John Cunningham, founder of Valentina Fine Diamonds, has been in the jewellery trade for more than a quarter of a century. Located in the Powerscourt Townhouse Centre, John has seen extraordinary changes across the jewellery business over the last 25 years, and the most significant change he says, is the growing interest in lab-grown diamonds.
“There has certainly been interest in lab diamonds for some time,” says John, “and that has been led by socially and environmentally conscious buyers. But the wider growth we are seeing now is because it is generally accepted that the quality of lab diamonds is every bit as good as mined diamonds.”
“For buyers, there is no visible difference between mined diamonds and lab diamonds,” says John. “That’s because they are chemically and structurally equal in every way. A lab diamond is a diamond. In fact, lab diamonds are almost completely pure which enhances their brilliance. Lab diamonds have a level of purity that’s incredibly rare in mined diamonds.”
Lab diamonds, which are sold at a reduced rate compared to mined diamonds, are experiencing extraordinary sales growth around the world. Consumer sales have more than doubled since 2020 and lab-grown diamonds will likely account for 10 per cent of the global market by the end of 2022.
“The growth we are seeing in lab diamond sales is only possible because the quality is superb,” says John. “And of course, the price point for lab diamonds is very attractive too.”
Starting at less than €2,000 for a 1 carat solitaire, lab diamonds bring large single stone solitaire rings within the reach of most newly engaged couples. And for those with a taste for the unconventional, rough lab diamonds are ideal for creating larger emerald cut and radiant cut diamonds so they do not attract the kind of premium usually seen for these cuts with mined diamonds.
Lab diamonds are genuinely sustainable and environmentally responsible alternatives to traditional mined diamonds. They are equal in beauty to mined diamonds, but they do not require the mines, and there are no uneasy questions about the origin of lab-grown diamonds.
Lab diamonds are diamonds; so they are cut, polished and graded in exactly the same way as mined diamonds. They are also certified by reputable international grading laboratories including the GIA and the IGI. A certificate with the purchase of a lab diamond will have the report number lasered onto the stone.
“We are proud to be a premium supplier of lab diamonds,” says Valentina’s John Cunningham. “And when it comes to making a significant diamond purchase, there is no longer any need for budget to compromise colour or clarity - as it can with mined diamonds. With lab diamonds, buyers can now confidently focus their attention on the beauty of the gemstone.”