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What Are Natural Diamonds?

Whether you're shopping for an engagement ring like no other, one-of-a-kind diamond studs to celebrate an anniversary, or a diamond accent for a necklace or bracelet, a natural diamond will never disappoint. Here's what you should know about natural diamonds before you start shopping.

How Natural Diamonds Are FormedHow Natural Diamonds Are Formed

How Natural Diamonds Are Formed

Created deep in the earth over billions of years, a natural diamond is the hardest known substance on earth. They are formed from carbon deposits subject to extreme heat and pressure. While many diamonds are white or "colorless," it's normal for them to take on a yellowish tint from the other minerals they come into contact with as they grow. Eventually, the stone will travel to the earth's surface via molten rock, where it is mined, refined, and turned into the diamonds used for jewelry.

The 4Cs, cut, clarity, carat, and color, determine the quality of a diamond. These four features are graded separately but work together to give a stone its value.
Responsible SourcingResponsible Sourcing

Responsible Sourcing

For our customers, a diamond is a symbol of love and commitment. As part of Signet Jewelers, the world's largest diamond retailer, Zales has a responsibility to not only set a good example of providing responsibly sourced natural diamonds but also to be a leader in developing standards that make responsible sourcing the norm. While you browse our selection of diamond jewelry, rest assured that all the natural—and lab-created—diamonds we provide are 100% conflict-free.

Natural Diamonds Vs. Lab-Created Diamonds

The choice between a natural diamond and a lab-created diamond is a personal one. While they share the same optical, chemical, and physical properties, natural and lab-created diamonds can differ in reputation and long-term value. At Zales, our goal is to help you determine the right diamond for your needs. Learn more about the differences between natural and lab-created diamonds and discover the best diamond option for you.
 Zales Diamond Comparison   Natural Diamond   Lab‑Created Diamond 
Is it a Diamond? Yes Yes
Primary Chemical Composition Carbon Carbon
Source The Earth A Laboratory
Age 1 - 3 billion years Several Weeks to Months
Supply/Rarity Finite and rare Potentially unlimited
Independently Certified Yes* Yes*
100% Conflict-Free Yes Yes
Likely to Maintain Long-Term Value Historically, yes Unknown at this Time
Included in the Lifetime Diamond Commitment Yes Yes
Eligible for Trade-In Yes Yes
Price Comparison $$$ $$

*Select styles and carat weights

Natural Diamond FAQ

Both natural diamonds and lab-created diamonds vary in their diamond grading. Natural diamonds are incredible feats of nature and are considered a more traditional choice. A natural diamond is often considered a status symbol and is more likely to hold its value over time, but the "better" option depends on your unique needs, style, and budget.

Yes, we provide the same warranties and service plans for both natural and lab-created diamonds.

While lab-created diamonds exhibit the identical optical, physical, and chemical properties as natural diamonds, their core difference is their origin and the time they took to form. Natural diamonds take billions of years to form and are considered a finite resource.

Neither is inherently higher quality, as both lab-created and natural diamonds are available in a range of colors, cuts, clarity, and carat weights.

A natural diamond has traditionally maintained its value. Since they are a finite resource, their rarity suggests they will maintain their value or increase in value as they become harder to find. People might want to pass jewelry made with natural diamonds down through generations or reuse natural diamonds for new pieces of jewelry.

Natural diamonds are grown deep in the earth from carbon deposits that withstand extreme heat and pressure over billions of years. They are excavated from mines worldwide, including Australia, South Africa, India, and more. Zales is dedicated to ensuring our natural diamonds come from 100% conflict-free sources.

Because lab-created diamonds have the same optical, chemical, and physical characteristics as natural diamonds, they cannot be distinguished even with a professional loupe under 10x magnification. That's why Zales' lab-created diamonds are inscribed with "lab-grown diamond" on the girdle.

Your natural diamond will be accompanied by an independent laboratory report detailing its "4 Cs" - cut, color, clarity, and carat weight.
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