The lovely Danielle Camera from Danielle Camera Jewellery chatted to us about lab-grown diamonds. Danielle is the CEO and Founder of her self-named jewellery line and specialises in semi-fine jewellery and bespoke engagement rings with a focus on locally-made pieces using ethically sourced gemstones and recycled gold and silver. We have found there is growing interest in natural diamond alternatives that have a less invasive impact on the environment. With over a decade of experience in the South African jewellery industry, we asked Danielle a few questions about the lab-grown diamonds.

Tell us a bit about yourself and how Danielle Camera Jewellery started. 

I have an on-going love affair with metal and gemstones that started as a child in my father’s garage. Before I knew anything about jewellery I was trying to make it, soldering iron, hammer and pliers in hand. Fast forward to 2020, I’m still at it and couldn’t be happier.  In 2017 I decided to start my own business. With solid experience, amazing suppliers and industry support, I’m proud to say we’re three years in and the business is growing with fabulous new product and amazing new & old clients.

What is a lab-grown diamond and how does it differ to a mined diamond?

Both are real diamonds. Lab-grown diamonds as the name suggests are grown in laboratories and mined diamonds, let’s call them natural diamonds occur in nature. Both lab-grown and natural diamonds share the same chemical composition and crystal structure. Lab-grown diamonds are approximately 30% less expensive than natural diamonds.

How long does it take to grow a lab-grown diamond?

It takes weeks to grow a lab-grown diamond whereas natural diamonds are between 1-3.3 billion years old. Only 20-30% per cent of diamonds mined are gem quality, meaning they are good enough to be used in jewellery.

Can the naked eye tell the difference between a lab-grown and mined diamond?

No not with the naked eye, but a diamond grading laboratory with trained graders can look for specific types of inclusions that occur in lab-created diamonds. This is why disclosure and certification are so important. When selecting a diamond, especially if you’re buying .50ct and larger, ask to see the diamonds certificate. Both natural and lab-grown diamonds can be certified. They are both graded on the same 4-C’s and the diamond origin can be specified on the certificate to ensure the diamond’s provenance.

Are there any cons/negatives to these guilt-free gems?

Both lab-grown diamonds and natural diamonds have an impact on our environment. Lab-grown diamonds are far less invasive to our natural environment but still produce a carbon footprint whereas natural diamond mining is far more invasive but mines contribute substantially to the upliftment of the communities they mine in and have dynamic programs to lessen their environmental impact. So, as always, there’s a trade-off – as a consumer you need to decide what drives your purchasing behaviour.

What is the difference between lab-grown diamonds and moissanite?

It’s important to clarify that Moissanite is not a diamond, and can be tested with most commercial diamond testers. Moissanite is found in nature but in very small crystals, not large enough to be used in jewellery, so they are lab-created. Lab-grown diamonds and Moissanite are completely different in their chemical composition and crystal structure, however, both are hard, graded on the 4C’s and exhibit a high amount of brilliance and sparkle making them a suitable option for engagement rings.  In terms of value, my money’s on lab-grown diamonds.

What advice would you give to men seeking an engagement ring for their partner (diamond or other stone)? Where should they start?

What’s most important is that you enjoy the process. Diamonds and gemstones are fascinating and the process of creating something so special from scratch can be really fulfilling. Most women will drop hints as to what they like, so pay attention guys as to the style of the ring, the colour of the ring and the shape of the diamond.

Can you tell us some more about the 4 C’s of diamonds?

Diamonds natural and lab-grown are graded by carat weight, cut, colour and clarity. White diamonds with few inclusions are rare and therefore fetch a higher price. Salt & Pepper diamonds have unique, highly visible inclusions and are a wonderful alternative for women looking for a larger diamond with lots of character at a more affordable price. The most important 4C for me is cut. A well-cut diamond will exude maximum sparkle and scintillation.



Danielle Camera Jewellery OUR PERFECT PROFESSIONALS for the month of November. Thanks so much, Danielle for that interesting read! Where can our clients get in touch with you should they wish to know more?

You can browse our selection of natural diamonds, lab-grown diamonds and gemstones on our website www.daniellecamera.co.za, and you’re welcome to get in touch with us to book an engagement ring consultation. We offer both digital and in-house consultations and service clients nationwide.

Click here to view last months Perfect Professionals.