Lab-Grown Diamonds are not simulants. Scientists create them in a lab. They start with rough crystals and are grown using either HPHT (High-Pressure High Temperature) or CVD (Chemical Vapor Deposition) — sometimes both methods. While it is nearly impossible to detect lab-grown diamonds by sight, the growing process leaves behind evidence of any diamond’s origin. Advanced screening and testing equipment is necessary here.
A 2018 report found that 70% of millennials would consider purchasing a lab-grown diamond engagement ring. Another report found that the production of lab-grown diamonds increased by 15% to 20% in 2018 and 2019.
Their lower cost might be boosting their popularity. According to a special report by Rapaport, a primary source of diamond price information used in the industry, lab-grown diamonds can cost 30% to 40% less than mined ones, on average.
According to most experts, traditional (i.e. mined) diamonds originally formed between 1 and 3 billion years ago. The process took place 100 miles beneath the Earth’s surface, where carbon dioxide underwent extreme pressure after being exposed to extreme heat. Pure carbon squeezed into diamond form and then migrated upward by way of deep volcanic explosions.
The most modern technology
There are two scientific approaches to diamond creation. The Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD) process releases carbon from plasma. This involves superheating hydrocarbon gas in a vacuum to between 3,000-4,000C, at which point the carbon atoms begin to separate from their molecular bonds. Those atoms descend and land on a flat wafer of previously grown synthetic diamond and grow in vertical layers. This substrate is square for jewelry applications but the shape can vary for other applications in medicine, communications and technology.
The High Pressure High Temperature (HPHT) process replicates the natural conditions under which diamonds formed 100 miles below the surface due to subduction. A carbon source, a diamond seed and a metallic catalyst go into an octahedral cell. The cell is placed into a massive mechanical press where the contents are heated near 1,500 C and subjected to staggering pressure. The melting metal dissolves the carbon and the pressure causes precipitation to the diamond seed, growing a larger diamond. The level of pressure from these immense presses has been compared to what you’d experience if you balanced a jumbo jet on the tip of your finger.
When the growing process has finalized, rough CVD and HPHT crystals are sent to diamond cutting centers to be planned and polished.
Diamond cutting is the art, skill and science of transforming a raw crystal into a polished, faceted diamond. As the hardest material known to man, cutting and shaping a diamond requires specialized knowledge, tools and skill.
1) Planning: This rough octahedron crystal is studied and its growth directions and inclusions are mapped.
2) Marking: Once the plan is determined, the crystal is marked for primary sawing.
3) Sawing: A carbon-fiber blade coated with diamond-grit makes the first cut. It will take several hours to saw this crystal into two pieces; each of which will become a polished diamond.
4) Bruting: The two pieces spin in opposite directions, grinding against each other to smooth the edges and create a round outline.
5) Polishing: A spinning wheel coated with diamond-grit is used for blocking, crossworking and brillianteering, the process of placing, shaping and smoothing all facets to final polish.
6) Inspection: Once finished, the diamond is thoroughly boiled in acid and examined to ensure that it meets the producer’s expectations and quality standards.
Following the diamond cutting process and prior to being sold loose or mounted into jewelry, diamonds are typically submitted to gemological institutions such as IGI for quality assessment. Four main factors are considered when judging a diamond’s quality and value. They are the diamond’s 4C’s: Carat weight, Color, Clarity and Cut.
IGI screens every diamond using state of the art technologies to determine naturally mined, laboratory grown or simulant origin. Experienced graduate gemologists conduct further assessment in controlled conditions, detailing relevant gemological characteristics according to the strictest international system.
Your diamond is exceptional and distinctive. No two diamonds are alike. Yet all diamonds have certain features in common that allow experts to compare and evaluate them.
The name diamond is derived from the ancient Greek “adamas” meaning unbreakable, untamed and unconquerable. Diamonds have been treasured as gemstones ever since they were discovered. In our modern age the word “diamond” continues to evoke images of elegance, style and glamour.
Diamond sparkles and dazzles. Diamond symbolizes purity and strength. And the story of your diamond is uniquely yours.