Stop the press! Lab-created / lab grown diamonds are a thing!
We have a lot to thank science for. Life-saving medicines, Dolly the sheep, and now lab-created diamonds! But what are lab-created diamonds exactly? And how do they stack up against diamonds that have been mined from the ground? We’ll share everything you need to know about lab-created or lab grown diamonds right here.
What’s a lab-created diamond?
A lab-created diamond is also sometimes called a lab grown diamond, a man-made diamond, a synthetic diamond, a manufactured diamond, or a cultured diamond. All of these mean the same thing - a stunning diamond that’s been grown in a laboratory. The very first lab-created diamond was created in the 1950s by scientists that worked for General Electric in the US. It took another 30 years before they started to produce them for industrial use, and it’s only in the last few years that they’ve achieved a quality of colour, cut, clarity and size to make them suitable for diamond jewellery.
How are lab-created diamonds made?
Let’s start with explaining how naturally occurring diamonds first came to be. Diamonds were formed billions of years ago when they were moulded under immense pressure and heat in the earth’s mantle and pushed upwards through volcanic pipes. These naturally occurring, or ‘mined’ diamonds are now mined from deep underground and are very rare. That’s why they’re considered the most precious of all gemstones.
Lab-created diamonds are made either of two ways, using high pressure and high temperature (HPHT) or with chemical vapor deposition (CVD). HPHT uses high pressure and temperature to build on a little sliver of diamond, or a “seed” to simulate how diamonds were formed deep underground. Except with HPHT, diamonds are now made in a machine inside a laboratory.
CVD creates diamonds by pushing a carbon-rich gas into a vacuum chamber and heating it to a high temperature. The gasses stick to the seed that’s been left in the chamber and the crystals build a new diamond within days and creates a fully completed diamond within weeks.
What’s the difference between lab-created diamonds and mined diamonds?
Apart from the way they were grown, lab-created diamonds are no different from mined diamonds. Once lab-created diamonds have been grown, they are physically and chemically the same as any other diamond. They are taken in their rough state from the lab and cut and polished in exactly the same way. And we really mean that. Even when our experts look at lab-created diamonds under microscopes, they are impossible to tell apart. Because of this and to allow for complete transparency, manufacturers of the larger lab-created diamonds engrave their diamonds with the manufacturer’s details, and/or the diamond’s certificate number. Which leads us to the next question...
Can lab-created diamonds be certified?
Absolutely! Like any diamond, larger lab-created diamonds can be issued with a certification that verifies the colour, cut, carat and clarity of the diamond. We’ve talked about these “4 Cs” before in the “How to choose an engagement ring” blog post.
Why choose a lab-created diamond?
Lab-created diamonds are just the same as naturally occurring diamonds in terms of their chemical and physical make up and appearance. So, the decision to choose a lab-created diamond often comes down to value for money. Because lab-created diamonds are made within weeks, as opposed to being created billions of years ago, they’re an affordable way of getting the diamond jewellery you want... without really annoying your bank manager!
Lab-created diamonds can cost between 30% to a whopping 70% less than mined diamonds. And “fancy” or coloured lab grown diamonds are even better value again!
Are lab-created diamonds more ecologically friendly?
Some people say that lab-created diamonds are a more sustainable alternative to mined diamonds as they require less manpower and processes than mining. Unfortunately, mining does impact the environment. However, lab-created diamonds are not carbon neutral, as they require a huge amount of energy to produce. Although they are not the green-friendly alternative we’d all like just yet, we hope that as more sustainable energy sources become more available, they will become more ecologically friendly.
Can I buy a lab-created diamond engagement ring?
Yes! In fact, Hoskings is proud to stock a stunning collection of lab-created diamond rings, earrings as well as lab-created diamond pendants and bracelets. So, if you’re looking for exquisite diamond jewellery, you must check out our range of lab-created diamond jewellery in lush 9ct or 18ct gold.
If you have any questions about lab-created diamonds, our customer service team would be delighted to help you.
VIC/ NSW/ QLD & TAS: 1800 819 796. NT/WA or SA: (08) 8981 8895.
Written by: Niamh Hislop