Lab Grown Diamonds
Discover lab grown diamonds: What they are, how they’re made and why the efficiency of their production makes them significantly less expensive than their natural counterparts. Find your answer with our detailed guide, written by our diamond experts.
What is a lab grown diamond?
A lab grown diamond is created in a laboratory setting that emulates the natural process of a diamond’s growth. Whilst it is visually, chemically and physically identical to a natural diamond, lab grown diamonds cost far less and are considered a more sustainable and ethical option than mined diamonds.
How are lab grown diamonds created?
There are two ways of making lab grown diamonds. The first method is known as ‘high pressure, high temperature’, or HPHT. This method is closest to the production process of a natural diamond, and involves subjecting graphite (which is made from pure carbon) to intense heat and pressure.
Minuscule pieces of metal in the HPHT machine are used to compress the graphite as it is pulverised with electricity. This process takes a few days only. However, this type of lab grown diamond is not as pure as a natural diamond, because parts of the metallic solution used to make the diamond can become mixed in with the graphite.
The second method is called Chemical Vapour Deposition (CVD). This method can produce diamonds even more flawless than those occurring naturally. Chemical vapour deposition involves placing a piece of naturally mined diamond into a depressurising chamber, where it is treated with natural gases under a microwave beam.
When the gas reaches around 2,000 degrees, carbon items rain down onto the diamond and stick to it. Using this process, manufacturers can grow perfect diamonds.
How does a lab grown diamond differ from a CZ or Moissanite?
Diamond simulants, such as cubic zirconia and moissanite may look similar to diamonds but they are not true carbon crystals. Simulants don’t share the same chemical and physical properties as mined diamonds and therefore sell at much lower prices than lab created diamonds.
Simulants can be distinguished from mined or lab grown diamonds using only the naked eye and we believe they lack the sparkle and fire associated with diamonds.
Will a lab grown diamond pass a diamond tester?
In a word, yes. You might have seen diamond testers for sale online, it’s a portable device that looks like a pen. All it actually does is measure how well the gemstone being tested conducts heat and electric conduction.
Since lab-grown diamonds share the same physical and chemical properties as natural diamonds, they also have the same electrical and thermal conductivity properties. For that reason, the tester will show both as diamonds.
Lab diamonds are real diamonds. The only difference is their origin.
The only equipment that can tell lab grown from mined diamonds is extremely specialist and expensive and tends to be found in gemmology labs.
Are lab grown diamonds a good investment ?
Diamonds are not a good investment.
You would need to buy a very large, very rare diamond and hold it for many years to have any chance of making a profit.
Neither lab grown or mined diamonds are rare and it’s best to spend what you can comfortably afford rather than hope they will ever be worth more than you paid in the future.
We believe the marketing of diamonds has been pretty misleading.
Who certifies and grades lab grown diamonds?
Lab grown diamonds are certified and graded for their qualities in the same way as mined diamonds.
Some are spectacular and some are awful, just like mined diamonds. Many people assume all lab grown diamonds are perfect, but this isn’t the case.
We prefer to use lab grown diamonds graded by the IGI and the GIA as we have found them to be the strictest labs when it comes to assessing a diamonds quality.
“I wanted a new engagement ring for my 20th anniversary and couldn't get past the cost difference initially. Once I understood they are identical in every way, I took the plunge. Seeing my old ring and the new one together, I'd say the lab grown diamond actually looks better and that is coming from a lady that has only purchased mined diamonds since the 1970's - until now. My husband is over the moon ! ”