With lab-grown diamonds gaining popularity thanks to being cost-effective, truly conflict-free, and eco-friendly, it’s time to establish that not all lab-grown diamonds are created equally. Just as there are several variances in Earth-formed differences, there are also many variances in diamonds that are grown in the lab. One of the most obvious differences is the pricing — and at New World Diamonds, we are proud to offer the most affordable diamonds in the industry. We’re able to keep our prices low because we own our own lab and therefore cut out the middleman costs. But that’s not the only difference. There are other variances that, as a consumer, you should be aware of. In this blog, we’ll break down some of the common differences among lab-created diamonds.
What IS the Same
Let’s go ahead and establish this first. Across the board, all diamonds that are grown in a lab are made from the element carbon, just as an Earth-formed diamond is. This is important to point out because some newcomers believe that lab-grown diamonds are “synthetic”, like cubic zirconium or moissanite loose stones. But that’s not true. All lab-grown diamonds have the same elemental structure and the same chemical, physical, and optical properties as mined diamonds.
They also are cut and polished the same as mined diamonds are — well, the process is the same anyway. Lab-grown diamonds have an edge when it comes to cutting and polishing, as many mined diamonds are sent to India to be cut and polished. There, unfortunately, children are exploited and forced into child labor to cut and polish the mined diamonds. This is not true with created diamonds, however, which makes them the only true ethical choice.
Methods To Grow Diamonds
This is where things start to deviate when it comes to creating diamonds. Although there are several methods for growing diamonds in the lab, there are two main processes that dominate production: High Pressure, High Temperature (HPHT), and Chemical Vapor Distillation (CVD). HPHT essentially mimics the formation of diamonds in the Earth by crystallizing carbon via extreme heat and pressure. As you can imagine, this requires a tremendous amount of energy and is, therefore, the less eco-friendly method. Another downside of using HPHT is that it’s difficult to produce colorless diamonds with this method; most of the diamonds grown from HPHT are yellowish or brown in color (source).
Enter CVD. It is the superior process for growing loose stones, AND it is more environmentally-friendly thanks to the significantly lower amount of energy that it requires. According to GIA, “CVD synthetic diamonds began appearing in the gem diamond market about a decade ago. The process involves introducing a gas, such as methane, into a vacuum chamber, then activating and breaking down the molecules of the gas with microwaves. This causes the carbon atoms to accumulate on a substrate (a small platform containing a flat diamond seed crystal, usually an HPHT synthetic), similar to the way snowflakes accumulate in a snowfall. The CVD method is much less costly because it works at moderate temperatures and low pressure, which requires smaller and less expensive equipment. Because the vacuum chamber contains only carbon and some hydrogen, colorless crystals can be grown.”
Certification for Lab-Grown Diamonds
This is another major difference when it comes to lab-grown diamonds: some are certified, and some are not. At New World Diamonds, we take certification very seriously and ensure that every diamond we sell is accompanied by a third-party lab certificate. However, some of our competitors don’t take the same quality measures. Lightbox, a De Beers-owned company, for example, does not have any of their diamonds certified. This is why certification is so important:
“A certified diamond has been scientifically measured and evaluated for the 4Cs and other characteristics. Graduate gemologists in highly secure laboratories use high-powered microscopes and other sensitive instruments to study and measure the inclusions, blemishes, polish, symmetry, and color of a diamond. Operated independently of any diamond mines, dealers or retailers, these labs provide unbiased evaluations of diamonds. Every diamond is examined separately by several gemologists who assign grades that are accurate, consistent and reliable.”
Basically, your certification is your diamond’s report card that ensures it is high-quality and exactly what you paid for. Certification offers true peace of mind when it comes to buying diamond jewelry or loose stones alike. Because certification is so important to us, we wrote an entire blog on it that you can check out here >
Variances in Availability
One of the common myths about lab-grown diamonds is that they are going to flood the marketplace. This simply isn’t true due to the massive quantities of diamonds that have been mined from the Earth; with lab-created diamonds just recently becoming gemstone quality, coupled with the time it takes to create them (usually six to ten weeks), lab-grown diamonds are much less available than mined diamonds. As such, you’ll see variances in availability among various jewelers who sell created diamonds.
For example, although the world of colored diamonds is gaining momentum in the lab as scientists make continuous breakthroughs, some jewelers don’t have certain colors available yet. The same is true for sizes, shapes, and cuts. It won’t be guaranteed, for instance, that you can find a blue princess cut lab-grown loose stone at any given jeweler. However, at New World Diamonds we do have a wide range of colored diamonds and white diamonds alike (see for yourself!). And, we’re happy to work with you to make custom jewelry pieces; we can even add loose stones to your existing jewelry if you so desire.
While you can see that there are differences in the quality, price, and availability of lab-grown diamonds, it’s still safe to say that they are the superior choice in the debate over lab-created or Earth-formed. If you want high-quality diamond jewelry that protects against human exploitation and promotes sustainability, you’ll love our collections.