Lab Grown Diamonds
What are Lab-Grown Diamonds?
Lab-grown diamonds have been around for a number of decades, originally created and used for industrial purposes. A lab-grown diamond can be created using two methods; the High Pressure High Temperature Treatment and Chemical Vapour Disposition, both commonly referred to as their acronyms HPHT and CVD. Jewellery grade synthetic (lab-grown) diamonds have only been around since the 1990’s as stated in this article produced by the GIA (Gemological Institute of America). The last few years has seen an increased desire from consumers to purchase lab-grown diamonds due to being a more sustainable option and environmentally friendly.
Are Lab-Grown Diamonds The Same as a Natural Diamond?
Natural diamonds have been mined for over four thousand years. They start their journey under the deep within the earth’s mantle over a billion years ago. Diamonds were even around when dinosaurs walked the earth. A natural diamond is created when the element carbon is subjected to tremendous heat and pressure beneath the earth’s surface.
Modern technology aims to replicate the conditions of the earth’s mantle but in a controlled and laboratory environment. Lab-grown diamonds take weeks to make as opposed to years and without the mining conditions and supply chain are a more sustainable and cheaper alternative. A lab-grown diamond is optically, chemically, and physically identical to a natural diamond. However the main difference is the origin journey of the raw diamond.
Why Are Diamonds & Lab-Grown Diamonds Popular?
Originally diamonds were mined and used as tools, way before their true beauty was discovered through cutting. They are one of the most prized and expensive gemstones, with the four major gemstones being diamonds, rubies, sapphires and emeralds.
“Diamonds are a girl’s best friend.” – you may have heard this saying before, and it is very much true! Diamonds became increasingly desirable in the 1950’s, through pop-culture such as the popularity of Marilyn Monroe. She appeared in the very famous film Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, in which she performs the song “Diamonds Are A Girls Best Friend”. Marilyn Monroe performs this song wearing her iconic pink dress whilst covered in large glistening jewellery.
As consumers have become more aware of the environmental and social impact of their fashion and shopping choices, the question of ethics surrounding diamonds has also been raised. The Kimberley Process was created as certification with a mission to reduce the mining and exporting of “Blood Diamonds”. Please visit our article on our ethically sourced diamonds.
Lab-grown diamonds are viewed as an ethically sourced and more sustainable option which is why they have seen a boom in more recent years. As these are created in a laboratory, there is no mining involved and seen as the more environmentally friendly alternative. As well as this, the huge supply chain of a natural mined diamond is removed, thus they are considerably cheaper – meaning you can get more sparkle for your money!
How are Lab-Grown Diamonds Created?
Diamonds are almost entirely made of carbon, which is incredible as carbon in graphite and yet this is incredibly soft! It is the way in which the heat and pressure has transformed this element creating an incredible crystal structure in the diamond that is super strong. A diamonds crystal lattice is cubic and incredibly well structured and strong, whereas a graphite lattice is structurally unsecure.
There are two processes in which a lab-grown diamond can be made, these processes mimic the conditions from deep within the earths mantle. The High Pressure High Temperature process take a diamond slice, known as a diamond seed, and is placed into carbon inside of a machine. This diamond seed is subjected to pressure of 5 GPa which is 730000 psi and heated to around 1500 degrees Celsius. The carbon melts and forms around the diamond seed causing a large synthetic diamond.
The second process is Chemical Vapor Disposition, where a diamond seed is placed in a chamber with a hydrocarbon gas mixture and is then exposed to a temperature of around 800 degrees Celsius. During this process other gases are introduced which are energized and ironised, using powers such as microwave powers or lasers. The diamond seed begins to grow as it crystallises, creating a synthetic diamond.
Are Lab-Grown Diamonds Certified?
Yes, Lab-grown diamonds are indeed certified just like natural diamonds. Lab-grown diamonds are certified by independent bodies such as the IGI and GIA. The GIA have been issuing laboratory grown diamonds with identification reports since 2007. The certificate includes the all important 4 C’s; cut, colour, clarity and carat. The report will also identify which process was used to create the diamond, either stating if it is a HPHT or CVD created diamond.
Learn more about the 4 C’s from our article here.
Lab-Grown Diamond Vs. Natural Diamond
Although a lab-grown diamond is seen as the more sustainable and ethical option compared to a natural diamond, ultimately they are grown in laboratories which use an awful lot of power leaning heavily on fossil fuels for energy. This can lead to a large output of carbon pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. The only way a lab-grown diamond could be seen as categorically the most sustainable option, would be if the laboratory relied solely on hydropower, then the environmental impacts would be far less. The biggest and major selling point of a lab-grown diamond, is the fact that they are considerably cheaper than a natural diamond. Meaning that you can get a lot more for your money, should you wish to have a bigger diamond on a smaller budget. View our range of lab-grown diamond engagement rings here.
As we are becoming more conscious about climate change and environmental factors, leading diamond miners, such as De Beers are making sure that they are committed to becoming carbon neutral. De Beers are the largest diamond company in the world, and they do not take this role lightly and make sure they share their best practices within the industry and encourage others to follow their lead. Another benefit of mining natural diamonds is the number of jobs the industry offers to communities. Botswana in particular has benefited positively economically from diamond mining. Due to the Kimberley Process, you can also be sure that your diamond is not the result of a “Blood Diamond” and has a fully traceable origin. And finally, a natural diamond is a rare and authentic gemstone which will forever hold its unique value, should you choose a natural diamond for your engagement ring.
Whichever diamond you wish to go for, we can absolutely help you find the perfect diamond for your engagement ring. Whether you wish to go for a lab-grown diamond or a natural diamond, we have access to over 1 million certified stones and can be sure to help you find the one for your bespoke engagement ring – which will become a wonderful heirloom for you and your family.