Lab Diamonds Are Too Perfect for Their Own Good – by Amanda Mull (The Atlantic – February 7, 2024)

The traditional diamond industry is thought to be under threat from lab-grown stones. But that’s not how luxury works.

Last year, a funny thing happened at Ring Concierge’s Manhattan showroom. A bride-to-be brought her engagement ring back to the popular jewelry store after wearing it for a few weeks and wanted to trade out her diamond for a worse one.

The woman was worried that the original rock was too clear, too bright, too perfect for its large size, Ring Concierge’s CEO, Nicole Wegman, told me. She wanted to replace it with a lower-quality stone of a similar size—something a little less bright white.

Brides sometimes bring in new rings for tweaks; maybe they want the fit adjusted, or they’re having second thoughts about the setting. Occasionally, they decide they want to pay the extra money to go bigger. That the central diamond is too good, however, is just not a complaint that jewelers get, except in cases of totally blown budgets.

But this particular bride wasn’t worried that she’d spent too much money, Wegman said. In a sense, the bride was worried that she hadn’t spent enough. She and her fiancé had selected a lab-grown diamond—a gem that’s chemically identical to a mined diamond at a fraction of the cost—in order to get the kind of size and clarity that would push a natural stone far beyond their means.

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