Lab Grown Diamonds, also known as man-made or synthetic diamonds, were first produced in the 1950s for industrial purposes (enhanced cutting blades for construction and mining). It wasn’t until the 1990’s that lab grown diamonds were created for luxury purposes, focusing on the diamond melee industry (small diamonds used for jewelry). All lab grown diamonds are Type II (nearly pure carbon). With today’s technology, lab grown diamonds can be created in D color, flawless clarity, and can size up to 10 carats, something that was not achievable just a few years ago!
There are two methods to create lab grown diamonds;
- High Pressure High Temperature (HPHT)
- Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD)
The HPHT method simply mimics the environment deep within the Earth in order to break and reassemble carbon atoms from a rich carbon source (such as Graphite) into the unique atomic structure that form a diamond. The cost of this method is high and requires special equipment to reach temperatures of 1300-1600 Celsius and pressures over 870,000 pounds per square inch! The growth time takes roughly a week. It is important to note that HPHT lab grown diamonds are NOT the same as HPHT natural diamonds. Please click here to read more about HPHT natural diamonds.
The CVD method uses a multi-phase diamond growth process. A tiny diamond seed is placed within the chamber. A hydrocarbon vapor is then dispensed into the vacuumed chamber at a temperature between 900-1200 Celsius. Once the conditions are met, a microwave beam causes the carbon atoms in the vapor to precipitate onto the diamond seed and grow the diamond crystal. Every few days the process is halted to allow the removal of carbon atoms that have not crystalized into a diamond (normally black or brown growths on the surface of the diamond). Once removed, the diamond crystals are inserted back into the chamber and the process is repeated. This process takes place for 3-4 weeks until the desired size is achieved.
Even though lab grown diamonds are identical to Earth mined diamonds, there are slight appearance distinctions between them:
- Uneven color distribution
- Unique Fluorescence colors and patterns that are not even
- Growth strain patterns
- Metals present within the diamond (Natural diamonds do not have metals)
Phosphorescence occasionally present (continuation of light glows after illumination)
Lab Grown diamonds are a great choice for those looking for a more affordable diamond. With so many options to choose from, we understand that the decision can be confusing! Let us help you make the best decision, so you can decide what diamond is best for you.