Actions

Lab diamonds vs. real ones: Which is worth your money?

Before you pop the question, how do you figure out the magic number to spend on a ring, and is a lab-created diamond better than a real rock?
A pair of hands holding a diamond ring in jewelry box.
Posted at 7:26 PM, May 13, 2024
and last updated 2024-05-13 20:26:58-04

It's that time: Wedding season is here! Get ready for the romantic first dances, the cake-cutting excitement, and, of course, the potentially cheeky toast from the best man.

But along with all the festivities comes a checklist: dress-hunting, tuxedo-picking, registry-shopping, and, let's not forget, the sparkler that starts it all — engagement rings!

Before you pop the question, how do you figure out the magic number to spend on a ring, and is a lab-created diamond better than a real rock? Scripps News caught up with Ronnie Agami, the president of Universal Diamonds, for some expert advice.

And Agami didn't hold back, giving us a reality check that while love might be priceless, engagement rings definitely come with a price tag.

"If you're going to get engaged, you better be ready to spend some money. If you love somebody, you know, you better show up!" said Agami. "This idea of spending two months' salary, three months' salary [on a ring] — that's a good idea. Because she better not say yes unless he's like, you know, really prepared and buying something nice."

But before emptying your bank account on the perfect ring, Agami advises conducting thorough research. Not only do you want to make sure to talk to your partner about what they like, but also what type of diamonds you want to purchase.

"So the largest difference between natural diamonds and synthetics is the value in the price," said Agami. "So a natural diamond maintains its value or holds its value, whereas a lab-grown diamond, or synthetic, year to year we've seen a 90% drop in price. They're definitely affordable and definitely price-centric, but at the end of the day, with the direction that we're seeing the price going, it could be very, very far down."

But if you're not loaded with money, Agami points out that diamond prices are currently at their lowest in the last 20 years, which means you can get a great deal on a natural diamond and make a solid investment. According to TheKnot.com, the national average cost of an engagement ring is $5,500.

Just remember, before you dive into buying that diamond ring, keep in mind the four C’s of diamonds:

  • Cut: It’s all about the proportion and shape of the diamond.
  • Color: Think about the shade of your sparkler.
  • Clarity: How pure and blemish-free is that bling?
  • Carat: Size matters, so check the weight of your diamond.