What do you know about them?
Frequently Asked Questions
What are lab-grown diamonds?
Lab-grown diamonds are diamonds grown in a controlled laboratory environment.
Are lab-grown diamonds real diamonds?
Yes, lab-grown diamonds are REAL diamonds! Both grown and mined diamonds are pure crystallized carbon with the exact chemical, physical, and optical properties. Being made-up of the identical material, both grown and mined diamonds are graded on the same scale; using the 4 C's - Carat (i.e. weight) Clarity, Color and Cut.
The SOLE difference between lab-grown diamonds and earth-mined diamonds is their point of origin (i.e. where they came from); one is grown in a lab, while the other is extracted from the earth. Here's an analogy we love to use! Ice is formed in nature when water vapor or liquid water becomes solid by freezing at temperatures below 0 °C. Ice is also formed by placing liquid water into your freezer where the temperature is below 0 °C. Now, would you say that ice from your freezer is fake, imitation ice while ice formed in nature is real ice? We bet you wouldn't! Just as in this case, ice is ice, so too diamond is diamond.
If lab-grown diamonds are real diamonds, why is it important to differentiate them?
In short, it is a matter of integrity, which is important for your protection. "In the United States, the Federal Trade Commission requires that any gem material produced in a laboratory be described in a way that leaves no doubt that it was not produced naturally. It is considered to be a deceptive practice if a synthetic gem material’s origin is not clearly disclosed throughout the distribution channel at the time of sale, from the manufacturer to the consumer". |source: https://www.gia.edu/gem-synthetic|
We know It's easy to feel lost and confused as you'll often find a myriad of synonymous descriptions for lab-grown diamonds; such as, created diamonds, grown diamonds, above ground diamonds, cultured diamonds, man-made diamonds, manufactured diamonds, simulated diamonds and synthetic diamonds. If you need guidance, don't hesitate to contact us. We're always happy to help.
How are lab-grown diamonds made?
Currently, there are two processes through which lab-grown diamonds are made; CVD (chemical vapor deposition) and HPHT (high pressure, high temperature). With the CVD technique, a tiny slice of either natural or lab-created diamond (called a seed) is put into a plasma reactor chamber where a mix of carbon-rich gasses are added at very low pressure. Microwaves are then introduced to heat the gasses and generate plasma. As the temperature climbs over several thousand degrees, the gas molecules break apart, making way for carbon atoms to bond to the seed one layer at a time.
HPHT (the more commonly used technique), mimics the conditions under which diamonds are formed in the earth's crust. The seed is placed in a high-pressure mechanical press under extreme temperatures. The seed acts as a guide for the lattice of carbon (that will soon become the diamond) to grow layer by layer within a matter of days until the desired carat weight is achieved.
Why were lab-grown diamonds created in the first place?
Their production was marked by a need for them in industrial applications outside of the jewelry industry such as in the making of abrasive powders. The first gem quality diamond was created in 1954 by General Electric under a project codenamed “Project Superpressure.”
Should I invest in a lab-grown diamond over a mined diamond?
Depending on who you ask, you'll get different opinions on this. I must say, thank you for asking us! We pride ourselves in being as unbiased as possible as we think such a decision should be entirely one of personal choice. However, we will point you to the facts you'll need to make an informed choice.
Point #1 Economies of scale:
A laboratory-grown diamond of the same grade as an earth-mined diamond will cost you less. Why? Firstly, because a lab-grown diamond lacks intrinsic rarity. Simply put, lab diamonds can be produced within a matter of weeks and as a result, they can be produced in volume while it takes at least 1 billion years for a diamond to be formed in the earth's crust. Secondly, production cost! While it does cost money to grow diamonds, the cost to mine them is significantly higher; as such, the cost of natural diamonds to you, the consumer, is also higher.
Point #2 Environmental and social impact:
250 tonnes of soil must be dug from the earth to produce 1 carat of gem-quality diamond. Irresponsible diamond mining has caused entire ecosystems to collapse as rivers have been drained and/or diverted in the pursuit of diamond ore. The mining industry has been plagued with human rights violations from killings to sexual violence and war crimes. The laboratory process of growing diamonds compares favorably to that of mined diamonds as it does not involve the destruction of the earth nor does it carry a negative social impact.
Point #3 Resale value and perceived value:
The resale value of a lab-grown diamond is uncertain as compared to that of a natural diamond as natural diamonds have retained their value over centuries. Then, there is perception-based value, which should always be considered especially when purchasing an engagement ring or an important gift. If you are unsure about whether your wife-to-be or your giftee will be accepting of a lab-created diamond, you may want to err on the side of caution and opt for natural diamonds.
How can I tell if a diamond is lab-grown or natural?
A lab-grown diamond can only be identified by a gemologist using expensive laboratory equipment. Even a trained gemologist cannot identify a lab-grown diamond just through examination under a microscope. However, an easy way of identifying a lab-grown diamond is by looking at the diamond under a microscope for the laser inscription "lab-grown". Only certified diamonds are inscribed. It will be very difficult to locate the inscription when the stone is set in a piece of jewelry as it may be covered by metal.