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About Lab Created Diamonds

 

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What is a lab grown or lab created diamond?

Natural diamonds formed millions to billions of years ago in Earth’s mantle then were explosively carried by kimberlite and lamproite volcanoes to Earth’s surface, often carrying fascinating inclusions within them. The oldest laboratory-grown diamonds are decades old; they are created in laboratories or large factories, most commonly using the High-Pressure, High-Temperature (HPHT) method or the Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD) method. Laboratory-grown diamonds appear identical to natural diamonds to the unaided eye and typically require testing by a laboratory with advanced instruments to be identified*

How are laboratory-grown diamonds made?

There are two main processes used to create laboratory-grown diamonds:

1. High Pressure, High Temperature (HPHT)
With this method, laboratory-grown diamonds are produced using high-pressure, high-temperature conditions similar to what natural diamonds experience in the earth. HPHT diamond growth occurs at pressures of 5–6 GPa (roughly equivalent to the pressure exerted by a commercial jet airplane if balanced on the tip of a person’s finger) and at temperatures of 1300–1600°C.

Lower-quality diamonds, whether natural or laboratory-grown, can also be put through the HPHT process to improve color. In addition to making diamonds more colorless, this process can also be used to change the color of diamonds to pink, blue or yellow. The diamond would then be called a “treated” diamond. This is disclosed in GIA reports.

2. Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD)
This technique enables scientists to grow laboratory-grown diamonds using moderate temperatures (700°C to 1300°C) and lower pressures. Carbon-containing gas is pumped into a vacuum chamber and deposits onto a diamond seed, crystallizing as laboratory-grown diamond. The eventual size of the diamond depends on the time allowed for growth.

How are laboratory-grown diamonds identified?

Laboratory-grown diamonds require advanced testing in a gemological laboratory to be identified with certainty. At laboratories like GIA, scientists and graders used sophisticated instruments to analyze diamond strain patterns, trace element composition, inclusions, fluorescence, phosphorescence and more in order to separate laboratory-grown diamonds from natural. These factors are different due to the vastly different formation conditions of laboratory-grown and natural diamonds. 

How does GIA evaluate laboratory-grown diamonds?

When a laboratory-grown diamond is submitted to a GIA laboratory, it is first examined to determine if it is natural or laboratory-grown. Then, GIA graders evaluate it using the 4Cs, a standard of evaluation created by GIA and implemented all over the world. Our graders evaluate each laboratory-grown diamond with the same meticulous care as natural diamonds.  The GIA laboratory grown diamond report provides detailed color and clarity specifications, honing in with greater insight than ever before and allowing consumers to make crystal clear decisions. The report also includes a plot of the stone’s clarity characteristics.

Source - *GIA Gemological Institute of America

What is a Moissanite and what is the difference between Moissanite and a Lab Created Diamond?

Lab-grown diamonds are made from carbon and Moissanite is made from silicon carbide.  In the late 1800s, a scientist named Henri Moissan discovered  moissanite (considered a mineral) while studying rock samples from a meteor crater site in Canyon Diablo, Arizona. At first he thought he had discovered diamonds.  Later Moissan learned that the stones were not considered diamonds due to their chemical composition.  Moissanite's chemical composition is silicon carbide while diamonds are simply carbon.  Scientists were able to recreate this stone in a lab setting as natural occurring moissanite is actually rarely found.  The mineral was named Moissanite in Henri Moissan's honor for his discovery of this "diamond like" stone. 

Moissanite and lab created diamonds are very different.  Yes both are created in a lab setting using similar technologies. The actual chemical composition and the value of moissanite is inferior to lab-grown diamonds. Lab-grown diamonds are considered genuine diamonds and are comprised of the same material and graded on the same scale as naturally mined diamonds. Moissanite is considered a stone that is a diamond simulant and offers consumers a budget friendly alternative to mined or lab created diamonds. 

 How are Cubic Zirconia and Lab Created Diamonds Different?

Cubic Zirconia are not gemstones nor does a form of the cubic zirconia stone exist naturally.  Cubic Zirconia stones are actually considered man made crystals.  They are made in a lab through a process that melts powdered zirconium and zirconium oxide together.  This mixture is heated up to 4982 degrees fahrenheit which will create a flawless cubic zirconia.  This stone just looks like a diamond.  Lab created diamonds are different in that the technology today uses two processes: High Pressure High Temperature (HPHT) and Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD).  These processes imitate the process of diamond stone development in the earth and by definition contain the same chemical properties as a genuine diamond mined from the earth.  Cubic Zirconia stones do not contain elements that are found in diamonds and they are not considered, man made or synthetic diamonds. They are considered imitation diamond  stones.  Cubic Zirconia can be made in various colors including the precious and semi-precious gemstone colors. Cubic Zirconia is much cheaper than moissanite or lab created diamonds as these stones hold very little value. 

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