- 5 years ago
- Wedding: September 2015
I’ve been lurking for a while and decided it was time to come out of the shadows to give a quick overview of my ering purchasing experience. In my own research, I found firsthand information on D.NEA, lab-grown, and blue diamonds to be very limited, so I hope this may help someone else.
My number one priority was that the diamonds be lab-grown. I’m a bit of a hippie treehugger so mined diamonds were not a consideration for me. I first started looking into lab-grown diamonds several years ago when the technology and production was much more limited than it is today. Back then it was almost impossible to get colorless, gem quality diamonds in any decent size. They were having better success producing colored diamonds, however, primarily in yellow, pink, and blue. I liked blue the best. I also prefered three stone rings over other styles. Recently they’ve made technological advancements in colorless diamond production and those stones are now consistently available in sizes up to about 2 carats. However, I’d pictured the three stone blue diamond ring in my head for so long that I decided to stick with it when it came time to make the purchase.
For anyone who doesn’t know, lab-grown diamonds are chemically, optically, and physically identical to mined diamonds because they are diamonds. The only difference between the two is the location of origin. The same processes that grow diamonds in the ground — carbon subjected to extreme heat and pressure, basically speaking — is replicated in a laboratory environment to produce diamonds. I once read it explained like this: The difference between lab-grown diamonds and mined diamonds is the same as the difference between a rose that grows in a garden and a rose that grows in a field. Both are roses, just growing in different places. There will be people who will always have a preference for mined diamonds and that’s fine, I just wanted to explain that lab-grown diamonds are not simulants. They are sometimes refered to as synthetic, but that is different than simulant (CZ, Asha, Amora, etc.). The blue color occurs the same way it does in nature — Trace amounts of Boron becoming trapped in the crystal lattice as the diamond forms. The diamonds pictured below are not enhanced or altered in any way. (Although, D.NEA does offer some irradiated stones on their website. Info is available on every stone, including whether the color is enhanced or natural.)
To purchase the ring, we dealt with the CEO of D.NEA, Eric. He was fantastic. He was patient with us, timely in his responses, and very willing to send us about a bazillion videos of different diamonds/combinations under different lighting so we could get an idea of what they would look like in person. The most difficult part of the process was finding three matching stones in both the color and size we wanted. Blue diamonds are categorized by color ranging from Light Blue to Fancy Deep Blue with about four categories inbetween. To complicate matters, the color shades vary within each category, meaning the only way to be sure you’re getting matching diamonds is to match them in person. I didn’t want anything too light or too dark, and I wanted the center stone to be about a carat. Unfortunately, they did not have anything listed in their online inventory that met those specifications. I considered going with a smaller center stone and I considered going with colorless instead of blue but, through some stroke of luck Eric said, “Oh wait, we have a 1 carat Fancy Light Blue that isn’t listed.” Perfect. If they don’t have what you’re looking for, ask. They may have it after all.
When it came to matching the side stones we pretty much had to trust Eric’s opinion because we couldn’t see the diamonds in person. (D.NEA is in Michigan, we’re on the east coast.) I told him I wanted the side stones to be roughly half the size of the center, so about half a carat each. He sent us several videos of options but it’s nearly impossible to get an accurate idea of what they look like through a computer screen. Still photos are an even worse representation. Ultimately, we just asked for his recommendation and went with that. It was a bit unnerving to make such an expensive purchase sight-unseen and trusting a stranger to make the decisions for you, but it turned out beautifully. I have no regrets having left it in Eric’s hands and will gladly purchase from him again. I ended up with a 1.00ct Fancy Light Blue VS2 center and the sides are 0.62ct Fancy Blue VS2 and 0.54 Fancy Blue VVS2. All stones match in color to the eye. I went with the Graceful Trellis setting from the D.NEA site.
My advice to anyone looking to purchase lab-grown diamonds: Start early. There are far fewer lab-grown diamonds in the world than mined diamonds, so availability is very limited in comparison. A particular color, size, cut, or matching stones may not be available at any given time and, because there are only a few companies growing diamonds, it’s not as simple as shopping elsewhere. We dragged our feet in getting around to buying the ering and, with only 5 months until the wedding, got very, very lucky that D.NEA was able to scrounge up exactly what I was looking for. D.NEA also offers a lifetime trade up for all of their stones. If they don’t have what you’re looking for in stock, or if you want to buy larger stones as the technology improves in the years to come, they will apply the purchase price of your diamond towards a future purchase.
It was mentioned in just about every blue diamond review I came across and it’s true: Pictures do not do them justice. (Nor did those videos I mentioned earlier.) Blue diamonds have a color range and depth in real life that doesn’t come through in pictures. Even with the color saturation, they sparkle beautifully. A few days ago in the car I had to stop looking at my ring because it was hurting my eyes. Haha. Darker colors, such as the Deep Blues, won’t have as much light return so they’ll sparkle less than the lighter colors. I can’t speak for how those perform in person. Also, the color changes under different lighting. It is at it’s darkest in direct sunlight, a color I would describe as denim. Under low light the diamonds are closer to sky blue. Then there are about a dozen shades inbetween, but it always retains some level of blue.
And now, more pictures of blue diamonds than you ever cared to see.