What are lab created diamonds?

Diamonds are rich with meaning, symbolizing romance, love, money, and power. But for many people good quality diamonds are out of reach, with fancy colored stones fetching tens of thousands of dollars, or more. But what if there was a cheaper alternative?

In the last decade, technology has improved to the point that diamonds can be produced in the lab that are equal in quality to any mined diamond.

Lab created diamonds are quite simply, real diamonds that have been produced in a lab rather than those that occur naturally and are mined out of the ground – there is no other difference in the chemical makeup.

Both natural and man made diamonds are made of the same material – nearly pure carbon, and the crystalline structure is very similar with differences only detectable using specialized instruments. In nature, diamonds are formed up to 200 kilometers below the earths surface.  They are created in conditions of intense heat and pressure and slowly, over millions or billions of years, they are carried to the surface by volcanic activity.

In contrast, modern lab created diamonds are made in a laboratory by one of two methods – either by HPHT (High Pressure High Temperature) or CVD (Chemical Vapour Deposition).

DiamondsSynthetic diamonds created by either method, if well made, can be impossible to identify as lab created using the naked eye alone. They offer the beauty of a natural diamond, without the price tag and without the possibility that you have contributed to the social conflict associated with ‘blood diamonds’.

Of course, jewelry is not the only application for created diamonds. Diamonds actually have a huge range of industrial, scientific and military applications and if it wasn’t for this need it is unlikely that created stones of such high quality would be on the market today!

Identifying Man Made Diamonds

Good quality lab created diamonds can be hard to identify using normal jewelers equipment, although they can readily be identified in a lab using a device that shines ultraviolet light through the diamond. With ever improving technology, created diamonds are improving in quality as well as cost and are a very affordable alternative to the real thing – although a top quality created diamond is still not cheap! This article cites a range of prices, but the consensus is that you can save well over 30% depending on the size and color of the stone. For many shoppers the idea of a lab created diamond is becoming more palatable, particularly in the current economic climate but even though you are saving money, lab diamonds shouldn’t be seen as ‘cheap’.

It’s easy to become confused by the terminology used by some unscrupulous retailers, particularly online. Watch out for people advertising ‘simulated diamonds‘ as created diamonds – a simulant is more likely to be a different type of created gem rather than a true created diamond. Read on for more about the benefits of lab created diamonds as compared to natural diamonds!