Why is it So Hard to Sell Lab-Grown Diamonds in 2023? (2023)

Have you noticed that it’s getting harder and harder to sell lab-grown diamonds? This is a tale about how Lab-Grown and Natural Diamonds hold their value, with some pointers on how to sell the former in 2023.


  • “Store of Value” is an Economics term which relates how well a given object maintains, gains, or loses monetary value over time.
  • One of the selling points of Natural Diamonds is that they hold their value better than Lab-Grown Diamonds.
  • Even with Natural Diamonds, calculating the Present Market Value of a piece of jewelry purchased a decade ago isn’t as simple as taking the value at time of purchase plus inflation over the time period.
  • The value of Natural Diamonds goes up over time, albeit slowly.
  • Lab-Grown Diamonds are a product of technology: With every technological advancement, the value of the old version goes down.
  • The value of Lab-Grown Diamonds has dropped by over 50% in the last year.
  • The traditional resellers of diamonds are unfamiliar with LGDs, making the secondary market for LGDs limited.

What is a Store of Value?

“Store of Value” is an economics term which usually means ‘any commodity or asset that would normally retain purchasing power into the future.’ A house, for example, as well as all land, generally gains in value over time. A car, on the other hand, loses value the minute you drive it off the lot and continues to do so over the lifetime of the vehicle.A house is a good store of value, a car is not. (Though, ironically, you usually need the car to go to the job to afford the house.)

One of the selling points of Natural Diamonds is that they hold their value better than lab-grown equivalents. While that IS true… it is hardly an endorsement.

I’ll start with Natural Diamonds.

Natural Diamonds as a Store of Value

I just did an inspection for a Natural Diamond that was purchased in 2013 for $8314.00, retail new, at one of the big and well regarded jewelers in town.

Why is it So Hard to Sell Lab-Grown Diamonds in 2023? (1)

The client is getting a divorce and needs an appraisal of what they can reasonably expect to sell the piece for in 2023, along with a comparison appraisal of what they could have reasonably expected to sell it for in 2013. The two separate appraisals help divide property in an equitable way. Lawyer stuff.

The original seller ring gave a ‘free appraisal’ for $9700.00. It’s a pretty standard solitaire ring with a GIA-graded diamond and nothing much else. It was about as mainstream as you could get..

The client’s expectation was a simple calculation. The original cost of the ring plus ten years worth of inflation. ($9700 plus inflation for 10 years.) Assuming appreciation at 10%/year, $9700 in 2013 would come to about $25,000 now. Cool!

Unfortunately, that’s not how it works.

(Video) Are Lab Grown Diamonds WORTH IT in 2023?? 💎 (UPDATED)

Factors Affecting the Value of a Natural Diamonds Over Time

Even with Natural Diamonds, calculating the Present Market Value of an object purchased a decade ago isn’t as simple as taking the value at time of purchase plus inflation over the time period.

Here’s why:

Usual and Customary MarketPlace

That initial appraisal was an estimate of how much it would cost to replace the piece of jewelry with another like it in the case of a loss, at retail, new, and in the ‘usual and customary marketplace’. (Mostly, that means a specialty jewelry store in the local area, in this case.)

This is a big world. There are lots of jewelers. The tricky part is deciding what is ‘reasonable’. That’s why the value conclusion on replacement appraisals is typically more than the transaction price, even when it’s at the same stores. In this example, $1500 more than the transaction. The idea is that the appraisal covers most stores.

New Versus Used

Like everything else, ‘new’ and ‘used’ are importantly different issues. Just because a fancy store can get $8300 for a piece new doesn’t mean that YOU can. In fact, you almost certainly can’t. But that’s for new. What about used?

Assuming you don’t happen to own a jewelry store, you’re probably going to sell your used piece of jewelry to a professional buyer. Even if you can sell the piece to one of your friends or relatives and get all the money, that’s not the ‘usual and customary market.’

‘Usual and customary’ for a second-hand diamond ring is a dealer who trades in this sort of thing locally. A pawnshop. An antique store. One of those guys on the side of the road with spinning signs that say ‘we buy gold and diamonds’. (Hint: None of these pay retail. Get an independent appraisal.)

Used Engagement Rings

The new ring imagined above contains a lot of value elements that don’t apply after it’s purchased, like a new vehicle. People don’t like used engagement rings, for example. It’s a symbolic thing.

That means the labor to set the diamond becomes labor to remove it. Sales tax and shipping are gone and you’ll never get it back. That new GIA lab report and shipping are going to come off the top.

Even in near mint condition, the pawn shop is only going to give you the weight of gold for the mounting. They’re almost certainly going to take the gemstone(s) out and sell them separately, after updating the report. The mounting is going to go in the melting pot.

The Actual Cost of the Piece Includes More Than the Diamond

The actual cost of the ring in question when it was new was really $7200—not $9700 or even $8314. This is the actual cost of the labor, the ‘free’ appraisal, sales taxes, etc., that were used in making the piece, in addition to a Natural Diamond with a GIA lab report. The client originally paid $8314 for all of this.

For those curious, that leaves $1,114.00 as gross profit… the jewelry that crafted the piece still needs to pay for electricity and food and marketing. This is all to say that the diamonds and gemstones are only a part of the cost.

(Video) 5 Reason Why I LOVE Lab Diamonds I list their Best benefits, up next 5 things I hate about Labs.

Liquidation Value

The buyer is doing this for money. They’re going to have about $300 in direct costs in order to make a used piece saleable (assuming it’s undamaged. It may be more,) and they’re going to want to pay about half… about $3400, because they plan on making money on this deal. Maybe less than they originally intended.

That’s going to be the 2013 orderly liquidation value, or at least close to it.

Why is it So Hard to Sell Lab-Grown Diamonds in 2023? (2)

The Actual 2023 Appraised Value

What about the 2023 value of the ring imagined above? Using the same sorts of math and even the same general sources, current expected resale for a decently skilled shopper on that diamond is about $3900.* Retail new on the piece would be about $9,000, plus tax/shipping/setting/appraising, etc. Call it $10,000.00.

The 2013 Appraised Value Versus the 2023 Appraised Value of a Natural Diamond

Remember, at the beginning of this, our client originally bought the ring for $8314.00 in 2013.

The seller of the same ring included a ‘free’ appraisal for $9500—1200 more than the actual price to allow for “reasonable variations and usual and customary market place estimates.”

Based on this information, the client originally expected the value of the ring (based on the appraisal) to grow to $25,000 by 2023 at 10% growth per year. However, the actual 2023 appraised value comes in at $10,000.

That means, in this example, a ring with a Natural Diamond purchased for $8,300 in 2013 appraised at just around $10,000 in 2023.

Viewed as an investment, that’s a loss of 50% over 10 years not counting carrying costs like insurance, repairs and storage. That doesn’t make it a bad buy—people buy diamonds for completely different reasons—but that’s a dreadful ROI if you’re thinking of it as an investment.*

What About Lab-Grown Diamonds as a Store of Value?

Lab-Grown Diamonds (LGDs) have most of the same issues as their natural cousins, but with one important difference: The market value is declining, not rising. Put more bluntly, Lab-Grown Diamonds are perishable, which makes them hard to sell after their prime.

(Video) Lab Grown Diamonds vs Natural: RESALE VALUE -Is there really Zero Resale Value. Watch to find out!

In the above story, the Natural Diamond went UP over 10 years. It wasn’t the story the customer expected, but it still went up. Most of the apparent decline over time was on the first day, like with most retail purchases, but the gemstones themselves do retain some value.

Lab-Grown Diamonds are a Product of Technology

The value of LGDs is going down. It’s a tech product and those always go down.In the last year, most LGDs have dropped by more than half. Some by a fair amount more.

Think of the resale value of your iPhone 3 that cost $500 new, and you may have stood in line for several days to buy. The moment the iPhone 4 was released the resale value of your iPhone 3 dropped sharply. Then the iPhone 5 came out several years later and the resale value of your 3 dropped to nothing at all.

It is the same with LGDs. Lab-Grown Diamonds are literally grown from electricity. Every time there is a technological advancement in, say, power production, it becomes easier to gather the volts necessary to grow said diamonds.

That causes some important changes in the market. The dealers buying for you need to hedge for the future. The Lab-Grown Diamond may be worth $3000 to them today—but it’s likely to take a while before they can sell it. The market price of LGDs will likely drop with the next technological advancement, and they have no idea how much or how fast.

The Sellers of LGDs are aware of this. They want to sell their current stock of LGDs as fast as possible to hedge the likelihood of the market price dropping while they’re holding their inventory, just like Best Buy wants to sell its newest shipment of computers before Intel or Apple design a faster machine.

Lack of Familiarity Amongst Resellers

The next unique issue to selling lab-grown diamonds is familiarity—or lack of it.

Most secondary market dealers, like pawn and coin shops, have been in the diamond business for a long time. It’s a major piece of their businesses and they know how it works. They’ve done this deal before. A lot of them sell more diamonds than the jewelry stores do.

Lab-Grown Diamonds are a new proposition. They’ve only been a serious product since about 2010. Before that, they were a scientific curiosity. Even telling the difference between natural and lab-grown diamonds can be a challenge for those unfamiliar with the process. (Yes, it is possible, even easy, with the right equipment. Word to the wise: It would be foolhardy to try to sell a lab-grown diamond as a natural one.)

The value of LGDs is still in flux for resellers. What is going to be popular and how fast they’ll sell isn’t firmly known. Employees don’t understand them and, frankly, the advertising contains a LOT of baloney. That means more risk, and more risk means paying lower prices. This means that the traditional resellers of natural diamonds are hesitant to do the same for labs.

Reputational Damage

Lastly, there’s the reputational damage this can cause. As reasonable as it is to explain to people who will read an essay like this, the reality is that nearly everyone is upset when they learn that the new ring with the LGD they paid $10,000 for last year is only going to bring them $1,000 on resale, and that it’s going to be hard to sell at that.

Now let’s say we’re talking about the same store or one that’s been there for decades. Buyers of expensive new jewelry don’t want to hear excuses. They wanted money for an asset that gained in value (not lost most of it,) so they just storm out thinking the store, and the industry, are all a bunch of crooks. The store not only doesn’t get the buy, they lose a customer in the process, and potentially a bad review. Lose/lose.


The simple solution for the original retail sellers of jewelry is to not buy used lab-grown diamonds from the public at all. It’s not worth it. Don’t bid, and just blame it on the home office policy or something. Let the pawnshop take the slings and arrows.

Why is it So Hard to Sell Lab-Grown Diamonds?

The reason it’s hard to sell Lab-Grown diamonds in 2023 is pretty simple: They are a product of technology, and with each technological advancement, their value goes down, less-expensive products are continually introduced into the market. And, as a product of technology, they are pretty new—Lab-Grown Diamonds have only been commercially viable since about 2010. With an expectation of declining value along with unfamiliarity with the product makes it hard for the traditional resellers of diamonds to get their footing.

While Lab-Grown diamonds are considered a more ethical source of diamonds overall, they lose their value almost instantly, and are expected to continue to do so for quite some time. So LGDs are a wonderful symbol, they aren’t the best store of value.*

*No part of this publication should be construed as an appraisal, valuation, or financial advice.All figures are used for educational purposes only.

Why is it So Hard to Sell Lab-Grown Diamonds in 2023? (3)

Do You Need A Jewelry Appraisal in Denver, Colorado?

Why is it So Hard to Sell Lab-Grown Diamonds in 2023? (4)

The American Gem Registry provides a variety of jewelry appraisal services in Denver, Colorado:

  • Gem and Jewelry Appraisals
  • Estate Evaluations
  • Expert Witness
  • Pre-Custom Consultation
  • Re-Cut Consultation
  • Damage Consultation
  • Restoration Evaluation
  • Fair-Market Value Appraisals
  • Insurance Appraisals

If you have any questions, please call during my normal business hours at the number below. Or, you can schedule your Jewelry Appraisal Appointment online today!

(Video) Should you buy a Lab Grown Diamond? The truth about Lab Diamonds. Natural vs Lab Diamond Face Off!


Will diamond prices go down in 2023? ›

Prices will dip to start the year, then stabilize.

Last year ended with diamond prices in a slump, and the first quarter of 2023 will continue downward. This will present a buying opportunity for those coping with stubbornly high inflation in other areas.

Are lab-grown diamonds going down in value? ›

The price of a 3-carat lab-grown diamond has dropped by more than half between Q1 2021 ($20,565) and Q1 2023 ($9,305). “You are starting to hear some retailers come out and say they are less motivated to sell lab-grown because the prices continue to fall. That is happening,” Zimnisky said.

What is the future of lab-grown diamonds? ›

The global lab grown diamond market was valued at US$22.45 billion in 2022. The market value is forecasted to grow to US$37.32 billion by 2028.

Are diamonds a good investment in 2023? ›

In 2023 gemstones, like diamonds, are reliable investments because their value is less at the mercy of the economy; if you invest in a rare gemstone or diamond, there'll always be someone willing to buy it for a good price, recession or no recession.

What diamond shape is in trend for 2023? ›

The classic round cut diamond remains the most popular diamond shape of 2023. This classic shape is the most versatile and timeless shape, making it a great choice for any occasion.

How much will diamonds cost in 2023? ›

Updated Saturday, April 1, 2023, diamond prices moved LOWER by an average of 1.0% in March 2023.
207.9 1.0.
Weight RangeAvg. Price/Carat
0.51 to 0.99 ct.$3,283
1.00 to 1.49 ct.$5,196
1.50 to 1.99 ct.$7,033
2.00 to 2.99 ct.$8,767
4 more rows
Apr 1, 2023

Why are people against lab-grown diamonds? ›

As outlined, we believe that lab-grown diamonds may not be a good financial choice because they may not retain value in the future. We also think they lack the romance and allure of natural diamonds while not necessarily providing any environmental benefits (this is still up for debate).

What is the downfall to lab diamonds? ›

Lab Diamond Cons

Lab-made diamonds aren't as rare as natural diamonds, so their value depreciates over time. This will impact resale value if you want to sell your jewelry in the future.

Is there a demand for lab-grown diamonds? ›

The global lab grown diamonds market size was valued at $22.3 billion in 2021, and is projected to reach $55.6 billion by 2031, growing at a CAGR of 9.8% from 2022 to 2031.

Are Millennials buying lab-grown diamonds? ›

Are millennials buying lab diamonds? Yes, the trend is shifting, and concerns like climate change have led to millennials switching to lab diamonds. According to research, 70% of millennials opt for a lab-grown diamond.

What time of year are diamonds cheaper? ›

The best time of the year to make a diamond purchase includes Black Friday sales. This is around the Thanksgiving holiday when many stores and websites offer big discounts. This Black Friday is an excellent time to buy the best diamond at a great price.

What percentage of diamonds sold are lab-grown? ›

Key insights. Lab-grown diamonds accounted for 10 percent of diamond jewellery sales in 2022, up from just 2 percent in 2018.

What will be the price of diamond in 2025? ›

Diamond's Long Term Price Prediction
YearsAvg PriceHighest Price
7 more rows

What are the next trends for 2023? ›

Trends such as knee-high splits, geometric cut-outs and sheer fabrics all lends themselves perfectly to a sultry skin moment, whereas for the inevitable open-air soirée, amping up the drama is easy with a 1970s It-girl-inspired hooded gown.

What are the main trends for 2023? ›

Look to this shoppable spring 2023 trend guide for an inside look at what our editors are shopping now and most excited about.
  • Skirt Suits But Make it Fashion. ...
  • Everyday Preciousness. ...
  • Extra Baggage. ...
  • Perfectly Imperfect. ...
  • Short n Sweet Jackets. ...
  • Buttoned Up Shirting. ...
  • Modern Boho. ...
  • Blazers Become Cinched.
Apr 5, 2023

What are the key color trends for 2023? ›

Digital Lavender, Luscious Red, Sundial, Tranquil Blue and Verdigris are the color names for 2023. Who chooses the names of the new colors? Names are selected by the WGSN and Coloro color team, before being verified by our in-house Equality Vision Team to ensure a proper translation on a global scale.

Are diamonds worth more now than 10 years ago? ›

In general, diamonds do not increase significantly in value over time. Outside of a small number of rare or colored diamonds, the vast majority of diamonds have decreased slightly in value over the last few years, making them a poor investment from a price appreciation perspective.

Why are lab-grown diamonds still expensive? ›

Because the technology used to create lab-grown diamonds is still relatively new, not as many companies are producing them as there are companies mining natural diamonds. This limited supply can drive up the price of lab-grown diamonds, making them more expensive than natural diamonds.

What time of year are diamonds most expensive? ›

While diamonds will be at their most expensive during the late fall and early winter and are rarely discounted, many jewelry sellers offer sales on the cost of the setting during Black Friday, Cyber Monday if you're buying online, and other traditional holiday sales periods.

Can you resell a lab-grown diamond? ›

Most jewelers will not buy lab-grown diamonds, but it's possible to resell lab-grown diamonds to third parties or individuals where lab-grown diamonds are in high demand. While you won't get 100% of your money back, you will get significantly more than the small amount some retailers would offer.

Will lab-grown diamonds pass a diamond tester? ›

Will Lab Diamonds Pass A Diamond Tester? Yes, lab diamonds have the same carbon composition as natural diamonds. Therefore, they have the same thermal conductivity. The test results are positive when exposed to the diamond tester, since the diamonds have the same physical and chemical properties as natural diamonds.

Why don't lab diamonds sparkle? ›

In such a case, they lose their shine due to overexposure to UV light. One reason why lab-created diamonds don't lose their shine or get faded and cloudy with time is that they are created by a process called HPHT. This refers to high-pressure high-temperature. The other process is CVD, chemical vapor deposition.

What celebrities buy lab-grown diamonds? ›

Actress Zoe Kravitz has also worn lab grown gems to the Met Ball. Lady Gaga, Billy Porter and Penelope Cruz are just some of the names who have worn the stones to walk the red carpet.

Which country buys the most lab-grown diamonds? ›

Today, China makes 56 per cent of the world's gem-quality lab-grown diamonds, outpacing India in second place, according to a report from South China Morning Post.

Can a jeweler tell the difference between lab-grown diamond? ›

Can a Jeweler Tell That a Diamond is Lab Grown? No, a jeweler cannot tell the difference between an Ada diamond and a natural diamond.

Will diamonds ever go up in value? ›

The short answer is that most diamonds do not appreciate in value over time. Only an extremely small category of diamonds increase in value, which we will discuss later. There is a widespread misconception that diamonds are rare and become more valuable over time.

Will diamonds go up in value? ›

The rarity of perfect stones allows the diamond to increase in value more rapidly–both because of inflation and because of the high demand and limited supply of perfect stones. Imperfect stones and those showing considerable flaws are not nearly as rare and valued, nor are they likely to appreciate much over time.

How much should one pay for an engagement ring? ›

General Rule: You should spend at least 2 months salary on the engagement ring. If, for example, you are making $60,000 per year, you should spend $10,000 on the engagement ring.

Who is the biggest producer lab diamonds? ›

Starting. Stone Lab Grown Diamonds are the largest producers and manufacturers of Lab grown diamonds . Our Lab Grown Diamonds are IGI and GCAL certified. This means that the lab grown diamonds produced by us have the same physical, chemical, and optical characteristics as natural diamonds.

Do jewelers make more money on lab-grown diamonds? ›

Many traditional jewelers tell customers that Lab Created Diamonds have absolutely no value, but this could not be further from the truth. Most Earth-Mined Diamonds have resale value, and most Lab Created Diamonds will have a similar resale value, as well.

How do jewelers know if a diamond is lab created? ›

Both natural diamonds and lab diamonds can be inscribed. But lab diamonds have distinct laser inscriptions that identify them as lab-made. Jewelers can view this inscription through their loupes or microscopes. This is the best way to tell a lab diamond without sending it off for testing.

How big a diamond will $10,000 buy? ›

Typically, a $10,000 budget can allow you to buy a diamond between 0.75 carats and 2 carats. If you opt for a 0.75-carat stone, it measures about 5.7 mm. Meanwhile, the 2-carat diamond measures about 8.1 mm.

Do all lab-grown diamonds have serial numbers? ›

Most lab-produced diamonds have an inscribed serial number that can be seen under a microscope. Also, a good indicator is that man-made diamonds are flawless, while less than . 5 percent of natural diamonds are so classified.

How much diamond is left? ›

Worldwide reserves are estimated to be some 1.2 billion carats. Russia has the largest reserves, estimated at some 650 million carats.

How much will diamonds cost in 2025? ›

Diamond's Long Term Price Prediction
YearsAvg PriceHighest Price
7 more rows

What is the diamond industry outlook for 2023? ›

New York, April 17, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The Global Diamond Market size is expected to be worth around USD 140.1 billion by 2032 from USD 98.3 Billion in 2023, growing at a CAGR of 3.7% during the forecast period 2023 to 2032.

Is now a good time to buy diamonds? ›

Both rare and commercial-grade diamonds are fantastic investments in 2022. Whether you choose to buy a diamond engagement ring or invest in rare diamonds, you won't regret the decision. Unlike silver or gold, all diamonds are unique. They come in different clarity levels, cuts, and sizes.

What percentage of diamonds sold are lab grown? ›

Key insights. Lab-grown diamonds accounted for 10 percent of diamond jewellery sales in 2022, up from just 2 percent in 2018.

Do diamonds get more valuable with age? ›

Diamonds increase in value over time and don't offer short-term results. In fact, like other physical commodities, the price of diamonds fluctuates from time to time. The second mistake people often make is to pay too much. The first rule of investing is buying low and selling high.

Why is moissanite better than diamond? ›

Moissanite disperses light very well and has higher light refraction than Diamond and will appear more brilliant. Additionally, Moissanite is less likely to attract grease or dirt over time than a Diamond due to its crystalline structure which should help keep the 'sparkle' longer between cleanings.

How much is a 1 carat diamond worth resale? ›

On average, the retail price for one carat diamonds can be anywhere between $2,000 to $16,000, and between $8,000 to $72,000 for two carat diamonds .

Why is diamond resale value so low? ›

That's because the retail price would include brand premiums and business overheads. And when you sell a diamond ring, most buyers don't care about the cost of manufacturing, air-conditioning, salary, insurance or shipping expenses that go into operating a business.

What is the best diamond to invest in? ›

According to a well known diamond trade organization the ideal diamond for investment is a Round Brilliant from 1.01 to 1.49 carat, D-H in color and from IF (internally flawless) to VS2 (very slightly included) clarity.


1. Are lab-grown diamonds worth anything? EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW about RESALE VALUE
(Christine Jewellers)
2. Lab Grown Diamonds vs Natural Diamonds: Resale Value Explained
(Lab Diamonds Review)
3. HUGE Lab Grown Diamond SMASHES World Record!
4. Diamonds, Lab diamonds, Lab-grown diamond, Synthetic diamonds, Treated diamonds, 5 tips to buy
5. Laboratory Grown Diamonds – Screening Challenges - Guy Borenstein
6. DON’T Buy a Lab Diamond Until You Watch This | Natural vs Lab Grown Real Difference Explained
(By Bonnie Jewelry)


Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Sen. Ignacio Ratke

Last Updated: 06/03/2023

Views: 5371

Rating: 4.6 / 5 (56 voted)

Reviews: 87% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Sen. Ignacio Ratke

Birthday: 1999-05-27

Address: Apt. 171 8116 Bailey Via, Roberthaven, GA 58289

Phone: +2585395768220

Job: Lead Liaison

Hobby: Lockpicking, LARPing, Lego building, Lapidary, Macrame, Book restoration, Bodybuilding

Introduction: My name is Sen. Ignacio Ratke, I am a adventurous, zealous, outstanding, agreeable, precious, excited, gifted person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.