“Diamonds are a girl’s best friend” sang Marilyn Monroe in a 1950s jazz hit. Is the saying still true? We’ll let you decide. But what we can tell you is that there is a real change in how diamonds are now created.
Natural diamonds are created from the Earth’s natural resources, mined from the result of billions of years of underground activity. But a new form of production is taking over: lab-grown diamonds.
Production Of Lab-grown Diamonds
Similarly to mined diamonds, laboratory-grown diamonds are created under maximal pressure and heat. The crucial difference is that mined diamonds are created when carbon, hundreds of miles below the earth’s surface, undergoes immense pressure over time combined with the heat from intense volcanic eruptions.
These eruptions release heat, pushing large rocks closer to the surface where they can be mined. Lab-grown diamonds, on the other hand, mimic this process but on a much smaller, more controlled scale.
There are two methods of creation for lab-grown diamonds; High-Pressure High-Temperature (HPHT) and Chemical Vapour Disposition (CVD). Don’t worry, we won’t be testing you on the names!
Both methods sound like very technical processes- and they are. It all starts with a small ‘seed’ or sample of a real diamond, which is then either heated within a carbon gas chamber, or heated within extreme temperatures and pressure in a laboratory.
Mined Vs. Lab-Grown Diamonds
There’s something incredible about the origins of mined diamonds. Created billions of years ago under the depths of the earth. And for some, this is enough reason to buy a mined diamond, making them so valuable.
Mined diamonds are often known as ‘blood diamonds’ as they come from conflicted areas where they may have been sold to fund armed conflicts or civil disturbances. They’re associated with a history of child labor, human rights violations and poor working conditions. Whereas, synthetic diamonds have a clean history and a trackable source.
Lab-grown diamonds, however, are impressive in their own realm. The development of advanced technology has allowed something so beautiful to be created by humans in a controlled setting.
In a world where human activity is having a growing effect on the planet, consumers are increasingly placing more value on sustainability, and seeking products that have less of an impact on the environment is more than justified.
Since lab-grown diamonds do not require the mining of the earth’s natural resources, they are considered to be more environmentally-friendly (although there is a debate to whether the level of carbon emissions counteract this).
Natural diamonds require the use of heavy digging machinery and transportation but the process does create jobs in less developed countries.
So, if there’s little direction of your decision to buy either based on the above- what about when it comes to appearance?
Do They Appear The Same?
There are very few physical differences between the two.
Both lab-grown and natural diamonds are dazzling in appearance and both have almost identical internal atomic structures. Looking at them side by side, it would be a challenge to tell the difference.
While naturally grown diamonds encompass colours and tones derived from the various molecules ingrained over billions of years, synthetic diamonds can be created in a rainbow of colours including yellow, green and blue, and usually contain less impurities.
Making the decision between mined or lab-grown diamonds is difficult, and while there are many pro’s and con’s to both, ultimately it comes down to personal preference. However, we’d ultimately have to recommend the lab-grown diamond due to the ethical and sustainability benefits.