Lab Grown Diamonds
What are Lab Grown Diamonds?
Lab-grown diamonds are diamonds that are made in a controlled lab environment. They have the same chemical, physical, and optical properties as natural diamonds, with the only difference being their point of origin. Similar to their natural counterparts, lab-grown diamonds are evaluated with the 4C's: color, clarity, cut, and carat weight. You can also find lab-grown diamonds in the same shapes - including princess, round brilliant, and emerald - as natural diamonds.
How are Lab Grown Diamonds Made?
Before we discuss how these diamonds are made, let’s step back and clarify how natural diamonds are made to accurately compare the two.
There are three main components that go into creating a diamond: heat, pressure, and time. Diamonds begin growing underground, about 100 miles into the Earth’s mantle. Carbon molecules located there are under such intense heat and pressure that they bind together and create an extremely strong 3D pattern. But it has to be the exactly right environment for this to happen: natural diamonds require environments between 2102 degrees and 2192 degrees Fahrenheit and between 50 to 70 kilobars of pressure.
As for the time factor, the diamonds that we mine today have been growing for many, many years – in fact, the oldest diamond currently known to exist is a little over 3 billion years old! Through deep-source volcanic eruptions, these diamonds are brought closer to the surface where they can be found and mined.
On the other hand, there are two main ways to create lab-grown diamonds. The first is through High Pressure/High Temperature (HP/HT), which mimics how diamonds are made in nature. This process begins with a diamond “seed,” which can be either a natural diamond or a lab-grown diamond. Hydraulic pressure and a proprietary recipe of iron, nickel, and cobalt flux create an environment that encourages the starter seed to grow.
The second way to create a lab-grown diamond is called Chemical Vapor Deposition, or CVD. Using the CVD process, a diamond starter seed is placed in a sealed chamber, which is heated to extreme temperatures. The chamber is then filled with a carbon-rich hydrogen and methane gas. This ionization breaks down the carbon gas, allowing the pure carbon molecules to adhere to the diamond seed. The carbon then slowly builds into a crystal layer by layer. CVD diamonds typically grow within a few months.