Lab created diamonds market is growing exponentially and is set to hit over $25 billion in 2025. That means more people are choosing lab created diamonds. Even some major producers of natural diamonds are venturing into the lab-grown diamond.
In short, lab grown diamonds are here to stay for two main reasons:
- They are more sustainable and eco-friendly
- They are less expensive with similar quality to natural diamonds based on a diamond’s 4C’s – carat, clarity, cut, and color.
If you’re planning to buy a piece of lab created diamond jewelry, the blog will help you know everything about it. It will cover:
- How it is made or grown in the lab
- Quality evaluation and whether it is fake or not
- Comparisons with natural diamonds
- Key benefits and where you can buy your favorite lab created diamond jewelry
How Is A Lab Diamond Produced?
Before jumping into how it is made, we should at least know what it is. So, what is a lab grown diamond? It is a high-quality alternative diamond that is ethically sourced, eco-friendly, and customizable to your taste and preference.
Their production has less carbon footprint with less water usage. So it is more sustainable. Also, it is ethical because it doesn’t lead to mineral conflicts or poor working conditions associated with natural blood diamonds.
So, how are the lab grown diamonds produced? They are produced in the lab by mimicking the natural diamond formation process.
Natural diamond formation occurs over millions of years by exposing graphite (carbon compound) to intense heat and pressure. The excess heat and pressure transform the carbon into beautiful sparkling diamond gemstones over time.
The lab grown diamonds follow the same process. However, it takes weeks instead of millions of years. The process follows these steps:
- Placement of graphite, a typical carbon seed material, in a heating chamber.
- A metal flux – is a mix of cobalt, iron, and nickel that helps reduce the temperature required to form a diamond. Put plainly; the flux reduces energy usage.
- The seed material is heated to 1,300 -1,600°C; it can be lower in other methods. Next, it is exposed to a pressure of 59,000 atm. The condition will dissolve the seed material (graphite) into the metal flux leading to crystalization. The crystals are what grow to become diamond gems.
There are two ways of producing diamonds in a lab:
- High Pressure, High Temperature (HPHT) Process: The method uses high temperature and pressure to develop a diamond seed into a diamond gemstone. As a result, it uses more energy to produce the needed conditions for this transformation.
Also, diamonds produced using HPHT have yellow colors that are undesirable. It is a pioneering approach to producing lab grown diamonds in the 1950s.
2. Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD) Process: CVD is a modern approach to growing diamonds in the lab. It uses moderate temperatures (about 800°C) and pressure conditions. As such, it uses less energy than the HPHT process.
Also, it allows you to grow colorless diamonds as it has a vacuum chamber with only carbon seed and hydrogen gas. You can introduce other gases like boron or nitrogen to influence the crystal’s color to be yellow or blue.
So, CVD produces high-quality diamonds that can be cut and crafted into your preferred jewelry size, shape, and design.
Lab-Created Diamond Treatment
Most modern lab created diamonds are produced through the CVD process. However, they still need to be treated to improve their quality. In the past, CVD diamonds had signatures like graining, and fluorescent reactions lowered the clarity and color of the gems.
There are two ways modern CVD eliminates these undesirable signatures:
- Use type II lab created diamond as seed material to improve the color of finished crystals. It also accelerates the process and cuts down time and energy.
- Treating the diamond crystals at a high temperature and pressure to enhance their color
Note that, with the right conditions, you can produce high-quality diamonds that do not require post-growth treatment.
Is A Lab Created Diamond Real or Fake?
Lab created diamonds also last forever. Using naked eyes, you can not differentiate between a lab created diamond and a natural one. The CVD diamonds have excellent quality, and tracing crystal growth elements is only possible through highly advanced spectroscopic systems.
Natural and lab grown diamonds have similar:
- Physical qualities
- Chemical composition.
As such, they go through similar quality grading and certification as natural diamonds. So, you should enquire about the 4C’s of diamond quality and certification when shopping for a piece of lab grown diamond jewelry.
Some of the international diamond grading and certification issuers include:
- Gemological Institue of America (GIA)
- American Gem Society (AGS)
- International Gemological Institute (IGI)
- European Gemological Institute (EGI)
- Gemological Science International (GSI)
Ask for diamond certifications to know and verify whether what you’re being offered is worth the payment.
Lab Grown Diamond vs. Natural Diamonds
The two diamond types vary from price to production time. Look at the key differences and similarities in the table:
|Lab-Grown Diamonds||Natural Diamonds|
|Take weeks to months to produce in the lab||It takes several years to form naturally within the earth’s crust.|
|Transformed from carbon seed||Also, use carbon materials as seed|
|Possible to have mass-production||You only get one-of-kind deposits|
|Has lower resale value||Has higher resale value|
|Customizable to your preferred jewelry design and shape||You can tailor it to your preference|
How You’ll Benefit From A Lab-Created Diamond
Given the extensive control of diamond production environment, you can get even better quality lab created diamonds. But, you will get more than quality. Other benefits of lab grown diamonds include;
- Less expensive per carat than natural diamonds, yet they have the same or better quality
- Ethically sourced – so you can buy them with a clear conscience, knowing you’re not indirectly funding mining conflicts or facilitating inhuman conditions in those mining camps.
- More sustainable. Lab created diamonds use less water and have a lower carbon footprint than natural ones.
So, you’ll promote a healthier planet and get value for your money by choosing a lab created diamond wedding band, ring, stud, etc.
But, everyone has different preferences. The article has covered everything you need to know about the lab created diamond to help you make a better and more informed choice on your jewelry. Happy buying.
Lab created diamonds are undeniably rising because of the moral and ethical values they hold. Regardless of your choice when it comes to diamonds, lab grown diamonds are physically and chemically the same as mined diamonds so you are definitely getting the best value for your money.