Diamonds are some of the most preferred gems for use in jewelry, especially rings, bands, and earrings. The luxury and sheen they offer boost the beauty and confidence of anyone wearing them.
However, with the increasing difficulty of mining diamonds and its negative impact on the environment, most modern consumers are concerned about whether they should stick to buying traditionally mined diamonds or choose other rare gemstones. Luckily, today, you don’t have to worry about such things because you can opt for lab-grown diamonds.
But what exactly are lab-grown diamonds?
Lab-created diamonds are today making their presence around the world as reliable substitutes for mine-based diamonds in the world of jewelry. These gems are produced in laboratories using advanced technologies to ensure that they share common properties with their traditionally mined counterparts.
Read further to discover how lab-grown diamonds are created and why they are more favorable options compared to natural diamonds.
How are lab-grown diamonds made?
The demand for lab-grown diamonds has steadily increased throughout the years mainly because of how they are created.
Traditionally, the diamond pipeline involves six steps: geology exploration, mining for uncut diamonds, sorting, cutting and polishing, and retailing. Despite the efforts of mining companies to minimize the impact of every step, particularly on the environment and society, diamond mining still has massive detrimental environmental effects such as deforestation, soil erosion, and ecosystem destruction.
It also has negative effects on society such as children being forced into labor and laborers getting sick due to poor and unsanitary living conditions. And in some cases, the diamond trade can be drenched in pain and corruption. The Hollywood movie Blood Diamond aptly portrays the misery of such social conflicts caused by diamond mining.
On the contrary, no mining is required to produce lab-grown diamonds, making them a more favorable and eco-friendly choice. Instead, they are created using two lab methods:
- CVD (Chemical Vapor Deposition) – This process involves putting a tiny diamond seed in a sealed chamber filled with carbon-rich gases and heating to around 8000C. Different gases are added at very low pressure into the chemical vapor deposition reactor. Through the reaction of heated gases with microwaves, a plasma is formed. At a high temperature, the gas molecules break apart and carbon atoms begin to attach to the seeds, growing layer after layer.
- HPHT (High Pressure High Temperature) – This method replicates the natural process of how diamonds are formed beneath the earth’s surface. Diamond seeds are carefully chosen to ensure they don’t have flaws, which are then inserted into lab rough diamonds and then put through a cubic, belt, or split sphere press. Extreme pressure and high temperatures are exerted to transform the seeds into stunning gems. Lab technicians closely monitor the process until finished. Upon cooling, the diamond seeds turn into the purest quality carbon diamonds.
Why are lab-grown diamonds gaining popularity?
Lab-created diamonds today are readily available and come with different choices and varieties. They offer radiance and shine similar to their mined counterparts carry. Comparing lab-grown diamonds vs. natural diamonds goes beyond how they are made. Here are the best reasons to believe in the appeal of lab-grown diamonds:
● Lab-grown diamonds are as good as natural diamonds
Diamonds have a three-dimensional structure of carbon molecules, which makes them one of the hardest substances on earth. Lab-created diamonds are atomically the same as their mined counterparts, thus they hold similar strength, quality, and longevity. In some cases, the clarity and color of lab-grown diamonds turn out to be better than those of mined stones. And with the advancement in laboratory processes and technology, lab-created diamonds remain precious and timeless like those obtained from the ground.
● Guilt-free identification
Jewelry companies and gemstone specialists must abide by the rules and guidelines on the proper acquisition of gemstones. Origins of most mined stones involve ethical concerns as they come from the world’s conflicted regions. Known as blood diamonds, these gems are mined under unfair working conditions, involving human rights violations and child labor. For lab-grown diamonds, buyers are assured that the stones have a guaranteed trackable source and a clean history.
● Sensible cost
Diamonds are generally pricey, especially if you opt for the best quality. But since lab-created diamonds are grown in a lab, you can buy them at a fraction of the cost of mined diamonds, even with the use of high-tech finishing. Lab-grown diamonds are even more perfect and brighter than natural gems. They are steady in color and pure, and relatively easy to find in the market, with more and more companies around the world growing them, including the Middle East and India.
● Sentimental preservation
Another option that is gaining trend today is turning your loved one’s ashes into a man-made diamond. Recently, because of the pandemic, some companies have started incorporating carbon from cremated ashes in growing diamonds in a lab, offering families the opportunity to keep their lost beloved close to them, forever.
Cremated remains of a human body have a high carbon content, which can be purified down and then pressed between two plates at extreme temperatures, and then crystalized around a diamond fragment. Finished products can come in different colors, including yellow, blue, green, red, or black, depending on what ingredients are added and how long the irradiation process takes.
Lab-grown diamonds support the requirements of manufacturers, suppliers, buyers, and the environment on a larger scale. Lastly, don’t evet doubt the resale value of lab-created gems; you can sell them just like their mined diamonds through the companies buying graded and certified gems.