Singapore is an established major player in the global diamond industry. Since it is centrally located in Southeast Asia, the country is strategically positioned as a regional diamond centre sourcing hub in Asia-Pacific. Here, there’s much tighter retail control and sanctions against fraudsters and offenders. Although stringent policies are usually incentives enough to keep businesses honest, it is not a guarantee. For these reasons, it’s no wonder that people who seek out diamond jewellery come to Singapore for a good buy.
In the past few years, lab-grown diamonds have been gaining popularity and credibility enough for big jewellery brands to take notice. In fact, in 2020, diamond giant De Beers launched Lightbox to develop and market lab-grown diamonds. Meanwhile, in Singapore, major players such as Love & Co and SK Jewellery have also added lab-grown diamonds to their jewellery offerings.
If you're considering buying a lab-grown diamond in Singapore, here are a few things to keep in mind. This blog will provide you with useful tips when shopping for lab-grown diamonds, where to find them in Singapore, and how much money you should expect to spend. More importantly, we’ll tell you how to ensure the authenticity of your investment with the help of industry-trusted and state-of-the-art diamond verification instruments and diamond testers.
1. A reputable dealer will provide a certification from a respected laboratory
It's important to choose a reputable dealer that provides a certificate of authenticity, to ensure that you're getting a high-quality diamond. All diamonds, lab-grown and natural alike, come with a certificate of authenticity from established grading laboratories such as GIA, AGS, IGI, and EGL USA. A certification not only tells you whether the diamond is mined or made in a lab, it also gives an accurate assessment of the diamond's clarity, colour, and carat weight.
If you are keen to do an initial testing prior to sending the jewellery to a laboratory for further analysis, we recommend using a reliable diamond tester first. To distinguish Type IIa colourless diamonds from natural Type Ia colourless diamonds, we suggest the Presidium Synthetic Diamond Screener II. The SDS II is a Presidium Diamond Verification Instrument that measures the stones' UV light transmittance. It gives clear and accurate results within two seconds and is suitable for loose and mounted stones with an open-backed setting, as small as 0.02ct.
Meanwhile, if you are looking for reputable jewellery dealers in Singapore, ION Orchard is internationally recognized as one of Asia’s leading shopping malls. It houses at least 20 shops that carry diamond jewellery, mainly along the Jewellery Street section. Several big names in diamonds can be found here, including Harry Winston, Chaumet, Van Cleef, and Tiffany.
2. Prices of lab-grown diamonds are 20% to 40% less than natural diamonds
Lab-grown diamonds have become increasingly popular in recent years as they have the same physical and chemical properties as mined diamonds, but at a fraction of the price. In fact, a lab-grown diamond of the same size and carat as a natural diamond may cost almost half the price. To illustrate, a 1.01 carat natural sells for around US$8,000 while a 1.06 carat lab-grown diamond is only around US$1,700 at James Allen.
To give you an idea of how much a lab-grown diamond ring costs in Singapore, for instance, note that the price range for a natural or mined diamond is from SG$700 to SG$100,000. The most popular are 0.5-1.0 carat diamonds, which are priced anywhere between SG$1,200 and SG$2,000, according to Value Champion.
If you want to do a preliminary test for colourless natural diamonds, CVD/HPHT lab-grown diamonds, and moissanites from D to J colour, then we recommend using ARI. Also a Presidium Diamond Verification Instrument, ARI is a handheld diamond and moissanite screener that can be used for loose and mounted stones alike. ARI can also identify new “low conductivity” moissanites, and distinguish diamond simulants such as colourless sapphire and cubic zirconia.
As a first step, users can test an unknown colourless stone using Presidium Diamond Mate. PDMT-A is an entry level handheld instrument that distinguishes colourless diamonds from diamond simulants based on thermal conductivity. Upon a positive "Diamond" reading, you can then use ARI to test if the stone is a natural diamond, lab-grown CVD/HPHT diamond, or moissanite.
3. Credible jewellery stores usually offer a product warranty policy
Aside from a certificate of authenticity, make sure to ask about the warranty and return policy before making your purchase and to protect your investment. A reputable jeweller usually provides a warranty or guarantee that includes a service or repair clause. With the rising popularity of lab-grown diamonds, many jewellery sellers have extended their warranties to lab-grown diamonds, not just natural diamonds. In most cases, warranties are inbuilt into the purchase. In others, the warranty and/or maintenance plan themselves have to be purchased at additional cost to the customer.
In the meantime, yet another diamond tester that you can use prior to sending your diamond to a lab is the Presidium Multi Tester III. The PMUT III can be used to check if a stone is a diamond or a diamond simulant. It can instantly distinguish natural colourless diamonds as small as 0.02ct and differentiate them from moissanites, cubic zirconia, colourless sapphire, and other diamond simulants based on their thermal and electrical properties.
If it’s credible jewellery stores you are looking for, then visit Orchard Road in Singapore. The area is a veritable treasure trove of upscale retail shops, specialty boutiques, and renowned department stores. Along the 1.6-mile length of this popular boulevard, one can find the country’s top diamond and gemstone retailers alongside international brands like Cartier.
4. You can re-sell lab-grown diamonds, but the resale value is usually low
Lab-grown diamonds are not eligible for resale through traditional diamond retailers or jewellers. However, there are many online marketplaces that specialise in selling lab-grown diamonds, so you should be able to find a buyer if you ever decide to sell your diamond. Moreover, lab-grown diamonds cannot be auctioned, unlike natural mined diamonds.
This is not to say that private individuals cannot resell to other private individuals. A pre-owned lab-grown diamond does have a market, like any other secondhand or “pre-loved” jewellery. Now if you are in the market for pre-owned lab-grown diamonds, be sure to check that what you’re purchasing is not a diamond simulant.
To test your stone, you can use SAM by Presidium, the latest technological advancement in handheld diamond and moissanite testers. It can identify diamonds against a wider range of moissanites, including the new “low conductivity moissanite” and other diamond simulants through its highly sensitive thermoelectric probe. With the industry’s fastest start-up and testing time, SAM only utilises technology that does not compromise user safety and does not require harmful ultraviolet (UV) light.
5. Lab-grown diamonds can be appraised and insured
Lab-grown diamonds can be appraised and insured as protection from loss, theft, or damage. There are many fine jewellery shops that offer an appraisal of the value of their lab-grown diamond. To be sure that your investment can be protected, ask if the store or jeweller offers an appraisal prior to making a purchase. Usually, when an establishment provides appraisals, they also recommend jewellery insurance providers in their network. Start by asking about jewellery or homeowners/renters insurance or related policies.
In the meantime, thermoelectric or thermoelectric diamond testers can help verify if the stone you want to insure is undoubtedly a diamond, whether mined or made in the lab. For that, we recommend Adamas by Presidium, which can detect diamonds, moissanites, and simulants instantly. Admas is used for authenticating colourless diamonds as small as 0.01 carats. An industry forerunner, Adamas is the world’s first diamond and moissanite tester with a replaceable tip, and a micro probe tip.
In our more than 40 years of experience, Presidium has built the expertise and authority to guarantee the reliability of our technology. We are among the forerunners for producing gemological instruments that are widely used in the industry today. We do stress, however, that using a diamond tester is good for initial testing. But for further verification and confirmation, we highly recommend sending the gemstone to a reputable laboratory for further analysis.