Lab grown diamonds are much cheaper, but some want the 'real' rock

Posted at 1:47 PM, Jan 30, 2024

You'll likely be paying more than normal for that diamond engagement ring and prices may not be coming down after that.

"Every year in January retailers are sort of replenishing their inventory as they're getting ready for Valentine's Day. So first of all, inventories are kind of empty, and there's a rush to buy diamonds, so that always that sort of demand creates an increase in prices," says diamond industry analyst, Edahn Golan.

"From there on, the expectation is that we will see an increase for two reasons. First of all, the U.S. economy is good and when that happens people are more likely to purchase. And the other reason is, it's cyclical. So, every time we see a decrease like we had in the past six months, the past year we always see a rise in demand. People kind of miss their jewelry, I guess."

One option to save is to buy a lab-grown diamond.

Golan broke down the savings for us and it's significant. He says his December price data shows a 2-carat diamond that's mined costs around $9400, whereas a typical lab-grown diamond of the same size ran you $1500 -- about an 84% savings.

Golan says some people care about the story and where the diamond came from and want the natural rocks.

"People in their forties, fifties, and older tend to look at lab-grown as fakes or knockoffs and those that are in their twenties and thirties such as people getting married do prefer lab-grown diamonds."

"The American market is very price-oriented and very size-oriented. The ability to buy a much larger diamond is very appealing," he adds.