What Are Lab-Grown Diamonds?

Lab-Grown Diamonds are optically, chemically, and physically, identical to natural diamonds and are created in a lab by scientists. Lab-grown diamonds provide the same luxurious diamond at flexible price points to fit anyone’s lifestyle. Lab-grown diamonds also offer the opportunity of a larger carat weight at lower costs.

Optically

Lab-grown diamonds are visually identical to natural diamonds, making them indistinguishable to the naked eye.

Chemically

Lab-grown diamonds, distinct from simulants, originate from rough crystals and typically require an average of 2–4 weeks for formation.

Physically

Distinguishing lab-grown diamonds from natural ones requires advanced instruments capable of detecting specific physical characteristics

How Are Lab-Grown Diamonds Created?

Lab-grown diamond manufacturers use two methods in highly controlled lab settings: High Pressure High Temperature (HPHT) and Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD).

In the HPHT method, a diamond seed is placed in a growth chamber, heated to 2,700–3,100 degrees Fahrenheit, and exposed to a pressure of 725,000 pounds per square inch, simulating conditions in the Earth’s mantle. The diamond seed undergoes these intense conditions for varying durations.

For the CVD method, flat diamond slabs are put in a reactor and injected with Methane gas. Microwaves break down the gas into its atoms, creating a carbon-rich plasma cloud. Carbon atoms in the plasma attach to the diamond slabs, resulting in slow vertical growth.

Both processes yield Type IIa colorless lab-grown diamonds, comparable to some rare natural diamonds. These methods can also be adjusted to produce colored lab-grown diamonds.

The Four Cs of Diamonds

Cut

The way a diamond is cut, including its proportions, facet size, and position, is called the cut. This cut influences how the diamond captures and reflects light.

Researchers have studied the best proportions for a diamond's cut to make it sparkle the most. If a diamond's cut falls within these ideal parameters, it's considered well-cut.

When we talk about light and reflection, brilliance is the combination of all the white light reflected from the diamond's surface and inside. Dispersion refers to the flashes of color, also known as fire, you see in a polished diamond. Scintillation is the flashes of light you notice when the diamond, the light, or you move.

Color

One important aspect that influences a diamond's worth is its color. Except for fancy-colored diamonds, the most prized diamonds are the ones with the least color. While many people may picture gem-quality diamonds as completely colorless, truly colorless diamonds are extremely rare.

Diamond color is assessed using letter grades, each representing a specific range of color. This evaluation is done through a manual process where the diamond is compared to a master set to determine its place within the color spectrum.

Clarity

A diamond's clarity is determined by whether it has visible flaws or not. Even tiny surface blemishes or internal inclusions, which might only be seen under magnification, can impact the diamond's brilliance and, consequently, its value.

There are different clarity grades assigned to diamonds, each indicating the presence or absence of flaws:

- FL (Flawless): No internal or external clarity characteristics.
- IF (Internally Flawless): No internal clarity characteristics.
- VVS1, VVS2 (Very, Very Slightly Included): Difficult to see under 10X magnification.
- VS1, VS2 (Very Slightly Included): Inclusions are not typically visible to the unaided eye.
- SI1, SI2 (Slightly Included): Visible under 10X magnification and may be visible to the unaided eye.
- I1, I2, I3 (Included): Inclusions are visible to the unaided eye.

Carat Weight

Carat is a measure of a diamond's weight. Sometimes, you might hear about a diamond's weight in points. Just so you know, one carat equals 100 points. For example, a 75-point diamond is the same as 0.75 carats. Larger diamonds are rarer, and they have a higher value per carat. That's why the price of a diamond goes up a lot as its size increases.