Lab Grown Diamonds 101

Lab-grown diamonds have made a major impact on the diamond industry in recent years. Being that Continental Diamond owns the largest inventory of Lab Grown Diamonds in MN, we think that it is important for our customers to know the differences between lab-grown and natural diamonds.

Are lab-grown diamonds still considered to be real diamonds? Yes, they are! The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) defines a diamond as a crystalized carbon in the isometric cubic system. Lab-grown diamonds have the same chemical and physical properties as natural diamonds. Lab-grown diamonds are created using two methods: High Pressure-High Temperature (HPHT) or Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD).

HPHT

A small diamond seed is placed with a carbon source into a press that simulates the conditions under which a diamond grows in the earth. The press pressurizes the carbon to approx. 1.5 million pounds per square inch while simultaneously exposing the seed to 2,700 degrees Fahrenheit. This allows the carbon to melt and form a diamond around the diamond seed. The newly formed crystal is then cooled and comes out as a beautiful lab grown diamond ready to be cut and polished.  

CVD

This also uses a diamond seed, but the seed is placed into a sealed chamber set at 1,400 degrees Fahrenheit. It is then filled with carbon rich gases which are then ionized into plasma using micro-waves. This technology breaks down the molecular bond of the gas allowing the pure carbon to accumulate on the seed and form a new diamond. A great way to view this us by envisioning a 3D printer printing a diamond layer by layer.

Lab-grown diamonds take approx. one month to grow depending on its final carat weight. While the method that the crystal grows differs from a natural diamond the common factor is in the cutting.  Whether using a lab grown or natural crystal, the care and skill of the cutting is what transforms that crystal into a brilliant and fiery beauty!

Once a diamond has been cut it is very difficult to tell the difference between the two. This takes a well-trained gemologist and sophisticated equipment to identify a lab-grown vs natural diamond. These two diamonds not only look similar and are made up of the same material, but one is created on a duplicate of the earth's surface in a lab, and the other takes millions of years to form in the earth’s crust.

Since a diamond’s origin (natural or lab-grown) must be disclosed, lab-grown diamonds have their own certification and grading process. International Gemological Institute (IGI) and Gem Certification & Assurance Lab (GCAL) are two of the main labs that provide these reports. This process includes the 4Cs assessment, the same way a natural diamond is graded.

We love beautiful diamonds at Continental Diamond, so we give you the option to make the choice that is best for you!  We put the same care, time and effort into choosing the lab-grown diamonds that we do into our collection of natural.  When you choose a diamond from Continental Diamond, you can be sure that you’re choosing a diamond that we have thought about and examined enough to personally own.  This way you can buy with confidence!


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