MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- With Valentine's Day on Friday, jewelry stores are busy with last-minute shoppers. Diamonds are a popular gift and there's a new trend with this precious gem that could save you thousands of dollars.
Laboratory-made diamonds are now showing up in more jewelry stores and one Minnesota company is making these gems more mainstream.
Joel Sherburne has built his life around jewelry and precious gems. As the owner of Sherburne Jewelers in White Bear Lake, he's found success in one of diamond's newest trends.
Among his displays of impressive jewels are lab-made gems, called Infinity Diamonds.
"Why people buy them now is they can make it more sentimental," Sherburne said.
Scott Shaffer, a science teacher from Andover, is the man behind Infinity Diamonds.
"I've always had an interest in carbon just the different facets of carbon, itself," Shaffer said.
Shaffer realized a 50 million year process could be sped up to just three weeks in a lab setting. After all, a diamond is just pressurized carbon. But by controlling how it's made, Scott realized you could also control how it looks.
"This diamond we make owes its entire existence to you," Shaffer said.
Customers have a say in carat, color and clarity. They can add pictures, phrases, even pieces of their hair to personalize their gemstone.
"We can make a diamond, custom grown, the way you like it and make it for an affordable price," said Shaffer.
In a lab, even the rarest of jewels become an affordable possibility. Shaffer's company created a heart-shaped red diamond, which is very rare if naturally-made.
"If it was natural, it would be $100,000-$200,000. We can make it for a few thousand," Shaffer said.
It's a twist on the traditional gem where the result is a one-of-a-kind stone.
These diamonds are all GIA-certified and conflict-free. Those biggest cost savings is for colored diamonds.
Customers can also save on colorless diamonds, but the savings is usually between 10-25 percent.
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