Lab-Grown vs. Natural Diamonds

Van Scoy Jewelers Owner Caroline Hill Weighs In

Regardless of which side of the fence you are on, it is inevitable that lab-grown diamonds soon will hit the retail market. Synthetic colored gemstones have been in the marketplace for a long time, but recently I have been getting sales calls from manufacturers of lab-grown diamonds. They are not only selling loose diamonds, but also finished jewelry items containing lab-grown diamonds.

In reference to Sunday’s article in the Reading Eagle, , I agree with Justin in that I am not totally opposed to lab-grown diamonds, but education is key.

Proponents of lab-grown diamonds use analogies such as orchids being grown in greenhouses which are still genuine orchids, or a baby conceived by in-vitro fertilization which is still a human baby. Likewise, a diamond grown in a lab is still a diamond!

Point taken, and herein lies the first problem: a lab-grown diamond is a diamond! It has the same physical, optical and chemical properties of a mined natural diamond. It is graded the same as a natural diamond because it contains the same internal characteristics. This makes lab-grown diamonds almost impossible to identify – even by experienced gemologists.

And while they cost less than an equivalent natural diamond, giving people a less expensive alternative, there is the risk that unscrupulous sellers will misrepresent them as natural diamonds. My best advice to the consumer is always the same: Buy from a reputable store with industry credentials.

An October 2016 survey conducted by MVI Marketing, which focuses on consumers of luxury brands, found that “66% of millennials said they would prefer a lab-grown diamond over a mined diamond for several reasons.”

Here at Van Scoy, we currently sell only genuine gemstones with one exception: Alexandrite. This gem is very rare and demands a higher price, so when making family jewelry we do offer the synthetic to our customers as an alternative.

We want to know how you feel.  Would you purchase a lab grown diamond? Please share your opinions.

Jewelry trends for 2017

Inverted Gemstones

Inverting the setting of white diamonds (so the culet points outward) gives the traditional hoop earring an irreverent and cheeky upgrade. They are jewelry equivalent of battle armor that readies you for the day ahead.


Designers have been breathing new life into pearls and incorporating them into funkier, bolder designs. A little beauty secret our mothers and grandmothers knew: the nacre of real pearls is universally flattering for any complexion—it’s like wearing a light diffuser around your face. You just don’t get the same effect with costume jewelry. This funky pearl trend may revive their status as jewelry-box staples.


Layered bangles have become important accents to wrists, completing an entire look. Invest in everyday jewelry that fits your lifestyle and personality like rolling and wave bracelets, and Bakelite bangles set with gemstones in a myriad of mosaics.


The choker trend really gained momentum this past year. It was the perfect complement to all the off-the-shoulder looks. Both bold and dainty designs accentuate the neck as a feminine statement.

1970s Jewelry

Vintage jewelry that is wearable but has weight to it: Chunky gold necklaces, statement pendant necklaces, thick bangles, and animal-themed designs from the 1970s come to mind.

Colored Diamonds

There is steady growth in the sale of colored diamonds, especially pink and yellow stones. The demand for colored stones has been driven by their rarity and beauty as well as increased media attention on high-profile individuals who wear these gems.

Bold Color

People are increasingly realizing that colorful stones are both beautiful and valuable. The growing popularity of color is also influenced by fashion trends. As the consumer’s eye becomes adjusted to bold and possibly clashing textile patterns, so does her eye become adjusted to boldly colored jewelry.


The concept of asymmetry can be seen as subtly as a pair of earrings with reversed stone orientation between left and right, or as boldly as two very different earrings composing a pair. In the past, the latter would have been interpreted as lost half-pairs of earrings rather than an intentional design.

January is for Garnets


Meet the garnet, the birthstone for January and Aquarians. It’s also the official gemstone for the 2nd and 6th wedding anniversaries.
This gorgeous gem is found in every color except blue.
The most popular colors are the ones usually found here at Van Scoy Jewelers. The dark red pyrope garnet shown here is the one most people know, but we also carry a raspberry-colored garnet called rhodolite and a beautiful green garnet that resembles a fine emerald called tsavorite. Check out the photo below.
The other garnets: spessartite, hessonite, demantoid and a color-change garnet, are available by special order.
In early times, garnets were exchanged as gifts between friends to demonstrate their affection for each other and to insure that they will meet again.

Signet rings: What’s old is new


Signet rings have been in existence since before the Bible. From the queens of Egypt to Shakespeare, the rings were worn by those with social standing and land ownership. Ancient signet rings have been found primarily in the Mediterranean region, stretching as far as Nubia, or what is now Sudan.
They were prevalent enough in human culture that they were mentioned in the Bible, and typically were made entirely of gold or featured carved gemstones, or intaglios.


This ring was excavated from Sudan (what was ancient Nubia) in 1923. It is dated to between 40 B.C. – 40 A.D. and features an engraving of two mummied figures in gold. Image courtesy of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

Not Just Another Pretty Piece of Jewelry

Signet rings were once used as a signature would be used today, as a way of leaving your mark on a document in wax or clay and as a way of assuring authenticity. The top of the ring was usually set with a hardstone that had been deeply engraved with a symbol or depiction that was meaningful to the wearer such as coats of arms, monograms, family seals or initials.


This Roman ring is dated from 100 – 200 A.D. It’s made of gold with an onyx intaglio depicting an ant, which was the symbol of Roman goddess Ceres. It is thought to have been intended to bring prosperity to its wearer. Similar styles have been found with bear and bee symbols. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Signet rings were used from ancient times through the early 19th century when the rings became more of a status symbol. The tops of the rings had decoration or engraving and often gems. Even as more people became literate and the use of signet rings as document seals declined, the pieces maintained their popularity.


This ring is a prime example of a signet’s reuse. The Roman intaglio, carved in jasper, dates to the third century CE and was reset in this gold ring design in the 13th century. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Contemporary jewelry designers are rediscovering signet rings

Today’s signet rings aren’t dissimilar to ancient styles. Many embrace the personalized aspect of signet rings, engraving them with customers’ monograms or the initials of their loved ones.

Some designers believe that personalization lends an importance to jewelry that goes beyond accessorizing. The rings connect to a person’s individuality and often give the jewelry an automatic heirloom status. The simple and historic beauty and the tangible link to family also appeals to many because it can capture at least a piece of someone’s story and ideally help to inspire their next chapter.


One designer, Alison Chemla of the brand Alison Lou, has playful, emoji-inspired rings in hefty signet styles that feel as luxurious as they do clever. “Playing with classic jewelry norms is something I do often in my designs,” said Chemla. “I love the history behind (signet rings) and the way that they look; however, instead of using my signet rings as a seal of identification, I’ve made them a seal of your personality.”