The Skinny on Diamond DNA

Earth-mined or lab-grown? Diamond experts Saettele Jewelers explain the difference

In its 73 years of existence, Saettele Jewelers has seen trends come and go, but diamonds with DNA rank at the top.

Gary Saettele, co-owner of the business with brother Gus Jr., says lab-grown diamonds and Hearts of Fire Diamonds have been the biggest changes in the past 40 years.

“Cutters used to cut diamonds for weight, because the larger they could keep that rough diamond crystal in its finished product, the more money they can get,” he says.

Then, in the early 1990s, the Hearts of Fire diamond came into being.

“Instead of keeping the diamond weight as heavy as possible, the cutters made it perfect,” he says.

The light entering the diamond bounces off the facets and when exiting, it bursts into brilliance, creating, what Gary says, the “Wow” effect.

“The Hearts on Fire diamond does that, which is why it’s the world’s most perfect diamond,” he says.

The second change which happened in the last two years is lab-grown diamonds.

“Science and technology have now enabled man to grow a diamond that doesn’t need to be mined miles below the earth’s surface,” Gary says.

And where does the DNA enter the picture?

“We take what we call a diamond seed, a molecule that is harvested from a diamond and grown into a diamond crystal,” Gary says.

“Let’s say your husband bought you some beautiful exotic flowers from South America,” he says. “They don’t grow here, but a florist is able to plant seeds in a greenhouse here and they are real flowers.

“These-lab grown diamonds are real diamonds,” he says. “One hundred percent. No white sapphire or cubic zirconia.

“Just like the DNA from a male and female parent in the child at birth, the DNA from the molecular diamond seed is in these diamonds also,” Gary says.

As DNA determines whether a child will be tall or short, blue-eyed or brown-eyed, blonde or brunette, so this diamond DNA determines color and clarity in a diamond.

Just as in earth-mined diamonds, lab-grown diamonds can be rare when it comes to degrees of color and clarity.

However, there is one major difference – price.

“The cost of creating a lab-grown diamond as opposed to an earth-mined diamond is half as much,” Gary says.

“We know that all diamonds have different qualities,” he says. “Diamonds will go in gradation from colorless to light yellow and other colors, and degrees of clarity gradation going from flawless to imperfect.”

Lab-grown diamonds have the same inherent characteristics of the diamond seed because of the DNA. The rarer it is, the higher the cost, so certain lab-grown diamonds, like earth-mined diamonds, are going to be more expensive.

“However, the cost will still be 30, 40 or 50 percent less than the earth-mined diamond of the same quality,” Gary says.

Besides the cost, other factors make lab-grown diamonds attractive to buyers.

“People coming in to buy jewelry care about our future and the earth,” he says.

“They believe that moving a ton of earth just to get a rare rock crystal is expensive and dangerous work,” he says. “Lab-grown diamonds have less carbon emissions, lower water usage, and less waste and energy.”

Besides Hearts of Fire and Pure Grown diamonds, Saettele Jewelers, located in Lamp and Lantern Village in Town and Country, offers a selection of fine jewelry including Simon G, Lagos, and Verragio. They also do repairs and appraisals, and will purchase diamonds and gold jewelry.

Gus Saettele started his business in 1946. Now, his sons, Gary and Gus Jr., carry on the family tradition with Gary’s daughter, Laura, being the third generation.

For more information, call 314.725.8182 or visit www.saettele.com

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