Natural diamonds are created through a natural process in the earth’s mantle. Eighty to 130 miles below the earth’s surface, high heat and pressure cause diamonds to be formed over a period of 1 to 3 billion years. After they have been formed, diamonds travel to the earth’s surface by a natural process in the earth’s core. Diamonds are then mined from these deposits. This natural process causes the diamonds to have unique characteristics in the form of flaws and inclusions. In other words, natural diamonds are never exactly alike. The natural process creates unique individual diamonds. Natural diamonds are also the most sought after and expensive type of diamond.
Diamonds can also be produced in a lab. These are referred to as synthetic or artificial diamonds. Lab produced diamonds are indeed real diamonds (same chemical properties, atomic structure, and physical properties) and only their origin differentiates them. Lab diamonds quality and characteristics are the same was as natural diamonds. You use the 4-C’s to determine quality in the same way. The high quality lab diamonds are sometimes impossible to differentiate from natural diamonds with the naked eye.
How can you tell the difference? To really tell the difference, you would need to send the diamond to jeweler or a qualified lab to examine the diamond. You can, however, get a rough idea of whether or not the diamond is natural or lab created. Natural diamonds are almost always placed in high quality 14 carat gold settings. Nobody puts an expensive diamond on a cheap setting. So, if you just want to check it out, look at the setting. If it is of low quality, then the diamond may be a lab diamond.
There is a big difference in value between natural and artificial diamonds. You can get synthetic lab diamonds anywhere from 10 to 40% lower than natural diamonds. So they cost less. But they have less value when being resold. Additionally, in a future, where making lab diamonds may become cheaper and more pervasive, a natural diamond will stand out all the more and become even more desirable.