The diamond market, like the precious metals market, has some unique products that jewelry lovers and those looking for special gifts can choose from. Maybe you’re interested in bright colored round jewels, emeralds, or other unique looking 5 carat pieces. But one thing to consider is whether you should buy naturally grown and mined diamonds, or whether lab made diamonds are a better option. There are great cases to make for lab diamonds that you may not have known about.
Lab Made Diamonds Are Not Imitation Stones
If the phrase “lab created diamonds” is mentioned, you might mistakenly think it refers to pseudo diamonds that are made to look like real diamonds but in fact are not. Imitation diamonds are often very cheap compared to authentic diamonds, and they are made from materials such as colored glass, moissanite, zirconia and strontium titanate that can be stimulated to take on diamond shapes. Synthetic or lab grown diamonds are not made from these materials but are instead made from the same kinds of minerals as natural diamonds. The one difference being that a lab is a controlled environment and allows the diamond forming process to happen much quicker than it would in the earth’s crust.
Synthetic Diamond Production
Diamonds that are mined from the earth are formed when heat from the earth’s magma chamber affects the minerals deposited down there, and the pressure and heat causes them to crystallize. Lab grown diamonds, on the other hand, are created using processes like chemical vapor deposition (CVD), flame fusion, or hydrothermal growth. The CVD process involves the mineral being placed in a chamber where hydrogen and methane are present, and as it’s sealed and heated, it ionizes and the carbon in the chamber adheres to the mineral. Over time the crystallization process occurs and the diamond is created. Flame fusion is a little similar though it uses an open flame furnace to crystallize the gem. Hydrothermal growth uses heated water in the process.
The Pros Of Buying Lab Created Diamonds
Why are lab made diamonds sometimes a better option than buying natural diamonds? There are three main reasons:
-They cost less
-Their quality can appear finer
-There is no exploitation of human labor in the process
Don’t be mistaken; lab made diamonds can still be quite expensive depending on how they were made. But even the most expensive diamonds can be quite a bit cheaper than a mid-grade natural diamond. Also, natural diamonds will usually tend to exhibit a few flaws since the earth’s process for creating them and the extraction may damage them a little. Lab diamonds will tend to have less impurities and look finer in quality. In fact, most people including professional jewelers can’t even tell the difference between lab diamonds and natural diamonds just by looking at them. It usually takes an expert geologist to point out the difference. And one other reason you may want to go with lab made diamonds is to make sure you bought a product that didn’t involve labor at the expense of human rights. Many countries and world organizations have stepped up to end corrupt and exploitative labor practices where diamonds are mined, and these practices aren’t as common as they used to be. But there are a few places where they still happen.
The Cons Of Lab Made Diamonds
While lab made diamonds offer most of the same characteristics of natural diamonds, they aren’t quite the same. Natural diamonds have certain value retention characteristics like gold and silver that most lab made diamonds do not. They also don’t have the rarity factor that naturally mined diamonds have. That means that it is possible to own natural diamonds and sell them for a profit later if they’ve been carefully preserved and are in demand, though you shouldn’t consider this unless you are a real expert in diamonds. Lab diamonds on the other hand typically cannot be resold for any significant profit.
The bottom line is lab made diamonds usually are a less expensive option to naturally grown diamonds, and they’re a little easier to find. You should only buy them from a dealer who is transparent about their true value, and who is certified by prominent organizations like the Better Business Bureau.