The most frequent question we hear is "Is a lab diamond a real diamond?" The answer is yes!.
The only thing that makes a laboratory diamond different from a natural diamond is its origin. A laboratory diamond is "manufactured" with state-of-the-art technology that mimics the circumstances under which a natural diamond is formed. Resulting in a 100% real diamond, with the same chemical, physical and optical characteristics as those diamonds that are created in the depths of the earth.
Sometimes laboratory diamonds are erroneously named "synthetic", referring to something "false", when in reality a laboratory diamond is completely the same as one created by nature.
How is a laboratory diamond created?
Before understanding how a lab diamond is created, it is important to understand how nature creates diamonds. The processes of creating laboratory diamonds are extremely similar - only that they occur within a laboratory facility.
Geologists claim that diamonds were created deep within the Earth 3 billion years ago. The process begins with carbon dioxide buried more than 100 miles below the earth's surface.
Carbon dioxide is exposed to temperatures in excess of 2,200 degrees Fahrenheit, in addition to withstanding extreme pressure of more than 727.00 pounds per square inch. These diamonds are pushed to the surface through volcanic activity.
Lab diamonds can currently be created by 2 different methods. HPHT (High Pressure - High Temperature) and CVD (Chemical Vapor Deposition).
Diamonds created by HPHT start with a small diamond “seed” that is placed inside a carbon carbon rod. These elements are exposed to temperatures above 1500 degrees Celsius and pressurized to approximately 1.5 million pounds per square inch.
The pure carbon rod begins to adhere and fuse with the seed diamond, resulting in an authentic diamond with all its characteristics.
A CVD-created diamond also begins with a diamond seed, which is generally an HPHT diamond. This seed is placed inside a chamber filled with carbon-rich gas, such as Methane, among other gases. The gases are ionized in plasma using a technology similar to microwaves or lasers. The ionization breaks with the molecular structure and the pure carbon begins to adhere to the diamond seed until it slowly crystallizes.
How are laboratory diamonds certified?
Lab diamonds are graded using the exact same process that is used for mined diamonds. The 4 C's.
The diamonds are sent to a gemological laboratory specialized in the classification of diamonds. Most of these institutes use the 4 C's (Cut, Clarity, Color and Weight).
The most popular gemological institutes are:
Gemological Institute of America (GIA)
Antwerp World Diamond Center (AWDC)
American Gem Society (AGS)
International Gemological Institute (IGI)
Gemological Science International (GSI)
The certification process is practically the same in all institutes. Each diamond is individually evaluated by a specialized gemologist at the institute. All the characteristics of the diamond are analyzed in order to determine its final degree of purity.
This process assigns each diamond a "grade." However, it is very common to get a different "grade" if you re-certify your diamond. Even in the same institute that carried out the initial certification; since the qualities of the diamonds could become slightly different from one gemologist to another.
For this reason, there can be a lot of difference between the opinions of customers, sellers and even gemological institutes on the quality of a diamond. Each gemological institute has its pros and cons. Almost like anything in life.
In Matrimony Rings the most important thing is that you feel comfortable with your purchase, our team is here to help you and you should not be afraid to ask all the questions you need to know which is the best certifying institute for your diamond.
Benefits of laboratory diamonds.
A lab diamond is much cheaper than a mined diamond. This can represent between 30% and 60% cheaper.
Mined diamonds and lab diamonds have almost exactly the same costs when it comes to cutting, polishing, and inspection. However, with the exception of the latter, everything else is very different.
Mined diamonds have a long supply chain. To have a diamond in a jewelry display case, you require miners, dealers, cutting, polishing, jewelry manufacturing, and salespeople.
In laboratory diamonds the chain is much smaller avoiding the mining process. A laboratory diamond goes through far fewer hands, thus making it much more economical.
A few years ago, the diamond industry operated through highly unethical mining and trading methods. These diamonds were often called "conflict diamonds" or "blood diamonds", due to the violence and exploitation of the miners and their families.
Thanks to the 2003 Kimberley Treaty, these unethical practices were significantly reduced. In fact it is estimated that 99% of natural diamonds are now "conflict free".
If avoiding having a conflict diamond is very important to you, a laboratory diamond could bring you assured peace of mind, while in a natural diamond, there will always be doubt.
Friendly with the environment.
As mined diamonds are a natural resource, the extraction of diamonds from the earth has a significant environmental impact. To be honest, diamond mining companies are aware of the impact they have and are trying to minimize the impact this has on the ecosystem.
However, lab diamonds are infinitely less harmful to the environment as it takes considerably less energy to grow a lab diamond, as well as not affecting the earth. In fact, it is of great interest to manufacturers of laboratory diamonds to minimize the energy required for their manufacture in order to reduce expenses and lower their cost.
Lab diamonds vs. Mined.
Lab diamonds continue to gain popularity over the years. If you are a buyer, you are surely going to be asking yourself this question. But the only person who can solve this question is yourself.
A mined diamond undoubtedly has a much greater meaning than a laboratory one since it is an incredible miracle of nature. However, a laboratory diamond may mean for you a "modern love" that is in favor of progress, technology and care for the environment.