Unlike Beyonce, lab-created diamonds are not completely flawless. Just like diamonds that are mined, the growing process of a lab-grown diamond creates inevitable inclusions and flaws in the stone. To better understand why this happens, we’ll review the growing process of a diamond and discuss how diamonds are graded using the 4 c’s -- color, cut, clarity and carat.
The Growing Process
Before we discuss how lab-created diamonds are grown, it’s important to understand how mined diamonds are formed in the earth. As you might imagine, the two processes are extremely similar, but the man-made environment allows the diamonds to produce at a much faster rate.
Geologists have concluded that diamonds formed deep within the Earth between 1 to 3 billion years ago. They believe the process starts with carbon dioxide that is buried roughly 100 miles beneath the Earth’s surface. The carbon dioxide is exposed to heat in excess of 2,200 degrees Fahrenheit and put under extreme pressure of roughly 727,000 pounds per square inch.
To put it in layman’s terms...carbon dioxide is exposed to great amounts of heat and pressure and the result is a diamond.
High Pressure-High Temperature (HPHT) and Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD) are the two processes that man-made diamond labs use to grow diamonds.
An HPHT diamond begins as a small diamond seed that is placed into carbon. The seed is exposed to extremely high temperature and pressure. The pure carbon melts and starts to form a diamond around the starter seed. It is then carefully cooled to form a pure carbon diamond.
A CVD diamond begins as a thin slice of diamond seed. The diamond seed is placed in a sealed chamber and heated to around 800 degrees Celsius. The chamber is filled with a carbon rich-gas that are ionized into plasma. The ionization breaks the molecular bonds in the gases, and the pure carbon adheres to the diamond seed and slowly crystallizes.
Basically...these are two high-tech ways to speed up the process that happens below the earth’s surface.
Grading A Diamond
Both mined diamonds and lab-grown diamonds, however, inevitably include different amounts of flaws and inclusions. Since both types of diamonds are at the mercy of science -- whether it be billions of years ago or today -- there’s no way to guarantee a perfect diamond every time.
That’s why diamonds are graded using the 4 c’s -- color, cut, clarity and carat. Since lab-grown diamonds are graded using the exact same process as mined diamonds...there’s no need to differentiate the grading for each.
When diamonds are sent to certification labs for grading, they are reviewed by several gemologists. Each of the individual grades is combined to determine the final grade -- this process allows for an unbiased grading system.
Basically, they judge the diamond on how well it has been cut down from its raw form into a jewel, how flawless and clear it is, and its size. The inclusions and flaws that we mentioned come into play during the grading process since they can affect some of the 4 c’s, such as the diamond's clarity.
As you might guess, the less visible the inclusions and flaws, the better the diamond. And often that means an increase in price. However, a diamond expert at Clean Origin can help you decide exactly what diamond grade is best for your engagement ring and offer tips on ways to save money based on different grades.
But don’t forget! Lab-grown diamonds are already 20-30% less expensive than mined diamonds. That means, you have a lot more wiggle room with the 4 c’s and can get a much better diamond, with fewer flaws and inclusions, for the same amount you would for a lower graded mined diamond. For example, an excellent cut, 1ct round diamond from Clean Origin with G color and VS2 clarity will cost you less than a 1ct round diamond with H color, SI1 clarity and ideal cut from an online mined diamond retailer!
Every diamond is different, just like every love is different. Finding a diamond ring can seem daunting, but our team of diamond experts is here to help our customers every step of the way.