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A guide to lab grown diamonds: all you need to know about sustainable engagement rings

In partnership with CARAT* London

Chloe Best

Shoppers have long been advised to look at the four c's – carat, cut, clarity and colour – when buying a diamond engagement ring, but now there is another one to consider; conscience. With environmental issues and sustainability a bigger talking point than ever, the diamond trade has also come under scrutiny, but the future is here in the form of lab grown diamonds. Proving you don't need to disturb the natural environment to create a beautiful diamond, these man-made jewels are a more sustainable and ethical choice to mined diamonds, and you wouldn't know the difference by looking at them.

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Eco-minded celebrities are already choosing to wear lab grown diamonds; the Duchess of Sussex rocked a pair of lab-created diamond earrings on a royal engagement in January 2019, while bride-to-be Bindi Irwin proudly revealed that her fiancé Chandler Powell had paid homage to her environmental work by designing a recycled rose gold engagement ring with a lab grown diamond when he proposed in July. But just what are lab grown diamonds and how are they made? Read on for your need-to-know guide…

What are lab grown diamonds and how are they made?

Lab grown diamonds are man-made jewels grown in highly controlled laboratory environments which mimic the conditions in which diamonds naturally develop beneath the Earth's crust. They have the same physical, chemical and optical properties as mined diamonds, meaning you'll still see that inimitable sparkle and have a beautiful jewel, without any of the negative environmental impact.

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White gold Cordelia ring, from £1850, CARAT* London

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What are the benefits of lab grown diamonds?

Lab grown diamonds are hailed as the future of the jewellery industry, as they are diamonds that don't cost the earth – both literally and figuratively. Not only are they a more sustainable choice, eliminating the need for mining, but they are also generally more affordable than mined diamonds of comparable size and quality. Win-win.

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Bianca ring, from £1,290, CARAT* London

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Where can I buy lab grown diamonds?

Leading the way in this field is CARAT* London, a favourite of everyone from Ellie Goulding to Lady Gaga, whose Gentle Diamonds collection offers over 3,000 certified lab grown diamonds, of which almost 25% are now carbon neutral. Each diamond is accompanied with a unique diamond authentication certificate from the International Gemological Institute, and you'll discover over 100 designs in engagement rings, pendants and earrings in 18k white, yellow and rose gold. Prices start from under £1,800 for a one carat solitaire Caroline engagement ring in 18k white gold – a steal compared to an engagement ring with a mined diamond of a similar size.

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Rose gold Aria ring, from £1500, CARAT* London

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Create a real one-of-a-kind engagement ring with a free consultation at the CARAT* London boutique in Westfield White City London, where you can select your diamond and setting for a one-of-a-kind piece she'll treasure forever. Whether you're inspired by the engagement ring trend of the moment and want a stunning marquise diamond or you're keeping it classic with a timeless solitaire, there's something for everyone. Book your appointment on caratlondon.com.

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