What crosses your mind when you think of lab created diamonds vs real diamonds?
When you’re thinking of buying something precious for yourself or to be gifted to someone special, no other item fits the bill as perfectly as diamonds do. This timeless jewellery piece holds special meaning which goes far beyond its dazzling appearance.
Earlier, only the wealthiest people especially those with a royal lineage could afford this rare stone because of its scanty availability. In those days this classic gem represented high status and wealth; but as new inventions started taking place, scientists came out with man-made diamonds which bear all the qualities of mined diamonds.
This discovery made it possible for people to own diamonds at a lesser price than real diamonds.
Consequentially, a large number of people, even the ones belonging to medium income families can now afford to wear diamonds.
Hence, in the present age, diamonds are seen more of a fashion symbol than a sign of one’s financial status.
No matter what benefits these lab created diamonds offer, the appeal of real diamonds stays unaffected as the wealthier people are geared towards buying real diamonds no matter what it costs them.
According to gemologists, you need to have a keen eye to know what attributes are present in lab created and real diamonds. It is not difficult to distinguish real diamond from the one created in a laboratory after conducting an examination under a microscopic
They might be mistakenly called as ‘fake diamonds’ or ‘synthetic diamonds’, lab created diamonds are very close to real diamonds if we study their features closely; it would be wrong to regard them as artificial diamonds. because they are made in conditions that are found in the making of real diamonds.
These diamonds are grown in a prepared laboratory by recreating an environment that mimics the environment in which real diamonds are produced. As a result, lab created diamonds possess similar crystal structure and chemical properties found in naturally created diamonds.
Real diamonds are produced organically under earth’s surface due to volcanic eruptions and other processes that take place inside the earth.
These diamond crystals are formed from pure carbon present beneath earth’s surface after undergoing a change caused by extreme temperatures and pressure.
This specific temperature and pressure that turns carbon into a diamond is termed as ‘diamond stability zone’ found 80 to 120 miles inside the earth. The newly formed diamond crystals rise towards the earth’s surface embedded inside rocks after a series of volcanic eruptions.
The real difference between lab-created diamonds and Real diamonds
The key differences between a lab-created diamond and an organic diamond can only be observed on close inspection with a microscope. Gemologists with decades of experience in studying diamonds can tell the difference after a single glance.
It is important as a consumer to know what differentiates a real diamond from a lab created one, so you don’t end up getting fooled into buying a lab created diamond at the price of an organic diamond.
The main factor that makes the two different from one another is the deviation in their growth morphology which tends to affect their shape, clarity and light reflecting and refraction abilities. Based on these differences both lab created and natural diamonds are graded and priced. However, the scale used to determine these grades differ in both cases.
How are diamonds made?
Traditionally, diamonds were made from carbon present in different forms inside the earth. This carbon gets transformed into crystals after facing high pressure and heat generated within the earth. These hot crystals go towards earth’s surface to cool down and settle inside rocks.
This natural process takes millions of years to make a diamond. Technological advancements led to emergence of man-made diamonds which takes a fraction of time it takes to make a real diamond.
For making lab created diamonds, two processes are utilized; High Pressure High Temperature (HPHT) and Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD).
The first process involves subjecting carbon or its source which can be anything from a piece of granite, cremated remains of a deceased or even your own hair under extreme pressure and temperature in a HPHT machine. Diamond made from this procedure is the closest in its appearance as a real diamond.
The second procedure turns carbon into a diamond with a chemical process called vapor deposition. In this procedure natural hydrocarbon gas is fused with a tiny piece of diamond in a plasma oven which builds diamond atoms. As a result the whole structure becomes bigger in size and when the process is finished it is cut and polished by technicians.
The difference in the presence and size of lab-created diamonds and natural diamonds
Basically both real, as well as lab-created diamonds have certain inclusions which affect their clarity. Since lab-created diamonds are made in metal solutions, metallic inclusions are found in them. However, in case of real diamonds that are formed under perfect conditions are found with no inclusions which means they tend to have more clarity than lab created ones.
Colors of lab created diamonds vs real diamonds
Many color differences are also observed between real and lab created diamonds. Diamonds formed in a laboratory are found to be of white, pink, blue, yellow and green colors.
Some CVD developed diamonds turn out as brown which are then treated to make them colorless. Real diamonds are generally classic white or transparent.
If they do possess certain hues, it might be due to presence of impurities which could be anything from nitrogen to some trace chemicals. These rare diamonds are of yellow, blue or pink hues.
How long do they take to grow?
Real diamonds are formed over a period of 2 to 3 million years which is the main factor behind their huge price. Diamonds created in a lab take around 6 to 10 weeks of time which is the single most reason for their growing popularity.
Are lab created diamonds graded the same as the real diamonds?
The GIA issues special grading reports for natural diamonds as well as for diamonds made in a lab.
According to these reports, real diamonds are graded according to four factors; color, clarity, cut and carat weight. However, for laboratory created diamonds, the authority issues a more general report taking into account the color and clarity of such diamonds. GIA only grades laboratory Diamonds of 0.15 carats and above.
About the Author
Brandon Simons is a jewellery blogger based in London, UK. He is passionate about antique and vintage jewellery and loves to blog about ways to style these rare jewels. He also covers the contemporary jewellery designs while collaborating with industry insiders and designers like hancocks-london.com to get insight on the latest trends.