Finding Better Jewelry

2 Processes Used To Create Lab-Grown Diamonds

by Cody Day

A lot of different terms are used to describe the diamonds that are featured in jewelry settings. You may come across the term "synthetic diamond" and assume that these diamonds are fakes.

A synthetic diamond is essentially one that has been grown in a laboratory setting rather than being mined from the Earth. Scientists have come up with two advanced processes that can be used to create diamonds that are identical in molecular structure and chemical composition to the diamonds found in nature.

1. High-Pressure, High-Temperature Diamonds

Pressure and temperature are the two most important factors when it comes to diamond production. Natural diamonds are super-heated deep within the Earth's core and exposed to tremendous pressure from the Earth's mantle. Volcanic explosions help to bring hardened diamonds to the surface, where they can be mined and transformed into gemstones.

The high-pressure, high-temperature process used in a lab setting can mimic natural conditions. A small diamond seed is placed into a chunk of carbon. The carbon is then heated and pressed using either a belt, cubic, or split-sphere press.

The heat and pressure cause the carbon to melt and then harden into a diamond crystal structure around the starter seed. Once the desired size has been reached, the lab-grown diamond is removed from the press and cut into a faceted gemstone just like a natural diamond would be.

2. Chemical Vapor Deposition Diamonds

The second process used in a lab setting to create diamonds relies more on scientific principles than the replication of natural processes.

Chemical vapor deposition begins with a diamond seed being placed into a heated and sealed chamber. When the correct temperature is reached, a carbon-rich gas (like Methane) is pumped into the chamber.

Scientists then ionize the gas within the chamber. The ionization process breaks down the molecular bond between the different elements contained within the gas. The carbon elements will separate and become deposited onto the diamond seed, forming a diamond as it crystallizes inside the chamber.

Lab-grown diamonds are not fake. They are real diamonds that have been created in a controlled setting.

You may want to consider a lab-grown diamond for your diamond ring setting if you want to acquire a larger stone with a smaller price tag, you have ethical concerns about mined diamonds, or you want a diamond with a specific color and clarity that can be difficult to find in nature.