What Is A Lab Grown Diamond?
A lab diamond is a diamond that is created in a laboratory rather than formed naturally in the earth over billions of years, then mined. There are lots of other names for diamonds created in a lab such as “cultured” or “man-made” but for ease and clarity most jewellers will refer to them as Lab Diamonds, as will I during this article.
Lab diamonds are created using one of two methods: high-pressure high-temperature (HPHT) or chemical vapour deposition (CVD). In the HPHT process, a small diamond seed is placed in a machine that simulates the high pressures and temperatures that exist deep underground, where natural diamonds form. The seed is then coated with layers of carbon, which crystallises into a diamond. In the CVD process, a substrate is placed in a vacuum chamber and exposed to a mixture of gases that contain carbon. The carbon atoms then bond to the substrate, forming a diamond.
Have you ever heard of a lab diamond before? You may wonder what they are? A lab diamond, also known as a synthetic diamond. Lab diamonds are manmade diamonds. They are created during a manufacturing process in a lab. There is no difference in a lab diamond and natural diamond, chemically and physically. They have the same exact qualities. The only difference between them is how they are formed.
You may be wondering how lab diamonds are formed. They are formed the exact same way as a natural diamond but just in a controlled environment. Lab diamonds are made from carbon seed of natural diamonds. So firstly, they are formed in a lab. But they are made by simulating how a natural diamond is made. The lab re-creates the same conditions that is needed for real diamonds to grow. They use a unique technique called deposition process. This is where the diamond undergoes intense heat and pressure to allow that diamond to grow in the lab.
A natural diamond is a solid form of carbon, also known as graphite. The atoms are arranged in a crystal structure called diamond cubic. There are many different colours that diamonds can come in naturally.
Now let’s talk about how natural diamonds are formed. Diamonds have been formed for over 3 billion years. They grow down in the crust of the earth. They are formed by the earth’s extreme heat and pressure. Which causes carbon atoms to crystallise, this then makes the diamond. Expansion makes magma erupt which forces the diamond to come up to earth’s surface. Taking it to the surface with bearing rocks. The diamonds are then mined and extracted; ready to be turned into jewellery.
Have you ever wanted to know how diamonds get their colour? Almost all naturally coloured diamonds are made when trace elements interact with carbon atoms during a diamond’s formation. The chemical elements nitrogen, sulphur and boron makes the colours in the diamond. They come in the shades of yellow, green, and blue. Trace elements have not been found in pink diamonds.
How do Lab Diamonds And Natural Diamonds compare?
We get asked a lot if you can tell the difference between lab grown diamonds and mined ones, and the straight answer is no. There aren’t many differences between lab grown diamonds and natural diamonds, they are chemically, physically, and visually identical. The main reason they differ is the creation process. Lab diamonds take anywhere up to 10 weeks to form whereas natural diamonds take between 1 billion and 3.3 billion years to form and then must be mined still.
We are also asked about the durability of lab diamonds, are lab diamonds as durable as natural mined diamonds? Yes, Lab diamonds are chemically and physically the same as natural diamonds meaning they are just as durable too. They are just as strong and just as sparkly making them the perfect substitute or alternative for a natural diamond.
What Is The Difference?
The difference between a lab diamond and a natural diamond is natural diamonds have small amounts of nitrogen in them. Whereas lab diamonds have no nitrogen in them at all!
Natural diamonds are formed in the earth’s crust for billions of years. This is from pressure and heat. While this process is then re-created in the lab, to form lab diamonds.
But physically and chemically they are both the same. They are both equally gorgeous and sparkly.
Why Are Lab Grown Diamonds Priced Differently Than Naturally Occurring Diamonds?
This is simply because of the time it takes to create a lab diamond. A quicker turn around time results in a more cost-effective process and result. Natural diamonds have to go through the process of being mined, this takes a long time and involves many different people resulting in a time consuming and expensive process to get results. Lab diamonds are easier to create, passing through less hands in the process, and are more accessible because of this. Despite the pricing difference they are still identical to natural diamonds and are certified under the same conditions and categories. The difference in pricing often allows people the option of going for bigger diamonds, creating more options for their dream engagement ring. Higher quality lab diamonds become easily accessible at different price points creating more room to explore different carat and clarity options within any budget.
Lab diamonds are usually around 30% less than a natural diamond in price. But this really depends on the size and quality of the diamond. But both have the same luxury feel to them. And look absolutely beautiful on.
Which Diamond Is More Ethical?
As a result of the different procurement process, lab grown diamonds are more ethical and sustainable. Lab diamonds do not contribute to the environmental destruction and human rights abuse that is often associated with mining diamonds. They are also typically less expensive than naturally occurring diamonds, making them a more affordable option for consumers. Many people worried about the use of unsustainable materials will opt for lab grown diamonds rather than the finite alternative of a natural diamond.
Out of the two a lab diamond is more ethical and is better for the planet.
As sustainability is becoming a bigger priority into today’s society. You might wonder how ecological diamond mining is.
What makes lab diamonds more ethical you may ask? Lab diamonds are more sustainable because they do not cause the same amount of environmental damage. With lab diamonds there is no mining involved. We are not mining into the earth. Mining requires removing the earth. Which then destroys our fresh water and causes fossil fuels.
So, if you are looking to go greener. You should consider lab grown diamonds, for more eco-friendly jewellery. Still have that glamour and glitz with a lab diamond. But environmentally friendly for the earth.
Pros and Cons:
After reading the information on lab diamonds and natural diamonds, you are probably questioning on what one to go with. Here is a breakdown on each type of diamond, and the pros and cons they have.
Lab Diamonds -
Lab grown diamonds can cost up 30% less than a natural diamond. This means you are getting the same quality diamond for much less.
No mining needed to create these diamonds. Meaning this is better for the environment. Causing less climate change.
You can have unique shaped diamonds. This is because the labs can grow unique shaped diamonds.
Lots of energy is required to run these labs to create these diamonds. Because of the pressure and heat needed to make the diamonds.
They are mass produced diamonds. This means they are not unique and special, like a natural diamond would be.
Natural Diamonds -
One of a kind diamonds and unique. As no two grow the same.
The value increases over time.
Modern mining has been reduced to 37% less energy used. Which is better for the environment.
More expensive than lab diamonds.
The mining causes more damage to the planet. Which causes climate change and is less ethical.
After this breakdown of the different types of diamonds, hopefully this helps to make a decision when choosing the right type of diamond for you.
What Diamond Shapes Can You Grow In The Lab?
It grow a variety of different lab diamond shapes. Some of them are:
Also, the lab can grow all sorts of unique shapes of diamond if that is what you want. These are just the traditional shapes diamonds come in.
Lab Diamond Certification
Lab diamonds are certified under the same categories as any other diamond, meaning you could get a lab diamond with the same characteristics as another mined diamond, for a lower price. Many people use this reasoning to get higher quality lab grown diamonds in their jewellery or engagement rings, or bigger diamonds, that they may not have been able to get when purchasing a natural diamond. this allows them to stay within their budget while still meeting their wants. We predominately use IGI certified lab diamonds as they are a leading diamond grading laboratory, however upon a customer’s request we can arrange a preferred grading laboratory. Contact us if this is a preference of yours.