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Lab-Grown Diamonds Cheaper, More Sustainable Option

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – It's hard to deny the brilliance and beauty of diamonds.

These stunning gems are real and cost far less than you would expect, because they didn't come naturally from the earth.

"It's a new technology for gem quality diamond," said Lisa Bissel, CEO of Pure Grown Diamonds.

Instead of years in the earth, these diamonds form in a matter of weeks in pressurized containers – something not everyone is ready to accept.

"They have all the optical, physical, chemical properties of mined diamonds and they're 100 percent carbon, because they're genuine diamonds," Bissel said.

They're created in a laboratory in Singapore. Genuine diamonds, grown from the same materials as natural ones.

"A small piece of carbon, which is placed in a low pressure microwave chamber, hydrogen and methane gases are added to the chamber and then the miracle begins," said Bissel.

The ultimate result is a high-grade gem, comparable to a natural diamond, costing about 30 percent less. But a stone created in a lab, no matter how brilliant, still takes some getting used to.

"I wed thee, with a lab-grown diamond, it doesn't define the moment, it doesn't adequately portray the emotion," said Reuven Kaufman, President of Diamond Dealers Club of NY.

Even with significant consumer savings, some diamond manufacturers say nothing can replace the real thing.

"You can't afford it, buy a smaller diamond, use a layaway plan, buy a more imperfect diamond," said Kaufman.

But John King of the Gemological Institute says that lab-grown diamonds are essentially the same as natural ones, it's just a matter of educating consumers.

"I believe there's a place in the market for all these different items and it's really through an awareness that people can choose best," said King.

And some jewelers are getting on board.

"Whenever a woman gets a diamond on her finger and her girlfriends say 'that's beautiful,' that's the rate of return," said jeweler Robert Mooreman. "She wants to make her girlfriends jealous."

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