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A Comprehensive Guide to Laboratory-Grown Diamonds - your ultimate resource for making informed diamond purchasing decisions.

A Comprehensive Guide to Laboratory-Grown Diamonds - your ultimate resource for making informed diamond purchasing decisions.

Laboratory-grown diamonds, also known as lab-created diamonds, or man-made diamonds, are capturing an increasingly significant share of the gemstone market. Their growing availability, superior quality, and diverse colour options at competitive prices are driving their popularity. This article delves into the world of laboratory-grown diamonds, exploring their origins, production methods, identification, and evaluation.

Monroe Yorke Diamonds specialises in crafting exquisite diamond engagement rings using the highest quality lab-grown diamonds. Our focus on premium lab-grown diamonds allows us to offer sustainable and responsibly sourced options without compromising on brilliance or beauty.

 

Understanding Laboratory-Grown Diamonds

Laboratory-grown diamonds are real diamonds, chemically, physically and optically identical to their naturally mined counterparts. They share the same hardness, brilliance, and fire, exhibiting the same crystal structure and composed of tightly-bonded carbon atoms. The primary distinction lies in their origin. Natural diamonds take millions of years to form deep within the Earth's mantle, while laboratory-grown diamonds are created in controlled laboratory environments in a matter of weeks or months.

The chemical structure of diamond which is composed of tightly bonded carbon atoms.  Tight covalent bonds between carbon atoms

Laboratory-grown diamonds can be likened to ice from your refrigerator, while natural diamonds are akin to ice from a glacier. Despite both being ice, their distinct formation stories and age set them apart.

Natural diamonds were formed millions to billions of years ago in Earth's mantle before being explosively brought to the surface by kimberlite and lamproite volcanoes. These diamonds often contain fascinating inclusions within them. On the other hand, laboratory-grown diamonds have the same appearance as natural diamonds but require testing by advanced instruments in a laboratory to be identified.

Timeline of Laboratory-Grown Diamonds


1950s: In 1952, Union Carbide produced the first Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD) diamonds. Soon after, others began producing diamonds using the high pressure, high temperature (HPHT) method. Initially, these diamonds were mainly used for industrial purposes such as in telecommunications, laser optics, and as abrasives.

1970s: Researchers at General Electric successfully created gem-quality laboratory-grown diamonds. They possessed sufficient clarity and size to be used in jewellery. In 1971, GIA scientists published the first scientific study on laboratory-grown diamonds.

Mid-1980s: Manufacturers started growing commercial quantities of gem-quality laboratory-grown diamond crystals. Initially, these lab-created diamonds were mostly small and had a yellowish or brownish colour. However, their quality improved over the following decades.

2000s: The chemical-vapor deposition (CVD) method was used to create gem-quality diamonds with lower pressures and temperatures compared to the HPHT method.

Mid-2010s: Commercial quantities of colourless laboratory-grown diamonds became available in the jewellery market. Both the HPHT and CVD methods continue to be popular for producing laboratory-grown diamonds.

Journey of a Laboratory-Grown Diamond

The creation of laboratory-grown diamonds involves two primary methods:

  1. High Pressure, High Temperature (HPHT): This method replicates the conditions under which natural diamonds form deep within the Earth's mantle. A small carbon seed is placed in a chamber filled with graphite and subjected to extreme temperatures and pressures, causing the carbon atoms to arrange themselves into the diamond lattice structure.

    HPHT diamond growth transpires at pressures ranging from 5–6 GPa (approximately equivalent to the pressure exerted by a commercial jet airplane when balanced on the tip of a person's finger) and temperatures ranging from 1300–1600°C.

  2. Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD): This method facilitates the cultivation of laboratory-grown diamonds through controlled conditions of moderate temperatures (700°C to 1300°C) and lower pressures. Carbon-containing gas is introduced into a vacuum chamber where it gradually deposits onto a diamond seed, leading to the crystallization of a laboratory-grown diamond. The size of the resulting diamond is determined by the duration of the growth process.

Different growth methods result in various diamond crystal shapes. Pictured here are a CVD (left), HPHT (middle), and natural diamond crystal (right)

Different growth methods result in various diamond crystal shapes. Pictured here are a CVD (left), HPHT (middle), and natural diamond crystal (right). The CVD diamond exhibits non-diamond carbon edges due to the growth process, while the natural octahedral diamond showcases etch marks known as trigons.


Identifying Laboratory-Grown Diamonds

Distinguishing laboratory-grown diamonds from naturally mined diamonds requires advanced testing in a gemological laboratory. Scientists and graders employ sophisticated instruments to analyze the diamond's strain patterns, trace element composition, inclusions, fluorescence, and phosphorescence. These characteristics differ due to the vastly different formation processes of natural and laboratory-grown diamonds.

 

Evaluation and Certification

GIA and IGI, two leading gemological laboratories, evaluate laboratory-grown diamonds using the 4Cs: carat, colour, clarity, and cut. Their graders apply the same meticulous standards to laboratory-grown diamonds as they do to natural diamonds. The GIA and IGI Laboratory-Grown Diamond Report provides detailed colour and clarity specifications, offering consumers precise information to make informed decisions. The report also includes a plot of the stone's clarity characteristics and discloses the diamond's growth method (HPHT or CVD) and any post-growth treatments. Additionally, the report number and a statement identifying the diamond as laboratory-grown are laser-inscribed on the diamond's girdle for added consumer protection.

 

Conclusion

Laboratory-grown diamonds are rapidly gaining recognition as a sustainable, ethical, and affordable alternative to natural diamonds. Their production process is environmentally friendly, labor practices are ethical, and their prices are more accessible to a wider range of consumers. As technology advances, laboratory-grown diamonds are expected to continue their ascent, revolutionizing the gemstone industry.

 View our range of Lab Grown Diamond Engagement Rings 

View our range of Lab Grown Diamond Ear Studs

View our range of Lab Grown Diamond Earrings

View our range of Lab Grown Diamond Tennis Bracelets 

View our range of Lab Grown Diamond Pendants 


Angel - 4.00 Carat Oval Cut Lab Grown Diamond Solitaire Ring

Love - 2.00 Carat Lab Grown Diamond Ring in a Solitaire setting

Love - 2.00 Carat Diamond Ring - Ideal Cut Lab Grown Diamond Ring

Arielle - 2 & 3 Carat Princess Cut Lab Grown Diamond Ring. Luxury & Sophistication

 

Clover - Make a Statement. 4.0 Carat Round Diamond. Lab Grown


Chelsea - Lab Grown Diamond Studs Earrings with Halo. Total 1.30 & 2.40 Carats 

 

Madison IGI Cert Princess Cut Lab Grown Diamond Ear Studs E VS2 - Total 1.00 Carats

 




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