Are Lab-Grown Diamonds, Real Diamonds?
One of the most frequent questions we get asked regarding our Lab-grown diamond ring collection. Is are lab-grown diamonds, real diamonds? The answer is yes. Here we will explain what lab-grown diamonds are and how they are created. Our goal is not to convince people that they should buy a diamond or a lab-grown diamond. We believe in offering our customers the choice, based on their budget and ethical stand-points.
WHAT ARE LAB-GROWN DIAMONDS?
Lab-grown diamonds (which have also been referred to as lab-created diamonds, synthetic diamonds, cultivated diamonds) are man made diamonds that mirror natural diamonds. Because they actually consist of carbon atoms structures, lab-grown diamonds display the same chemical and optical characteristics of a natural diamond crystal produced by the geological processes of Mother Nature. The main factor between lab-grown diamonds and earth mined diamonds is timescale. Earth mined diamonds are formed over millions of years and lab-grown diamonds are formed of a period of months. Lab grown diamonds are identical to their natural counterparts in every way, except they are grown in a lab from a diamond seed instead of mined from the earth. Diamonds are made up almost entirely of pure carbon. That's why both lab diamonds and mined diamonds have the exact same physical properties.
DO LAB-GROWN DIAMONDS LOOK THE SAME AS NATURAL DIAMONDS?
Yes. It’s impossible to tell the difference between a lab grown diamond and natural earth mined diamond in a side-by-side comparison. You need special laboratory equipment to be able to differentiate one from the other. That’s because they’re identical in all ways. View the comparison table blow on lab-grown diamonds vs natural earthed mined diamonds.
ARE LAB-GROWN DIAMONDS ETHICAL & SUSTAINABLE?
Lab grown diamonds are sustainable, or environmentally ethical, because they have not been extracted from the ground. Therefore, their production protects the environment instead of threatening it, and guards our natural resources for future generations. Additionally, lab grown diamonds will always be free from conflict because they do not come from mines. This means that they are also socially ethical.
HOW ARE LAB GROWN DIAMONDS MADE?
There are two ways lab created diamonds can be made.
1) A process called HPHT (High pressure, High temperature)
The HPHT diamond formation process begins with a small natural diamond seed that is placed into pure carbon. The diamond seed is then exposed to intense pressure and heat in the same way as if it was formed within the earth (Think of of it like a large pressure cooker)
The carbon melts and a diamond begins to form around the seed. The process can take months to produce diamonds that are 1 carat or larger. The substance is carefully cooled and the end result is a piece of diamond rough.
The rough diamond is then ready to be cut & polished in the exact same way a earth mined rough diamond is processed. The finished diamond stone is then set into jewellery.
2) A process called CVD (Chemical Vapour Deposition)
The CVD diamond formation process begins with a thin slice of diamond seed which is placed in a sealed chamber and heated to around 800 degrees Celsius. The chamber is then filled with a carbon rich gas (usually methane) along with other gases. Then, the gases are ionized into plasma using microwaves, lasers, or other techniques. The ionization breaks the molecular bonds in the gases and the pure carbon adheres to the diamond seed and slowly builds up into a crystal, atom by atom, layer by layer.
The CVD process has a few advantages over the HPHT process. High pressures are not needed, and temperatures, while high, do not need to be anywhere near as high as with HPHT. Also, CVD diamonds can be grown over larger areas by starting with a larger diamond seed plate. Finally, the CVD process allows for a finer control over the environment in the growth chamber and thus the properties of the finished diamond.
If you require any further information regarding Lab grown diamonds, please don't hesitate to contact us and a member of our sales team will answer any questions you may have.