What Is The Difference Between Real And Lab Diamonds?
Lab created diamonds, also known as simulated diamonds or synthetic diamonds, are nearly identical to natural diamonds in look and quality. Despite this similarity, it can be difficult to tell the difference between the two if you’re not familiar with what to look for. Here’s a quick guide to help you distinguish real from lab created diamonds so you can make an informed decision about the type of diamond you purchase next time you go shopping!
A History Of Lab Grown Diamonds.
Lab-grown diamonds were first produced in 1954, which means that their birth year is older than that of many of today’s CVD diamond sellers. Though lab-grown diamonds have been around for over 60 years, their popularity has only grown over time. Why? Because more people are learning about lab-grown diamonds and realizing how much they have to offer. In particular, lab-grown diamonds are often even more stunning than natural ones, plus they’re less expensive while still maintaining higher quality than man-made products from decades ago. Nowadays, many people who purchase jewelry choose a lab-grown stone or know someone who does!
The process of making a lab diamond starts similar to how natural diamonds are mined. Lab-grown crystals are grown in a process called chemical vapor deposition (CVD). CVD involves placing a seed crystal into a chamber and exposing it to controlled pulses of heat and carbon-bearing gases. The carbon atoms crystallize on the surface of that crystal, forming what’s known as an epitaxial layer. The chamber is opened up, and more gas enters in, adding more layers to what was previously deposited. It takes about 90 days for each layer to be deposited before another chamber process begins; for every five growth cycles that take place, one new diamond results from an entire year’s worth of work.
The Process Behind It.
While lab created diamonds do have value, they’re no match for Mother Nature’s handiwork. Lab-created or man-made diamonds are made through a CVD process which stands for chemical vapor deposition. This is where scientists force carbon under high temperatures until it becomes a diamond (carbon is more than 99 percent of both real and synthetic diamond). They then use intense heat to make it pure. However, when you look at them, there’s no way to tell whether a stone was created in a lab or by nature. That said, there are some distinct differences between natural and lab diamonds. The obvious one: is the price tag. Lab-created stones tend to be less expensive because they’re mass-produced. Lab diamonds also lack imperfections that often come with mined stones. For example, lab diamonds don’t have flaws like fractures or inclusions that naturally occur during mining. Finally, lab created diamonds are typically whiter and brighter than their mined counterparts—but these attributes vary from brand to brand. If you want an affordable white diamond without all of the ethical baggage associated with mined stones, lab-grown may be right for you!
Why Do People Choose Lab-Grown Diamonds Over Mined Ones?
A lab-grown diamond (also called CVD Diamonds) is chemically, physically, and optically identical to a mined diamond, but at a fraction of the cost. Lab diamonds are made in a lab environment, whereas mined diamonds come out of the ground. The big difference between lab grown and mined diamonds is that we grow our own here in America while they’re searching for them in Africa. Buying lab grown allows us to keep jobs right here at home rather than overseas. Lab grown stones are also environmentally friendly because there’s no impact on nature when we make them right here in America.
Are Lab-Grown Gems Cheaper Than Mined Stones?
In general, yes. While mined gems are typically sold by weight, lab-grown gems are valued differently. The most expensive of lab-grown stones—and real ones too—are graded on clarity, color, cut and carat weight. Price also depends on whether a gem is natural or treated or enhanced in some way (more on that below). Lab-grown gems can be made to mimic any type of stone: diamond, ruby, sapphire, etc., so there’s no specific pricing standard across all CVD diamonds as there is with mined gems. But it’s not just price that differentiates these two kinds of jewelry; they do look different in certain situations. And here’s why…
Are Lab Created Stones Worth It Then?
While both lab created and mined stones are valued for their beauty, there are some key differences between these two types of jewels. Lab created stones, also called synthetic or cultured gems, can be made from a variety of materials including plastics, glass, sapphires and now a diamond. While still expensive as compared to other stones such as cubic zirconia or moissanite which can be purchased for around $100 per carat, lab created diamonds are typically a fraction of their mined counterparts. The most common type of lab-grown gemstone used in jewelry today is cubic zirconia (CZ). Lab created CZs have been available since 1976 and account for at least 75% of all simulated diamond purchases.