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Diamonds are a girl’s best friend. That statement hasn’t changed for the last 100 years! What has changed? Where those diamonds are made. Recently, Lab-grown diamonds have skyrocketed in popularity. What exactly are they, and what is the difference between the two types of diamonds? Let’s find out!
Modern Lab-grown diamonds are created in a controlled lab environment. They have the same physical, chemical, and visual properties as natural diamonds, with the only difference being where they are created. Lab-grown diamonds are evaluated with the same 4C’s of their natural doppelganger: color, clarity, cut, and carat weight. Lab-grown diamonds will be created in the same shapes as natural diamonds - including round, princess, and emerald cuts. Lab-grown diamonds possess unique benefits for the buyer. They are economically more friendly than their counterparts, are conflict-free, and contain the same physical, chemical, and visual features as natural diamonds.
How are Lab-grown diamonds made? Before we answer that question, let’s clarify what goes into making a natural diamond. There are three crucial steps required to form a diamond: pressure, heat, and time. Carbon located about 100 miles underground undergo such intense pressure and heat that binds together until the molecules create a structure. The environment for this to happen must be exact and requires very specific pressure and temperature. Without this, there will be no diamond! For the third factor - time - diamonds require hundreds of years to form and travel closer to the earth’s surface for extraction. The stones we quantify as “natural” to this day have undergone the perfect equation of time, pressure, and heat to become what we define as diamonds.
In comparison, there are two different ways to generate lab-grown diamonds. The first is called High Pressure/High Temperature (HP/HT), which imitates nature’s formation of a diamond. First, you must begin with a diamond “seed,” which could be a natural diamond or a lab-grown diamond. Then, hydraulic pressure is applied to the seed. Paired with a specific recipe of nickel, iron, and cobalt, it forms a growing environment that encourages the starter seed to spread.
Second, you can create a lab-grown diamond with a method called Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD). Similar to the first process, a diamond starter seed is required for the CVD method. This starter is sealed within a chamber, which is then heated to maximum temperatures. Then, the chamber is filled with carbon-rich hydrogen and methane gas. This creates ionization that then breaks down the carbon gas, which allows the carbon atoms to join the diamond seed. Layer by layer, the carbon grows onto the starter, which then builds a crystal.
Now that we know how each diamond is made, which is the right one for you? Both options have their respective benefits. When you decide, consult your trusted Jeweler like Meritage to help you make the perfect choice.
Contact our jewelry store in Lutherville today to learn more!