Tip for Nebraska guys yet to shop – diamond alternatives

December 23, 2018 GMT

LINCOLN - It is getting mighty close to December 25th and guys in Nebraska know exactly what their best girl wants – something that sparkles in a velvet box. If the wallet is a bit thin there is a great option for guys on a budget. Sally Morrison is with Lightbox Jewelry and says diamonds can now be lab grown in a very short period of time.

Morrison says, “Lab grown diamonds share the optical, chemical and physical properties of natural diamonds. The difference is natural diamonds occur in the earth. They were made there billions of years ago. Lab grown diamonds by contrast are literally made in a laboratory and that takes about two weeks.”

The process starts with a real diamond wafer that goes into a machine. It is brought up to intense heat and then bombarded with atoms and kept at low pressure. Slowly the crystal grows. At the end of two weeks there is about a carat of rock that is cut and polished the same way natural diamonds are processed.

Morrison says, “They are absolutely real diamonds. The only difference, and it is obviously an important difference, but the only difference is the way they were made. Most people will not be able to tell the difference. These are diamonds. They sparkle in the same way. They are actually spectacular. They look great.”

Now the price difference. A one-carat stone costs about $800 compared to thousands for a natural diamond. That does not include the setting. Lab created diamonds come in several colors, white, pink and blue. Retailers say customer demand is surging.