In recent years, there has been a significant increase in the number of people seeking out diamonds made in a laboratory as an alternative to traditional, mined diamonds.
Diamonds made in a laboratory can go by a few different names including lab made diamonds, lab grown diamonds, lab created diamonds, synthetic diamonds and cultured diamonds.
What is a lab grown diamond?
A lab-grown diamond is a diamond that is created in a laboratory setting using advanced technological processes. The main difference between the a lab grown diamond and a natural diamond is their origin: natural diamonds are mined from the earth, while lab-grown diamonds are created in a controlled environment.
Is a lab grown diamond a real diamond?
Lab grown diamonds are chemically, physically, and optically identical to natural diamonds.
Lab-grown diamonds are made of the same material as natural diamonds: pure carbon that has been subjected to extremely high pressure and temperature. They have the same atomic structure, the same optical and physical properties, and the same hardness and durability as natural diamonds. They are also graded using the same 4Cs (cut, clarity, color, and carat weight) as natural diamonds.
In short, lab-grown diamonds are real diamonds in every sense of the word. They are just created using a different method than natural diamonds.
How are lab grown diamonds made?
There are two main methods used to create lab-grown diamonds: high-pressure high-temperature (HPHT) and chemical vapor deposition (CVD).
HPHT involves recreating the high pressure and high temperature conditions found deep underground, where natural diamonds are formed. The process begins by placing a small seed crystal of diamond, usually about 0.5 millimeters in size, into a metal chamber. The chamber is then pressurized to several million atmospheres, and the temperature is raised to several thousand degrees Celsius using electrical resistance heating or a laser. Under these conditions, the carbon atoms in the seed crystal will rearrange themselves into a diamond lattice, causing the crystal to grow into a full-sized diamond.
CVD involves using a gas mixture to deposit carbon atoms onto a substrate, which eventually crystallize into a diamond. The process begins by heating a substrate, such as a piece of silicon carbide or a thin film of carbon, to a high temperature in a vacuum chamber. A gas mixture containing carbon atoms is then introduced into the chamber. The carbon atoms react with the hot substrate, bonding together to form a thin film of carbon. As more carbon is deposited, the film becomes thicker and begins to crystallize into a diamond.
Both HPHT and CVD can be used to create high-quality lab-grown diamonds that are chemically, physically, and optically identical to natural diamonds. The specific method used may depend on the desired size and quality of the final diamond.
Are lab grown diamonds certified and graded?
Lab-grown diamonds can be certified and graded by professional diamond grading laboratories. These laboratories use the same standards and techniques as they do for natural diamonds to evaluate the quality of lab-grown diamonds.