What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear the word 'lab created diamonds'? Most of us would think that these diamonds are artificial and of inferior quality. However, this is a misconception that is ruling the minds. Labs created diamonds are optically, chemically and physically the same as mined diamonds that are extracted from the earth. As far as artificial diamonds are concerned, there are stimulants like cubic zirconia and moissanite.
Cubic zirconia and moissanite are diamond stimulants but cannot be called true carbon crystals. They do inherit the same physical and chemical properties as do natural diamonds do and therefore are sold for a much lower price than a lab created diamond or a mined diamond. In fact these diamond stimulants can be distinguished using a hand held device or even with the naked eye by an expert.
Pure Lab Grown Diamonds
There have been many attempts to create pure carbon lab grown diamonds in a controlled environment ever since the late 1800s. Presently, we have succeeded in producing lab grown diamonds in a controlled environment to such perfection that they are indistinguishable from mined diamonds to the naked eye. To differentiate between the two, one needs the services of a specialist that too with help of special equipment's to distinguish a mined diamond and a lab grown diamond.
Currently, there is a lack of awareness about the presence of lab grown diamonds in the market. Most novice customers associate it with being 'fake' and of cheap quality but this is not the case. Currently the market for pure carbon lab grown diamonds is mostly for industrial purposes, but things are slowly changing and people are adapting the use of lab grown diamonds. People are now being more aware of the fact that they can get the same quality or even better by spending far lesser amount buying a lab grown diamond than buying a mined diamond. Moreover most importantly using a lab grown diamond would not harm the environment and is sustainable option. However it goes without saying as we all know the loop holes of mined diamonds lead us to indirectly and unknowingly sponsoring civil unrest.
Man Made Diamonds vs. Mined Diamonds
Man Made Diamonds are grown in controlled environment with the best manufacturing processes available with complete professionalism. Man Made Diamonds are grown by creating or imitating the conditions below the earth surface where the mined diamonds are created, however the production of
Man Made Diamonds is non-controversial in all other ways. On the other hand, the mining of diamonds which were formed deep inside the Earth&ap's crust billions of years ago is a highly complex task. In West Africa, there are many illegal diamond mines operated by armed militias who rebel against UN-recognized governments and fund their operations using the sale of these mined diamonds. There have been many checks and balances put in place to stop this sale of 'blood diamonds' (which also includes the use of child labour) but everything has been in vain.
Mining for diamonds also contributes a lot to pollution and greenhouse gases; whereas Man made diamonds are eco-friendly. The entire diamond mining industry has been controlled by a set of oligopolistic companies which control the amount of diamonds they sell every year along with their prices. Man Made Diamond companies on the other hand are quite small and localized and cannot match the scale of these MNCs, but they do provide diamonds which are of a much better quality than mined diamonds.
Diamond Manufacturing Techniques
HPHT (High Pressure High Temperature) diamonds
The HPHT (High Pressure High Temperature) Diamonds mimics the way diamonds are produced naturally deep inside the Earth's crust. Special machines are used to build up the pressure of almost 60,000 atmospheres and temperatures of 2,500 degrees Celsius to start with the growth of HPHT diamonds. Special growth cells which contain elements needed for growing a diamond like highly refined graphite and a catalyst mixture consisting of metals and powders are planted into the HPHT chamber where consistent temperature increases up to 1,300 Degrees Celsius and more than 50,000 atmospheres of pressure is applied. The catalyst inside the cells transforms the cells from solid to molten form.
Within a few days and after a few conditions are met, the cooling process begins. This takes a few days and allows the carbon atoms to build on the atom seed. The cell is removed from the HPHT machine only when it is deemed to be sure that the growth cycle has been completed. The new rough HPHT diamond is then extracted and cleaned for the final cutting and polishing.
HPHT diamonds are then polished in similar way as that of Mined Diamonds along with other manufacturing processes. These Lab Grown Diamonds are used for both industrial as well as Gems & Jewelry sector.
CVD (Chemical Vapor Deposition) diamonds
CVD (Chemical Vapor Deposition) Diamonds are produced by heating ultra-rich carbon gases like methane in a controlled chamber until they allow the carbon atoms in the gas to separate. These carbon atoms then fall into a diamond substrate and build up layer-by-layer until they form rough CVD diamonds. This process takes between 6-10 weeks to yield gem grade IIA diamonds.
These CVD diamonds are also of much better quality than regular mined diamonds. However many people are not aware of the fact that these Lab Grown Diamonds are available to them at much better prices than mined diamonds.