Diamonds elevate any piece of jewelry from pretty to gorgeous, and have always been the height of luxury. Now, diamonds come in two varieties: natural, from stone that has long been compressed in the ground, and lab-grown, which look just as great but can be made in weeks and cost much less.
Lab-grown diamonds are made by using a technological process to heat a diamond seed to around 800 degrees so it grows layer by layer into a rough diamond stone over the course of a few weeks, depending on the size and quality of the stone. Lab-grown diamonds are cut from the rough stone by the same experienced and professional diamond cutters and are indistinguishable from natural diamonds unless an expert examines them with very sophisticated equipment. Don’t confuse them with cubic zirconia, which is just glass. Lab-grown diamonds and natural diamonds have the same properties and look the same as earth-mined diamonds.
Avrumi Gross of Teaneck has been a wholesale diamond dealer his whole adult life, like his father before him, selling wholesale loose diamonds to stores and jewelry to individuals. When he learned about lab-grown diamonds, he saw a tremendous opportunity for any customer. “I was skeptical at first, but when I inspected the stones myself and studied the process, I was so impressed, I couldn’t believe it,” he said. “I couldn’t tell the difference between the lab-grown and natural diamonds. They are even certified by a well known, recognized laboratory for color and quality, just like natural diamonds.”
Customers who might have chosen smaller or fewer diamonds in their pieces can now increase the size and quality of the diamonds they buy. The value of diamonds fluctuates, but generally, people don’t buy diamond jewelry as an investment anymore, Gross noted. They buy for an occasion like a birthday or anniversary, and they’re looking for the most beautiful piece they can afford. He makes high-end jewelry and even engagement rings with lab diamonds but emphasized that the kallah must know in advance and agree to getting a lab-grown diamond.
Gross is expanding his custom-made jewelry business. The internet makes it easy for anyone to order a custom piece of jewelry to their specifications. “To design a piece of jewelry, all I need is a picture, and we make a model out of it,” he said. A customer can search the internet or magazines for examples of what she is looking for and send the photos to Gross. He works with others who design it on the computer, make a model and cast the setting.
A professional setter puts in the diamonds. Gross inspects all the stones himself. “My experience allows me to have the confidence to choose the best ones.”
Lab-grown diamonds are cut and polished like natural diamonds, often by machine so they come out perfectly matched every time. You can get lab-grown diamonds in similar shapes, cut and quality to natural diamonds.
Gross recently made a diamond eternity band for a client who always wanted one. When she learned about lab-grown diamonds, and how much less expensive they were, she went to Gross to have the ring made. Shelly* knew what she wanted and told him the size and shape. “He executed it perfectly,” she told me. “I had some pictures but he got it right away. The process was smooth and it was a great experience.”
Kayla’s* husband wanted to get her a diamond necklace for their 10th anniversary and suggested that she investigate lab-grown diamonds. After doing the research, she decided lab-grown diamonds were the right choice, and she asked Gross to make her necklace.
Kayla knew what she wanted: a large diamond in the center with small accent diamonds around it so that it looked like a flower with petals. She wanted it set on a chain known as Diamonds by the Yard, with the smaller diamonds an inch-and-a-half apart. She showed photos to Gross and explained her concept so that the final product would be exactly as she envisioned. She has followed the progress of the necklace by seeing it take shape at each stage of the process.
“I’m a visual person and not creative—my field is finance—so this was a little out of my comfort zone,” she said. “I had some anxiety in the beginning but working with Avrumi put me at ease. He figured out the sizes of the stones and the ratios so that it looked like a flower and not just a diamond with a halo around it. Avrumi knows exactly how diamonds work and the sizing ratios.
We met a few times to hash out the design and look at different sizes.”
Kayla wanted to see what the necklace would look like before being finalized. Gross showed her how the large center diamond would look with accent diamonds of different sizes. He showed it to her with 12-point diamonds, then with 20-point diamonds and last with 30-point diamonds. They decided the smaller diamonds really made the center diamond stand out in all its magnificence. When they were satisfied with the ratios, Gross had a computer-generated image made and then cast a mold. They put the diamonds in for a realistic look.
“It was magical to see,” said Kayla. “We had been talking about it for so long and then in a few weeks I could see it. Seeing the diamonds in the right position made it feel very real, even though the necklace is not yet finished. It’s stunning.”
Gross made the whole project come together in a way that made Kayla comfortable. “I felt like he held my hand the entire time, Visualizing it for me was key to knowing that I was getting what I wanted and I would be happy with it.”
Gross makes all kinds of jewelry—rings, necklaces, bracelets, eternity bands, tennis necklaces and earrings—in any setting. Customers can request yellow gold, white gold, or platinum. If you want a custom piece of jewelry as a gift for a special occasion, or want to treat yourself, call Avrumi Gross at 201/321-5014 or email [email protected] and make an appointment.
Give your granddaughter a pair of 14-carat diamond stud earrings for a graduation present. Buy a tennis bracelet with much larger stones than you dreamed possible. Consider a ring with a 2-carat lab-grown diamond.
After you meet and make final decisions, Gross will have your fabulous new piece of jewelry in approximately one to three weeks. Your smile will sparkle like a diamond.