Lab grown diamonds are becoming more and more popular. But why? What is it that sets them apart from natural mined diamonds? Let’s explore why they are the new must have for any fashion-savvy individual!
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1. Lab grown diamonds are eco-friendly
It depends on how you look at it. They don’t require mining, which can be harmful to the environment. But the process of growing them does use quite a bit of energy. And we don’t yet know what the long-term effects of growing diamonds will be on the environment. So, lab-grown diamonds are a more environmentally friendly option than mined diamonds, but they’re not perfect.
2. They don’t come with baggage
Mined diamonds often come with a lot of baggage. They may be conflict diamonds, which means they were mined in an area where there is fighting going on. They may also be blood diamonds, which means they were mined in conditions that are unsafe and workers are paid very little. Lab-grown diamonds don’t have that baggage. But they also don’t have the positive social impact of supporting millions of livelihoods around the world like mining does. So, lab-grown diamonds are more socially responsible than mined diamonds, but again, they’re not perfect.
3. More Sparkle
One of the most striking features of lab created diamonds is their sparkle. Thanks to their optical purity and symmetry, lab grown diamonds tend to have higher clarity than natural mined diamonds – meaning they can reflect light better and appear brighter overall.
4. More Affordable
Lab grown diamonds are also more affordable than natural mined diamonds. Lab grown diamonds don’t have the same scarcity factor as natural mined diamonds. This means that you can get a beautiful diamond ring without spending a fortune.
5. Lab grown diamonds are unique
Some people swear that the beauty of a natural, mined diamond is in its utter uniqueness. And that lab created stones just don’t have that. But they couldn’t be more wrong. every lab diamond is grown individually, just like diamonds from mother nature, and has its own personality, color and inclusions. No two are exactly alike.
What are lab grown diamonds?
Lab grown diamonds, also known as man made or cultivated diamonds, are real diamonds that have the same physical and chemical properties as natural diamonds. Just like natural diamonds, they are composed of carbon atoms arranged in a lattice structure.
They are optically, thermally, and physically identical to natural diamonds grown deep in the Earth. The only way to tell a lab grown diamond from a natural one is with very specialized equipment that can detect the minor differences in crystal growth.
Lab grown diamonds are created using one of two methods: CVD (chemical vapor deposition) or HPHT (high pressure high temperature). In both cases, a small diamond seed is placed in a chamber where it is subjected to intense heat and pressure. This environment causes the carbon atoms to bond and grow into a larger diamond, which then follows the same process as natural diamonds.
The difference between CVD & HPHT diamonds
Chemical Vapour Deposition
CVD is the most common method used to create lab grown diamonds. A small diamond seed is placed in a chamber and exposed to a carbon-rich gas. The gas is then ignited, causing a reaction that creates a layer of diamond on the seed. This process is repeated until the diamond is complete.
High pressure high temperature
HPHT lab grown diamonds are created using technology that replicates the conditions under which natural diamonds are formed deep within the Earth. A small piece of carbon is placed in a pressurised chamber and exposed to temperatures of around 1500 degrees Celsius. The extreme pressure and heat causes the carbon to crystallise, forming a lab grown diamond.
Which should I buy?
The choice between CVD and HPHT lab grown diamonds is a personal one. Both types of lab created diamonds have the same physical, chemical and optical properties as natural diamonds.
CVD lab grown diamonds tend to be less expensive than HPHT lab grown diamonds. This is because the CVD process is less energy intensive and can be run continuously, meaning more lab grown diamonds can be produced at a lower cost.
CVD lab created diamonds are usually larger than HPHT lab created diamonds. This is because the size of the seed used in the HPHT process limits how big the diamond can grow. Both types of lab created diamond are graded using the same standards as natural mined diamonds by independent grading laboratories.
The drawbacks of lab created diamonds
The only real drawback is if you’re looking at them from a traditional perspective. They are not as rare as natural diamonds and they don’t have the same historic value. If you’re looking for an investment piece, then lab created diamonds might not be the right choice. They are a product of technology, not nature, which for some people lacks emotional punch. Lab grown diamonds don’t currently have inherent positive social impact nor do they support millions of livelihoods and there is a lack of transparency in how much energy they use to produce.
How to buy lab created diamonds
When you’re looking for lab-grown diamonds, it’s important to do your research and make sure you’re buying from a reputable source. Look for a company that can provide certification for the diamonds you’re interested in. This will help ensure that the diamonds are high quality and conflict-free.
SJ Gems have gone even further with their lab diamonds. To ensure that you are purchasing a quality product, our stones are all laser engraved with the serial number of the certification. This will ensure your piece of mind that you are getting exactly what you bought.
Head on over to our diamond search where you can see 360-degree images of your next diamond. Not many online stores offer you this great feature, but we figured its best not to get surprised. Inspect your next diamond from all angles.