Each laboratory-created diamond is grown by placing a diamond ‘seed’ into a chamber of heat and pressure. This chamber mimics the natural growing process. Crystallization occurs allowing the lab-grown diamond to mature within six to ten weeks. It is then cut, polished and graded by the same world-renowned labs that certify earth-mined diamonds. The following technique are most commonly used by laboratories:
CHEMICAL VAPOR DEPOSITION (CVD)
Chemical Vapor Deposition, or CVD, is a process used to create gem-grade diamonds as well as optics and semiconductors. The CVD process uses ultra-pure carbon-rich gasses in a controlled chamber. Carbon-based gasses, such as methane, are heated until they break apart allowing the carbon atoms within the gas to separate. These tiny carbon atoms fall onto a diamond substrate and build up layers resulting in a rough diamond crystal. This process takes between six to ten weeks and yields gem-grade Type IIa diamonds.
In recent years, CVD research has gained popularity and now modified versions of CVD are being used. These processes differ in the means by which chemical reactions are initiated. Some of these variations include:
It is important to note the major distinction between lab diamonds and diamond simulants. Diamond simulants, such as cubic zirconia and moissanite, look similar to diamonds but are not true carbon crystals. Simulants do not have the same chemical and physical properties as natural diamonds and therefore sell at much lower prices than man made diamonds. Simulants can be distinguished from natural or lab grown diamonds using only the naked eye.
Natural and lab grown diamonds have thermal conductivity properties that differentiate them from cubic zirconia with a handheld diamond tester. Some lab diamonds, along with some natural colored diamonds, may be mistakenly identified as moissanites when using certain diamond testers due to similarity in their electrical conductivity.
Our lab grown diamonds display the same physical, chemical, and optical characteristics as natural diamonds, and exhibit the same fire, scintillation, and sparkle. Using a jewelry loupe, man made diamonds are impossible to differentiate from natural diamonds. Lab created diamonds may exhibit different trace elements than natural diamonds that do not affect the appearance of the diamond. Lab grown diamonds can be distinguished from natural diamonds only with tests using specialized equipment. Lab created diamonds available for purchase should always come with a gem certification identifying them as laboratory grown.
It takes approximately 2-3 weeks to grow a rough diamond that will yield a 1ct polished gemstone.
Cutting and polishing may take another 4-8 weeks. The longer a rough is left in the reactor, the greater chance of developing more inclusions or cracks.