What are Lab Grown Diamonds?
Lab grown diamonds are real diamonds created inside a laboratory under a controlled technological process. Some may say this is a synthetic diamond, but it holds the same value and properties found in mined natural diamonds from the earth. If you are looking for fine jewelry or an engagement ring, choosing laboratory grown diamonds is a good option too.
An earth mined diamond, and a lab created diamond have the same sparkle, fire and scintillation. The resemblance is so uncanny that you cannot distinguish one from the other! Lab grown diamonds have been a fad for the past years since many opt to have them more than mined diamonds.
But is a lab diamond a valued option compared to a natural diamond?
A lab created diamond is made inside a laboratory under strenuous processes. With the controlled environment inside a laboratory, scientists and experts create diamonds that share physical and chemical composition as their natural counterparts.
Physically, lab grown diamonds have the same attributes as natural diamonds. These physical attributes like shape, size and color are similar to earth-mined diamonds of the same grade and carat. When it comes to their durability and hardness level, they are also in similar standing.
Lab created diamonds are created in two methods: Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD) and High Pressure High Temperature Diamonds (HPHT).
Are Lab Created Diamonds Real?
Also referred to as cultured or artisan diamonds, these lab grown stones should not be confused with fakes. Though man-made and synthetic, these diamonds are certified and graded by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) and the International Gemological Institute (IGI).
Like mined diamonds, lab diamonds have been graded by GIA since 2007. It was only in 2019, however, when they stopped using the term synthetic in their reports to help elevate the standing of diamonds created in a laboratory. An authentic GIA Laboratory-Grown Diamond Report includes the diamond’s GIA color, clarity, and cut grading scales.
The IGI Laboratory Grown Report contains information about the diamond’s cut, color, carat weight and clarity. With these certifications from experienced gemologists, one can be assured that a certification for a lab grown diamond is just as detailed as a certification for a natural diamond.
Major Difference Between Lab Diamonds and Natural Diamonds
As mentioned earlier, one cannot distinguish a lab diamond from those that are earth mined due to their similar physical attributes. The only way to identify whether the diamond is natural or man-made is to get them tested for chemical properties. While most of their chemical attributes are also the same, there is one key difference.
The key difference between lab diamonds and natural diamonds is the fact that a natural diamond contains traces of nitrogen while a man made diamond does not. Nitrogen atoms are trapped inside the diamond’s crystal lattice while it is being formed naturally. This is the only thing that cannot be replicated in a lab grown diamond. Thus, making it a significant identifier in distinguishing one from the other.
Which One Is Better?
Asking which one is better between lab grown diamonds and earth mined diamonds is a common topic among consumers. Some may downgrade lab grown diamonds as fakes, but that is far from the truth.
Lab grown diamonds are as genuine and certified as natural diamonds are. Diamond prices may vary between lab grown and earth mined pieces. However, a high-end and flawless lab created diamond with a large carat weight and perfect cut can be expensive and rare, too, giving it an edge over a naturally mined diamond of lesser quality.
We cannot say that one is better than the other because both earth mined and lab created diamonds are special in their own right. When choosing a loose diamond or diamond jewelry, always check its certification, cut, color and inclusions. Inclusions that are seen by the naked eye give a lower clarity rating whether it is lab grown or not.
How Are Lab Diamonds Made?
Understanding what lab grown diamonds are and how they are made lets you appreciate and value these man made pieces even more. Lab diamonds are made using two different methods:
Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD)
CVD diamonds are made using the chemical vapor deposition method. In this process, a diamond seed, referred to as the seed crystal, is placed inside a small chamber. Gases are added into the chamber as it is being heated.
After the appropriate temperature is reached, carbon atoms are developed, forming layers of carbon covering the seed crystal. Due to these additional layers, the seed starts to grow, developing into a square diamond shape.
CVD grown diamonds will test as a diamond on newer diamond testers. Happy Jewelers only offers CVD grown lab created diamonds for engagement rings.
High Pressure High Temperature (HPHT)
Diamonds made through the HPHT process follow the earth’s natural way of creating diamonds, albeit faster and more convenient. Through the HPHT process, we don’t have to wait for billions of years and diamond mining to lay hands on these precious stones.
In HPHT, natural graphite is put inside a large machine where it is subjected to extreme temperatures and pressure. Replicating these natural processes that natural graphite experiences result in a diamond.
HPHT grown diamonds will not test as diamond on testers. Diamonds made through the HPHT process will test as moissanite on diamond testers.
So, which method is better?
Both methods are great in their own right. CVD and HPHT produce authentic lab grown diamonds that can be certified and graded by esteemed gemologist institutions.
The 4 Cs of diamonds are applied to the grading system too. Each diamond – whether made through CVD or HPHT – differs in these 4 C’s. Check the grades of the diamonds first to know which is highly valuable and better. If you need to inquire more, do not hesitate to ask us.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Lab Grown Diamonds
Like all gemstones, lab grown diamonds also have pros and cons. Understanding what are lab grown diamonds is not enough. It is better to know what these pros and cons are so that you have a clear understanding of what you are getting:
Diamond prices vary depending on their grade. In general, however, a lab grown diamond is 30 to 50% more affordable than a same grade natural diamond.
Uncanny Resemblance to Natural Diamond
No one can differentiate a lab grown diamond from a natural diamond at a glance. So, if you have that diamond ring on your hand (or any jewelry for that matter), people who know authentic diamonds will believe that you are wearing a natural earth diamond too! Unless they have the piece tested for chemical composition, they won’t be able to tell the difference between lab created diamonds and mined diamonds.Ethical Choice
No diamond mining is involved in the process of making lab grown diamonds. To address the conflicts within the natural diamond market, the Kimberley Process was established in 2003 to provide better transparency in the diamond industry.
Not as Rare as Natural Diamond
What makes a natural diamond a sought-after choice is its rarity. With lab created diamonds, you forego the chance of having a rare piece of jewelry since the gemstone is conveniently grown in a lab.
Lab grown diamond prices do not appreciate given how common they are in the market. That said, it is also possible for lab grown diamond prices to depreciate over the years.
Producing lab grown diamonds requires huge amounts of energy. The CVD method, for example, uses the same amount of energy consumed by a regular home for a month. The HPHT diamond also needs enormous energy to reach and maintain the high heat used in creating it.