Many customers ask what is the difference?
The two pictures above are both G color VS2 clarity, similar carat weight and cut. If each were in front of you, it would be nearly impossible to tell, but one is a natural diamond, and one was grown in a lab.
What is the Price difference ?
The topic of lab-grown diamonds is a bit of a contentious one. Lab diamonds have drawn a lot of hype, positive and negative, in recent years. Whether to buy lab-created or natural is a question you should, at the very least, pay some consideration to when shopping for a diamond.
There is no question that lab-created diamonds are enticing. After all, you can get a stunning 2ct diamond like this for less than $7,500. And while it will look the same as this gorgeous natural 2ct diamond, will it stand the test of time the way natural diamonds have?
Lab diamonds are different from natural diamonds in that they are artificially created – man-made in a laboratory, instead of naturally produced in the earth, like regular diamonds.
Fundamentally, this is the only difference. Lab diamonds look and feel just like natural diamonds. They’re available in all kinds of shapes and sizes, and if you had a lab diamond and natural diamond in front of you, it would be virtually impossible to tell the difference. They even have almost identical chemical structures.
Despite all the similarities, there is a growing gulf in price, resale value and overall desirability for lab-created diamonds vs. natural diamonds.
Natural diamonds are created by nature, as a result of intense heat and pressure, formed over the course of billions of years. Lab-grown diamonds are created in a laboratory, often produced in just a matter of weeks. There is a tiny chemical difference between the two, as natural diamonds often contain a very small amount of nitrogen, while synthetic diamonds do not. This is the only inherent difference though – even the US Federal Trade Commission, or FTC, classes man-made diamonds as “real” diamonds, due to the gem’s carbon-based chemical makeup.
So how can you tell the difference between a lab diamond and a natural diamond?
There is no visible difference between the two. Even a professional gemologist will need specialized equipment to tell which is which. With magnification, a professional will be able to make out small contrasts in the inclusions of lab-grown vs. mined diamonds.
The best way to tell the difference is to check the diamond’s certification. Jewelers must declare whether a diamond is naturally or synthetically created, so as long as you shop with a reputable store, you will always have this information available. Pay attention to this information, as it will have a significant impact on the price and resale value of your diamond.
Your Diamond's Creation
Your laboratory-grown diamond is chemically identical to every other diamond on earth. However, instead of mined diamonds, which formed beneath the ground billions of years ago, your diamond was grown in controlled laboratory conditions using sophisticated methods of chemical synthesis.
The most modern technology
There are two scientific approaches to diamond creation. The Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD) process releases carbon from plasma. This involves super heating hydrocarbon gas in a vacuum to between 3,000-4,000C, at which point the carbon atoms begin to separate from their molecular bonds. Those atoms descend and land on a flat wafer of previously grown synthetic diamond and grow in vertical layers. This substrate is square for jewelry applications but the shape can vary for other applications in medicine, communications and technology.
The High Pressure High Temperature (HPHT) process replicates the natural conditions under which diamonds formed 100 miles below the surface due to subduction. A carbon source, a diamond seed and a metallic catalyst go into an octahedral cell. The cell is placed into a massive mechanical press where the contents are heated near 1,500 C and subjected to staggering pressure. The melting metal dissolves the carbon and the pressure causes precipitation to the diamond seed, growing a larger diamond. The level of pressure from these immense presses has been compared to what you’d experience if you balanced a jumbo jet on the tip of your finger.
When the growing process has finalized, rough CVD and HPHT crystals are sent to diamond cutting centers to be planned and polished.
Rough to polish
Diamond cutting is the art, skill and science of transforming a raw crystal into a polished, faceted diamond. As the hardest material known to man, cutting and shaping a diamond requires specialized knowledge, tools and skill.
1) Planning: This rough octahedron crystal is studied and its growth directions and inclusions are mapped.
2) Marking: Once the plan is determined, the crystal is marked for primary sawing.
3) Sawing: A carbon-fiber blade coated with diamond-grit makes the first cut. It will take several hours to saw this crystal into two pieces; each of which will become a polished diamond.
4) Bruting: The two pieces spin in opposite directions, grinding against each other to smooth the edges and create a round outline.
5) Polishing: A spinning wheel coated with diamond-grit is used for blocking, crossworking and brillianteering, the process of placing, shaping and smoothing all facets to final polish.
6) Inspection: Once finished, the diamond is thoroughly boiled in acid and examined to ensure that it meets the producer’s expectations and quality standards.
Following the diamond cutting process and prior to being sold loose or mounted into jewelry, diamonds are typically submitted to gemological institutions such as IGI for quality assessment. Four main factors are considered when judging a diamond’s quality and value. They are the diamond’s 4C’s: Carat weight, Color, Clarity and Cut.
IGI screens every diamond using state of the art technologies to determine naturally mined, laboratory grown or simulant origin. Experienced graduate gemologists conduct further assessment in controlled conditions, detailing relevant gemological characteristics according to the strictest international system.
Your diamond is exceptional and distinctive. No two diamonds are alike. Yet all diamonds have certain features in common that allow experts to compare and evaluate them.
The name diamond is derived from the ancient Greek “adamas” meaning unbreakable, untamed and unconquerable. Diamonds have been treasured as gemstones ever since they were discovered. In our modern age the word “diamond” continues to evoke images of elegance, style and glamour.
Diamond sparkles and dazzles. Diamond symbolizes purity and strength. And the story of your diamond is uniquely yours.