that strongly influences resale value. With a market projected to reach $14.9 billion by 2035, lab-grown diamonds are gaining appeal. However, fluctuations in demand can lead to unstable resale prices. While natural diamonds generally maintain or appreciate, the linear pricing of lab-grown diamonds, including those from Lightbox, suggests a more accessible entry point but potentially lower resale value.

It's worth noting that the price differential between natural and lab-grown fancy color diamonds is particularly significant—up to a tenfold difference. This gap makes lab-grown diamonds an increasingly appealing option for fashion jewelry enthusiasts. As major retailers expand their offerings to include lab-grown diamonds, these stones are becoming more entrenched in the fashion jewelry segment, broadening their appeal to a more price-conscious consumer base.

Production, Pricing, and Perception

Consumer perception plays a clear role in the valuation of both lab-grown and natural diamonds. Initially, lab-grown diamonds faced skepticism due to perceptions that they were "less real" or "less valuable." However, as attitudes shift, the demand for lab-grown diamonds continues to increase. 

While the growing market may suggest the possibility of increased resale value for lab-grown diamonds, that isn't necessarily the case. As production methods become more streamlined and efficient, lab-grown diamonds continue to be offered at increasingly competitive price points. Unlike natural diamonds, which are sourced from the Earth, lab-grown diamonds are manufactured. Therefore, they don't fall into the category of natural resources, which historically have had a higher likelihood of appreciating in value. This manufacturing aspect impacts both market perception and resale value, positioning lab-grown diamonds as a more accessible, albeit less investment-worthy, alternative.

It's honest and transparent to acknowledge that lab-grown diamonds, despite their growing acceptance, will not match the resale value of natural diamonds and are not typically considered heirloom pieces. But there's a silver lining. Think of it this way: if natural diamonds are the vintage wines of the jewelry world, brought out for very special occasions, then lab-grown diamonds are like the table wines you enjoy without worry during a casual dinner. 

For example, you might feel more comfortable wearing lab-grown diamond rings to a weekend brunch or sporting a lab-grown diamond pendant during a casual day out, free from the constant worry of diminishing the piece's investment value. This lessened concern about the asset value can actually be liberating, allowing you to enjoy your favorite jewelry pieces without the stress.

Customization and Personal Value

The trend of purchasing loose lab-grown diamond stones for custom pieces has seen a notable uptick, reflecting a consumer desire for unique, personalized jewelry. Imagine designing a ring featuring a lab-grown cushion cut diamond as the centerpiece, flanked by lab-grown diamond minis in pink or blue for a pop color. Or a pendant necklace where the same cushion-cut stone takes center stage, encased in a halo of emerald gemstones. 

These custom pieces hold significant emotional and personal value, akin to a painting crafted by a close friend. While these items may be priceless to the individual who custom-designed them, this emotional attachment doesn't necessarily translate into higher resale value. The real value in customization is the joy of owning a piece that has been personalized to your taste, a treasure to be worn and cherished.

In some ways, this reduced emphasis on resale value is liberating. It allows you to focus on the aesthetic and emotional significance of your custom piece without worrying about its potential market value down the line. Less pressure to sell means more freedom to enjoy and cherish your personalized jewelry, enriching your own life rather than considering its future as a commodity.

Final Thoughts: Your Diamond, Your Choice

As we've explored, lab-grown diamonds may not offer the same resale value as their natural counterparts. However, this doesn't mean they lack worth or beauty. When considering the best place to buy lab-grown diamonds, it's wise to think of these gems not as investment pieces but as trusted and captivating accessories. Embrace the freedom to wear, enjoy, and cherish your lab-grown diamond jewelry without the stress of pondering its future resale value. After all, the true value of any piece of jewelry—featuring lab-grown diamonds or not—lies in the joy it brings to its wearer.

  • Our environmental commitment

    At Lightbox we are big on transparency and our commitment to reducing the footprint of our stones is a huge part of this. See more on how we grow our stones with 100% renewable energy.

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  • Visit the lab

    Explore the Lightbox Lab in Portland, Oregon, home to our world-leading technology producing up to 200,000 carats a year, each one always VS clarity, very good cut and now 'grown in the USA'.

  • Lab-grown FAQs, answered.

    Our leading technology means our lab-grown diamonds are among the highest quality you can find. Learn more about the science behind the sparkle with our guide to lab-grown diamonds.