Lab Grown Diamonds
What is a Lab Grown diamond?
Lab grown diamonds are diamonds that have been “grown” in a controlled laboratory setting. They’re comprised of the same chemical components you'll find in natural diamonds (carbon atoms arranged in a specific pattern) but instead of being formed deep in the earth’s crust, lab made diamonds are created in a laboratory. Because lab grown diamonds are chemically the same as natural earth made diamonds, they are virtually indistinguishable in terms of appearance, quality and durability.
Lab grown diamond technology for industrial uses has been around for over 50 years, but within the last decade there have been impressive developments in quality and price, meaning these lab grown stones can now be used in jewelry, too.
What are the benefits of Lab Grown diamonds?
Lab Grown diamonds shine and sparkle just like natural diamonds.
Lab Grown diamonds can be produced in large batches in just a few weeks. This makes Lab Grown diamonds considerably less expensive than natural diamonds of comparable size and quality.
Today, both natural and lab made diamonds are excellent choices for ethical diamonds. For those looking to purchase diamonds that have not been mined, lab made diamonds are a popular choice.
Both lab created and natural diamonds bring incredible sparkle, beauty and durability. Both kinds of diamonds are rated for their qualities, including the 4Cs. Lab grown diamonds bring extra qualities to the table:
- Affordability over earth created diamonds
- Potentially fewer defects with a reduction in certain natural-specific defects
- Chemical and optical qualities identical to earth created diamonds
Lab grown diamonds are available in earrings, necklaces, rings, bracelets and more. To the unaided eye, they look identical to natural diamonds.
Are Lab Grown diamonds real diamonds?
Lab diamonds are real diamonds. They contain the same cubic crystalline form of pure carbon that is also found in natural diamonds. Both natural and lab diamonds offer the same visual and chemical qualities, bringing long-lasting brilliance to any piece of high-quality jewelry.
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What’s the difference between Lab Grown diamonds and natural diamonds?
Both natural and lab grown diamonds are made of pure carbon that is transformed into sparkling crystalline stones. While their chemical foundation gives lab created diamonds the same optical properties as natural diamonds, lab grown diamonds are not as rare as their natural counterparts. Formed over millennia, natural diamonds acquire their scintillating shapes from the pressure of being compacted deep within the earth’s crust. Because of this, all of the natural diamonds that will ever exist have already been created, making them forever rarities. Laboratory grown diamonds, on the other hand, can be produced limitlessly.
How are Lab Grown diamonds made?
The science behind lab created diamonds has advanced in recent years, making it possible for specialized laboratories to create stunning diamonds. It all starts with a seed diamond, which is typically a small lab grown diamond. From there, the seed will either undergo Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD) or High Pressure High Temperature (HPHT) processes to create the completed lab diamond.
In CVD lab diamond creation, the small seed diamond is placed into a plasma reactor chamber where a mixture of carbon-rich gases is added at a low pressure. Then, microwaves are used to heat the gases and generate plasma. As the temperature climbs over several thousand degrees, the gas molecules break apart which makes way for carbon atoms to bond to the seed one layer at a time. As the layers build, the CVD lab creation process produces a complete diamond.
The HPHT method takes another approach to creating diamonds in the laboratory, following a controlled process that mimics the conditions in which diamonds form naturally. HPHT diamonds start with the same seed diamond, but things change from there. With HPHT diamonds, the seed is placed in a large mechanical press along with a carbon starting material. The press applies high pressure coupled with high temperatures, resulting in extreme conditions for the carbon starting material. The material’s carbon soon separates and finds its way to the cooler diamond seed, resulting in new layers of carbon forming to grow the diamond in size. This causes more layers of the diamond to form. The seed diamond acts as a guide for the lattice of carbon that will soon become the completed diamond, guiding the new layers of carbon to form a complete diamond. This lab diamond process is closest to the conditions in which earth created diamonds are formed.
Both CVD and HPHT diamonds can take several weeks or months to be created in a laboratory. The exact amount of time will depend on the diamond’s size, color and additional features.
What Is The Difference Between Lab Grown And Simulated Diamonds?
Unlike lab grown diamonds, simulated diamonds are not diamonds. Diamond simulants such as cubic zirconia and moissanite have different chemical compositions compared to a diamond.
Simulants are made from seed materials like glass or cubic zirconia. This fact makes diamond simulants like moissanite lack the hardness and optical properties of lab grown diamonds. As time goes on, simulants become much more susceptible to wear-and-tear and diminished sparkle. Lab made diamonds, on the other hand, are chemically identical to natural diamonds and offer lasting beauty.
How are Lab Grown diamonds certified and graded?
As with natural diamonds, diamonds made in a lab have the option to receive grading. After being sent to a gem institute that specializes in grading diamonds, lab grown diamonds are graded independently by several of the lab's gemologists. Afterward, the individual grades are compiled and compared to give the lab grown diamond its final grade.
Not all lab grown diamonds are graded. Typically, smaller gems do not get grading, and not all jewelers choose to grade their lab grown diamonds. At Blue Nile, we offer grading for many of our lab created diamonds to bring transparency to the lab grown purchasing process.
Can you tell the difference between Lab Grown diamonds and natural diamonds?
There typically aren’t distinguishable differences between manufactured and natural diamonds, especially when comparing them with the unaided eye. Both lab created and earth created diamonds have the same crystalline carbon structure and offer the same optical qualities.
An expert jeweler may be able to tell the difference between these two kinds of diamonds when looking at their inclusions under magnification. They may have different types of inclusions depending on the diamond’s creation process.
Are Lab Grown diamonds priced differently than natural diamonds?
Unlike the price of natural diamonds, which is determined by a stone’s unique characteristics and rarity, lab grown diamonds can be priced uniformly per carat. Lab grown diamonds also have the benefit of being priced significantly lower than natural diamonds since their production capacity is unlimited.
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