Most people are all too familiar with having champagne tastes on a beer budget. But when it comes to diamonds, you may be able to have it both ways.
That's because gem-quality diamonds are now being grown in laboratories in places like Sarasota, Fla., and Boston. Forget cubic zirconia and Moissanite, which are made to pass as diamonds. Lab-grown stones are the real deal. And instead of the millions of years it takes to create natural diamonds, they're grown by man in a matter of days.
"We've essentially recreated the same conditions that occur hundreds of miles below the surface," says David Hellier, president of Gemesis, the Florida company that specializes in growing colored diamonds. "After about four and a half days, we get a three-carat rough diamond. From that day forward, there's no difference between that diamond and one that comes from the ground."