Mined diamonds form deep within the Earth’s mantle, requiring billions of years and extreme heat and pressure in order to grow. But thanks to modern technology and the manufacturing of diamonds, lab grown diamonds are now a stunning and popular alternative.
In this post, we’ll explore the science behind lab created diamonds. We’ll look at how they form, their characteristics, and their industrial uses. We will even go over the ethical and environmental benefits they offer over mined diamonds.
What We’re Going to Discuss
- Diamonds form deep in the Earth’s mantle, but they can also be grown in a laboratory via high pressure high temperature (HPHT) and chemical vapor deposition (CVD) methods.
- Lab grown diamonds are affordable compared to mined diamonds. They’re also an ethical and environmentally-friendly alternative to natural diamonds because they can be produced without mining.
- Diamonds, both natural and mined, have a variety of industrial uses.
How Diamonds Form Within the Earth
Naturally occurring diamonds, aka mined diamonds or natural diamonds, form under immense pressure and intense heat deep within the Earth’s mantle.
It takes billions of years for a natural diamond to grow in the Earth. But thanks to ground-breaking science, we now have ways to create diamonds in a lab. This innovation has changed the diamond industry forever, because it offers an alternative to traditional mined diamonds (which are often referred to as “real” diamonds).
Two main methods are used to create lab grown diamonds (also called synthetic diamonds): high pressure high temperature (HPHT) and chemical vapor deposition (CVD).
While they may be man-made, lab diamonds have the same optical, physical, and chemical properties as naturally mined diamonds.
Natural Diamond Formation
Mother Nature’s recipe for creating natural diamonds is a long process. It begins by subjecting carbon to extreme pressure and temperature conditions deep within the Earth’s mantle.
Over a period of billions of years, carbon atoms bond together in a unique crystalline structure to form the diamonds we know and love.
Natural diamonds usually have inclusions and blemishes. They also display unique characteristics, like dispersion and hardness, which jewelers and gemologists look for to tell them apart from fake diamonds.
In terms of hardness, natural diamonds are known to be one of the hardest natural substances. And on the Mohs scale of hardness they score a ten, which is the highest score a material can receive.
Lab Grown Diamond Formation
High pressure high temperature (HPHT) and chemical vapor deposition (CVD) are the two methods used today to produce lab diamonds.
Both methods work by replicating the conditions that occur deep within the Earth’s mantle, where natural diamonds form. The result is a lab created diamond with the same chemical, physical, and optical properties as a naturally formed diamond.
By subjecting carbon to extreme temperatures and pressures, the HPHT method mimics the high-pressure, high-temperature conditions of the Earth’s mantle.
A small diamond seed is placed in carbon and exposed to these conditions, causing the carbon to melt and form a diamond around the seed. The diamond is heated to extreme temperatures in order to form its solid structure.
After forming, the rough diamond is then cooled and cut into a flawless gem.
A CVD diamond is formed by placing diamond seeds in a vacuum chamber filled with carbon-rich gasses. Those gasses are then heated to high temperatures, causing the carbon to deposit onto the seeds and form diamond crystals.
Using either of the above methods, lab diamonds can be created within weeks–unlike natural diamonds that take billions of years.
The end product is a diamond that is pretty much indistinguishable from a natural diamond in terms of appearance and properties.
HPHT Diamond Characteristics
It’s worth noting that HPHT diamonds are known for their incredible color. HPHT diamonds tend to receive higher color grades because they are often whiter and brighter than CVD diamonds.
HPHT diamonds also come in a variety of colors, not just white. You can find HPHT diamonds in colors ranging from blue to pink, yellow to brown.
The HPHT method is also used to improve the color of natural diamonds. It’s been known to brighten diamonds with brown or yellow tinges quite a bit, resulting in a higher color grade. If you do happen to purchase an HPHT color-treated diamond, it should say so on the diamond certificate.
CVD Diamond Characteristics
Diamonds created with the CVD method also come in a variety of colors. And while many of the first CVD diamonds tended to show brown or yellow tints, this has since changed thanks to improvements in technology.
Comparing Lab Grown and Natural Diamonds
Many factors come into play when you are trying to decide between lab grown and natural diamonds. Both types of diamonds have the same optical, physical, and chemical properties–so how do you choose?
You can start by considering that lab grown diamonds are more cost-effective, ethically responsible, and environmentally friendly than natural diamonds. How? Because they can be produced without mining, which can often have negative environmental and social impacts.
Identifying Lab Grown Diamonds
The average consumer likely wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between a natural diamond and a lab created diamond. One way you can tell if a diamond is lab grown is to look for a laser inscription on its girdle. The inscription indicates it’s a lab created diamond.
But the most reliable way to tell whether or not a diamond is lab grown is to check its certification.
A diamond certificate ensures the diamond was thoroughly examined and certified by a professional gemological laboratory. Both natural diamonds and lab diamonds are graded by respected laboratories around the world, such as the GIA, IGI, and GCAL.
Ethical and Environmental Considerations
The mined diamond industry is notorious for it’s unethical mining practices that harm both people and the environment. Compared to natural diamonds, lab grown diamonds are a more ethical and environmentally-friendly option.
When you choose between a lab grown diamond and natural diamond, be sure to think about the price, ethical and environmental considerations, and your personal preferences.
When you buy lab grown, you own a beautiful, high-quality gemstone that did not harm the Earth or its inhabitants.
Industrial and Other Uses of Lab Grown Diamonds
Aside from being used to make beautiful diamond jewelry, lab grown diamonds are also excellent for industrial purposes. In fact, the first lab grown diamonds were mostly used for industrial purposes because they were not the greatest quality.
According to Britannica, industrial diamonds are used mostly for cutting tools or as an abrasive, they are “…too badly flawed, irregularly shaped, poorly coloured, or small to be of value as gems, but they are of vital importance in the modern metalworking and mining industries.”
In addition to their industrial uses, diamond-covered burrs are also used in surgeries. They’re even used for aesthetic facial treatments, such as for diamond-tip microdermabrasion facials.
The Future of Diamond Manufacturing
In the future, advancements in diamond production technology and techniques in manufacturing could pave the way for more efficient creation of lab grown diamonds.
If their current popularity growth tells us anything, we expect the demand for lab grown diamonds to continue growing. Socially-conscious consumers care about how the money they spend affects the environment and others. And the lab diamond offers a 100% guarantee their purchase is both environmentally-kind and socially responsible
With their growing popularity, it seems that the future of diamonds is not only bright but also responsible and innovative.
Some Final Thoughts on the Manufacturing of Diamonds
In this post we’ve unpacked the science behind the formation of lab diamonds, the methods used to create them, as well as the benefits and applications they offer.
We’ve explained how lab grown diamonds are an ethical and environmentally-friendly alternative to natural diamonds. And we’ve also shown how they provide consumers with a more affordable and sustainable option.
As we continue to grow our knowledge of how diamonds form, we can see that the possibilities lab grown diamonds offer us are endless. From stunning jewelry to industrial applications, the future of diamonds has limitless potential.
Clean Origin Lab Created Diamonds
Are you ready to purchase the diamond of your dreams? We have just what you’re looking for. Our lab diamonds are affordable and cost anywhere from 30-50% less than natural diamonds, and they shine just as brightly.
And if you’re in the market for an engagement ring, we have a large selection of exquisite lab grown diamond engagement rings to choose from. But if you prefer a custom engagement ring, we give you the option to build one that suits your taste.
Our diamond experts are on hand to help you find the right diamond jewelry to fit your budget. And if you prefer to talk to someone in person, be sure to see if there is a Clean Origin showroom near you.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the manufacturing methods for lab diamonds?
The manufacturing process of lab diamonds includes high pressure high temperature (HPHT) technology and chemical vapor deposition (CVD). Both processes involve exposing carbon to immense heat and pressure.
Are diamonds man made now?
Yes, diamonds can be man made and are just as real as diamonds mined from the Earth.
Lab grown diamonds made in a controlled environment are identical to natural diamonds in every way. They are created using advanced technology that replicates the conditions in which diamonds grow deep underground in the Earth’s mantle.
How long does it take to manufacture a diamond?
It takes between 1 billion and 3.3 billion years for a diamond to form naturally, while lab grown diamonds can be created in as little as six to ten weeks.
Is the HPHT diamond real or fake?
The HPHT diamond is a real diamond made from carbon, just like a natural diamond. The only difference between an HPHT lab diamond and a natural diamond is their origin.
What are the differences between lab grown and natural diamonds?
Lab grown diamonds are created in a lab, whereas natural diamonds are formed deep within the Earth’s mantle over a long period of time.
Diamonds grown in a lab are identical to mined diamonds. They also have ethical and environmental advantages compared to natural diamonds.