Natural Diamonds Vs. Lab-Grown Diamonds

Natural Diamonds

Natural Diamonds are timeless. They were created over a billion years ago. They are divided into Type I and Type II based on their impurities. When grading a diamond for clarity only those impurities visible by a trained eye under 10X magnification is considered.

Type I Diamonds

Type Ia diamonds contain nitrogen. Type Ia is the most plentiful. The nitrogen atoms are in clusters. Their color varies from near-colorless to light yellow.

Type Ib diamonds have isolated nitrogen atoms. They are rare and often bright canary yellow.

Type II Diamonds

Type IIa diamonds have no measurable level of nitrogen.

Type IIb have no measurable nitrogen or boron traces. They are mostly colorless but may also be light shades of brown. The famous “Hope Diamond” is a Type IIb natural diamond.

Lab-Grown Diamonds

Exhibit the same physical, chemical and visual properties as natural diamonds. Colorless lab-grown diamonds are Type II. Yellow lab-grown diamonds are Type Ib. Lab-Grown diamonds are not imitations or simulates. They are diamonds.

Lab-Grown Diamonds sell for less than Natural Diamonds of equal quality.

There are two ways to create lab-grown diamonds.

High-Pressure High-Temperature (HPHT)

HPHT is the process to grow diamonds using diamond presses. They mimic the extreme conditions that form natural diamonds within Earth’s upper mantle. In the early stages of HPHT the lab-diamonds where for industrial use. The method has improved since the process was first used in 1955. HPHT diamonds are grown in a cubo-octahedral structure.

Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD)

Starts with a natural diamond slice or seed in a chamber. Gas is injected in the chamber and combined with high heat. The electrons separate and form plasma gas. The free carbon then accumulates on the seed, growing new diamond crystals. This method mostly creates brown or gray diamonds, that are then turned into colorless diamonds through a HPHT annealing process. CVD diamonds are grown in a tabular structure.

What are diamond simulants?

They may appear as a diamond. They may be of a natural or synthetic substance. They differ in physical and optical properties that a trained eye may detect. Most are purchased to save money or for the look of a diamond but not a diamond. Simulates are not lab-grown diamonds. The most popular simulates are cubic zirconia (cz), moissanite and the natural gems white sapphire and white topaz.

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All information deemed reliable but not guaranteed.