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Do Lab Grown Diamonds Pass a Diamond Tester? Uncovering the Truth

by Luis Navarro
Last updated on September 25, 2023
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For a long time, diamond testers have been the trusted gatekeepers in the jewelry industry, serving as the ultimate arbitrators of authenticity for natural diamonds. However, in the ever-evolving world of gemstones, a new contender has emerged – lab grown diamonds. These scientifically engineered marvels are causing a stir with their striking resemblance to their naturally occurring counterparts. In fact, lab grown diamonds imitate the physical and chemical properties of natural diamonds so closely that it raises the question: Do lab grown diamonds pass a diamond tester?

Addressing the Question: Do Lab Grown Diamonds Pass a Diamond Tester?

model posing with various pieces of lab grown diamond jewelry, including multiple rings and a tennis bracelet

Yes, lab grown diamonds can, in some cases, pass a diamond tester designed for a natural diamond.

However, it’s vital to note that this answer has several caveats. The ability of a lab grown diamond to pass a diamond tester depends on various factors, including the type of tester used, the quality of the lab grown diamond, and the testing conditions.

Understanding What Lab Grown Diamonds Are

model posing with various pieces of lab grown diamond jewelry, including multiple rings and a tennis bracelet

A lab grown diamond, also known as a lab created diamond, is made in controlled laboratory environments instead of forming naturally in the Earth’s mantle over millions of years. These diamonds have the same chemical composition as natural diamonds, consisting of carbon atoms arranged in a crystal lattice structure. However, their origin distinguishes them, making them an exciting alternative in the world of fine jewelry.

How Lab Grown Diamonds Are Created?

Creating lab grown diamonds involves replicating the natural conditions under which diamonds form. This typically occurs through one of two methods: High Pressure High Temperature (HPHT) or Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD).

Are Lab Grown Diamonds Real Diamonds?

model posing with various pieces of lab grown diamond jewelry, including a ring and a hoop earring.

When people hear the term “lab grown diamonds,” it’s common to wonder – are these real or fake diamonds?

The truth is that, yes, a lab grown diamond is a real diamond in every sense. They meet every criterion for being categorized as real diamonds. As noted before, scientists create lab-grown diamonds by arranging pure crystalline carbon in their characteristic diamond cubic lattice structure. A lab diamond possesses the same optical, thermal, electrical, and physical properties as a mined diamond. The only difference lies in their origin.

It’s important to note that lab grown diamonds are not the same as diamond simulants like cubic zirconia or moissanite. Diamond simulants are made of different materials engineered solely to mimic a diamond’s sparkle and appearance. Will a diamond tester detect moissanite/cubic zirconia? Yes, it will. A diamond simulant simply lacks the properties required to be considered a genuine diamond, hence why a cubic zirconia/moissanite diamond is regarded as a fake diamond.

Traditional Methods for Testing Diamonds

A person inspecting a lab grown diamond with a loupe

To determine the authenticity of diamonds, gemologists and jewelers have relied on traditional testing methods. The most widely used methods are thermal conductivity, electrical conductivity, and optical testing.

Thermal Conductivity

Thermal conductivity diamond testers assess how efficiently a diamond conducts heat. Diamonds are exceptional conductors of heat, and differences in thermal conductivity can help distinguish between natural and lab grown diamonds. This method involves placing a diamond in contact with a thermal probe. Natural diamonds disperse heat rapidly, while lab grown diamonds may exhibit different heat conductivity, allowing gemologists to make distinctions.

Electrical Conductivity

Electrical conductivity testing involves measuring a diamond’s ability to conduct electricity. Diamonds typically do not conduct electricity, but certain natural diamonds can exhibit electrical conductivity due to impurities. Diamonds are subjected to an electrical current during this testing method. If a diamond conducts electricity, it suggests it may be natural, as lab grown diamonds often lack the impurities necessary for electrical conductivity.

Optical Testing

Optical testing is another method used to identify the unique optical properties of diamonds. The behavior of light within a diamond is examined through techniques like refractometry and the observation of brilliance, fire, and scintillation. Optical tests involve assessing how light interacts with the diamond. Instruments like refractometers measure a diamond’s refractive index, which can be compared to established values for diamonds.

The Challenges of Testing Lab Grown Diamonds

a female model posing with two lab grown diamond necklaces

The production processes of lab diamonds allow for a high degree of control and precision. This enables manufacturers to fine-tune the attributes of lab diamonds to closely replicate those found in natural diamonds. As a result, lab diamonds possess many characteristics nearly identical to their mined diamonds, posing challenges for standard identification techniques.

Some of the difficulties in distinguishing lab diamonds include:

Thermal Profile: The thermal conductivity of high-quality lab diamonds is extremely comparable to natural diamonds due to their identical composition and crystal structure. This makes it hard to pinpoint their origin based on heat transfer properties alone.

Optical Signatures: With precision cutting and polishing, the optical brilliance of lab diamonds can mirror or even be greater than that of natural diamonds. Advanced spectroscopic tools are required to detect minute differences in light performance.

Electrical Conductivity: The lack of impurities and structural irregularities in lab diamonds results in electrical properties that are very close to pure natural diamonds. Identifying subtle conductivity variations requires more sensitive electrical testing.

Inclusions: The controlled growth environment of lab diamonds allows for the elimination of inclusions, making them difficult to distinguish from natural diamonds that are very high in clarity or flawless.

Advanced Testing Methods

model posing with various pieces of lab grown diamond jewelry, including multiple rings and a stud earring

Gemologists rely on advanced instruments and techniques to distinguish between natural and lab grown diamonds. Skilled gemologists have developed specialized tests and tools to help identify the difference between the two. Some of the methods used are:

CVD Detection

Lab grown diamonds produced by chemical vapor deposition may contain trace amounts of nitrogen impurities that are not present in natural diamonds. Gemologists can use nitrogen-detection instruments to identify these minute differences.

Luminescence Testing

Under UV light, natural diamonds exhibit unique luminescence patterns as compared to lab grown diamonds. Gemologists can use these patterns to determine the origins of diamonds.

Spectroscopic Analysis

By examining the absorption and emission of different wavelengths of light, spectroscopes can detect the subtle differences in light behavior between natural and lab diamonds.

Understanding the 4CS and Their Significance

model posing with various pieces of lab grown diamond jewelry, including a ring and a stud earring

To buy lab diamonds with confidence, it’s essential to understand the 4Cs – Cut, Color, Clarity, and Carat Weight – and their significance. Here are some tips to help you make a wise purchase:

Cut: Refers to the proportions, symmetry, and polish of a diamond, which determine its brilliance and overall visual appeal. Lab grown diamonds are available in various cuts, such as round, princess, and emerald. Consider your preferences and desired sparkle when choosing a cut.

Color: Diamonds are graded on a scale from D (colorless) to Z (light yellow or brown). Lab grown diamonds offer an opportunity for color customization, allowing you to select a diamond with your preferred color grade. Keep in mind that some colored diamonds, known as fancy colors, are highly sought after for their unique hues.

Clarity: Evaluates the presence of inclusions and blemishes within the diamond. Lab grown diamonds typically have fewer inclusions than natural diamonds due to their controlled growth environment. When evaluating clarity, consider your preference for a flawless appearance.

Carat Weight: Refers to the diamond’s size and is often a crucial factor in selecting a diamond. Lab grown diamonds are available in various carat weights, allowing you to choose the size that best suits your style and budget.

Confirm the Authenticity of a Diamond

model posing with various pieces of lab grown diamond jewelry, including multiple rings and tennis bracelets

Request a reputable grading certificate from an independent gemological laboratory. This document provides vital information about the diamond’s characteristics, including its cut, color, clarity, and carat weight. Request documentation from the seller that clearly states the diamond’s origin.

Certified Diamonds at Clean Origin

Each diamond sold at Clean Origin has a detailed certification report outlining its 4Cs and confirming its ethical and conflict-free status. This commitment to transparency ensures that you can make an informed decision, knowing the full story behind your beautiful gem.

Find the Perfect Lab Grown Diamond at Clean Origin

Clean Origin store

Are you looking for engagement rings and other wedding jewelry? Skip the crowded mall jewelers and browse our stunning selection online from the comfort of your home. We provide comprehensive education every step of the way to ensure that you can shop with confidence. Our diamond experts are always available to answer any questions and provide guidance via virtual appointments. If you prefer to browse our lab grown diamond jewelry selection in person, feel free to visit us at a nearby store!