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Lab grown diamonds (also known as lab created diamonds, man made diamonds, engineered diamonds, and cultured diamonds) are grown in highly controlled laboratory environments using advanced technological processes that duplicate the conditions under which diamonds naturally develop when they form in the mantle, beneath the Earth’s crust. These lab created diamonds consist of actual carbon atoms arranged in the characteristic diamond crystal structure. Since they are made of the same material as natural diamonds, they exhibit the same optical and chemical properties.
Lab grown diamonds can be made from two processes: HPHT (High Pressure High Temperature) method or the CVD (Chemical Vapor Deposition) method.Request a Qoute
The crafting of each gem deserves all the effort it takes to make it perfect.
The HPHT method is the original method of creating lab-grown diamonds.
To grow an HPHT diamond, a small diamond seed is placed in carbon, the element that diamonds are made of. The diamond seed is exposed to extreme heat and pressure, replicating the way diamonds are naturally grown underground by the earth. The diamond seed is exposed to temperatures of over 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit and pressure of about 1.5 million PSI (pounds per square inch). The carbon melts and forms a diamond around the seed. It is then cooled and the diamond is formed.
The CVD method was created in the 1980s, making it newer than the HPHT method. The CVD method imitates how diamonds form in interstellar gas clouds. The CVD method uses less pressure than the HPHT method as well as smaller machines.
The CVD method places a diamond seed in a vacuum chamber. This chamber becomes filled with carbon-rich gases and is heated to nearly 1500 degrees Fahrenheit. The gas turns into plasma from these extremely high temperatures, causing the release of carbon pieces. These carbon pieces become layered onto the diamond seed, which grows the diamond.
The CVD process produces Type IIA diamonds, which are extremely rare for naturally occurring diamonds. This can help scientists determine if a diamond is lab-grown or earth-grown. Type IIA diamonds are the most chemically pure diamonds – they lack nitrogen and/or boron impurities, unlike HPHT diamonds that are exposed to nitrogen. CVD diamonds are not magnetic like HPHT diamonds can be.
The truth is, to the naked eye, there is no noticeable difference between a lab-grown diamond vs. a real diamond. Unless your jeweler points it out, you won’t tell the difference between the two types of diamonds just by looking at them.
Diamonds manufactured in the lab look and feel like natural diamonds. Like natural diamonds, artificial ones come in different sizes and shapes, and you will be hard-pressed to tell the difference between a crystal that is billions of years old and one that is just a few weeks old.
There is a small difference between the two: natural diamonds usually contain tiny amounts of nitrogen, but this gas is not present in the man-made diamond crystal. However, just like natural diamonds, lab-grown diamonds have a significant carbon makeup.
Structurally, the two types of diamonds have different shapes. But these differences can only be seen under special magnifying equipment that jewelers use. The structural or morphological differences are a result of the growth pattern of each diamond.
You may not tell the difference between an artificial diamond and a real one, but you will notice a significant difference in their prices.
When gem-quality lab diamonds entered the commercial market, their price was over 50% higher than the price of real diamonds. But, this has changed over the years as more and more lab diamonds make their way to the market. Now, lab-grown diamonds are generally cheaper than natural diamonds. It is common to find lab diamonds selling for 30 to 60 % less than the natural ones, despite being of a similar grade.
If you are shopping on a budget, a lab-grown diamond might save you some money. You will get gem-quality diamonds at a fraction of the price of natural diamonds, and no one will tell the difference.
Mining natural diamonds is resource-intensive, and the process can strain the climate and the earth where the mining is taking place. Gem-quality diamond is rare, and up to 1000,000 tons of heavy must be dug up to discover just one carat of gem-quality diamond.
If you are concerned about sustainability, lab diamonds do offer a more sustainable choice. Alternatively, you can opt to purchase your diamond from a jeweler who practices or supports green causes. For example, some jewelers donate a portion of the profits from selling natural diamonds to specific causes supporting sustainability.
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