Kotchey said she keeps some lab-grown diamonds in the store to show people what they are. The bulk of her customers want mined diamonds. But about 25% of customers — mostly younger — want more bang for their buck and take the lab-grown option.
Douglas said he doesn't stock lab-grown diamonds, but he will order them upon request for customers.
"The pro is right now, you're going to buy a lab-grown diamond for about half the price of the mined diamond," Douglas said. "The con is I can't tell you what the future value of the lab-grown stone will be. They've already begun to drop quite a bit in the last four years.
"Our policy in the store is if you buy a regular mined diamond from me — as long as I'm in business — if you bring it in I'll give you your full value back for the diamond towards one of greater value," he said. "I can't make that promise on a lab-grown diamond."
Making wise decisions
Melissa Zurick, a 41-year-old social worker, didn't see it coming when her boyfriend Stephen Dudzik got down on one knee and proposed to her in October.
They were on vacation overlooking the Great Smoky Mountains in Tennessee when he presented her with a princess cut 1.2 carat mined diamond.
"I wanted a very unique personalized ring," said Dudzik, 46, of Murrysville. "That's why I went the route of designing it from scratch. I wanted the appropriate size diamond that she deserved and that I could afford."
It will be second marriages for both of them.
Dudzik, an IT professional, said he raised $12,000 to buy the diamond ring from the sale of the home he shared with his ex-wife. He'll use the rest of the money for a home he and Zurick will buy together.