VENTURA, Calif. -Things have changed since Marilyn Monroe sang about diamonds being a girl’s best friend.
Santa Barbara and destination wedding planner Percy Sales said they are also a boy’s best friend.
These days some Valentines and engagement ring shoppers have natural and lab grown diamonds to choose from.
Jewelry Couture sells both.
“I had a customer who picked up his ring this morning a five-carat lab grown diamond in a ring,” said Jewelry Couture owner Shahar Sehati.
While some jewelers are reluctant to sell them, others are meeting the growing demand.
“The demand became more and more and people asked for lab grown diamonds for all different reasons.”
Sehati said his wife was opposed to selling them until she learned he sold 10 lab grown diamonds in the first two weeks of carrying them.
Even though he knows every facet of the business, he has to look closely to see the difference.
He recently compared two of similar size side by side.
The diamond on the right was grown in a lab.
“They are made in a lab by placing seeds in a sophisticated chamber and by melting carbons on the seeds.”
The other is natural.
Natural diamonds are more likely to have imperfections called inclusions or “beauty marks,” and vary in color.
Another big difference is price.
Brides and grooms can go big without breaking the bank.
“The 2.5 [carat natural] one is $24,500. the 2.6 [carat lab grown] one is $ 5,800.” Sehati said.
Couples buying them call lab grown diamonds environmentally friendly.
“The younger generation, that’s eco-friendly, we get our natural diamonds from the right source, not every natural diamond has a bad story behind it.”
Brides and grooms may be reluctant to admit their rocks are lab grown, but wedding planners remind them it is the thought and the love that counts.
“There shouldn’t be any shame if you are buying one or the other,” said Percy Sales, “For me, I am never going to ask what are you wearing, is that lab grown or diamonds I just think it is beautiful. “
Buyers and recipients can always mix and match.
Nataliya Berezovska works in sales at Jewelry Couture and likes the sparkle of both.
“A diamond is a diamond. I’ll take it,” said Berezovska.