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Firstly, a lab-grown diamond is 100% a real diamond: chemically, physically, and optically identical to a Mined diamond in every way. Mined diamonds are forged in the intense pressure and tremendous heat of the Earth’s mantle around 100 miles underground before being expelled ferociously and at incredible speed towards the surface. Most were formed between 1 billion and 3 billion years ago. One of the most amazing aspects of a diamond is the amount of time it took to form. Diamonds were on earth’s surface long before we were, and beneath it even longer. The recipe for lab-grown diamonds, while considerably less time consuming (usually completed in days, rather than aeons) is no less complex, similarly created using extreme pressure and heat, but, as the name suggests, the conditions are replicated inside a laboratory rather than the fiery belly of our Earth.
There are two ways to grow a diamond. Both involve starting with the 'seed” a flat slither of another diamond. The first uses High Pressure and High Temperature (HPHT), where the seed is placed amidst pure graphite carbon and exposed to temperatures of about 1,500C and pressurised to approximately 1.5 million pounds per square inch in a chamber until the carbon melts and a diamond is formed more recently, another way to grow a diamond was developed, called Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD). This involves putting the seed in a sealed chamber filled with carbon-rich gas and heating to around 800C. Under these conditions, the gases rain on to and 'stick” to the seed, growing a diamond atom by atom.
Typically CVD lab-grown diamonds are Type 2a diamonds and have no measurable nitrogen impurities. Type 2a diamonds make up 1–2% of all-natural diamonds. Type 2a diamonds are almost or entirely devoid of impurities a Type 2a diamond of a given colour, clarity, and make will out sparkle a non Type 2a stone with the same colour, clarity, and make.
Absolutely, yes. Lab-grown diamonds, usually over half a carat are graded and certified at the same certification labs, using the same process as mined diamonds. Most of these labs grade using the four c’s cut, clarity, colour, and carat. The diamond grading laboratories listed below are the largest, probably the strictest, and certainly and most well-known of the international gemological centers. There are subtle differences in grading techniques, but the overall consensus is usually very close between these institutions.
IGI (International Gemological Institute) - http://www.igiworldwide.com/
GIA (Gemological Institute of America) - http://www.gia.edu/
HRD (Antwerp World Diamond Centre) - http://www.hrd.be/
GCAL (Gems Certification & Assurance Lab) - https://www.gcalusa.com/
Several years ago, the mined diamond industry came under fire when unethical production practices were exposed. These resulting diamonds often referred to as conflict, or blood diamonds were found to be funding violent conflict and human rights abuses. As with mining of any natural resource, diamond mining has a significant impact on the environment, to quote the New York Times 'few industries in the world have a larger environmental and social footprint than mining”. There are 282 productive diamond mines in the world, the top 10 have an estimated 1.92 billion carats of diamond yet to be mined an estimated 250 tonnes of the earth is shifted for every single carat of diamond. Indeed, some mines are now so huge they can be seen from space. It is worth noting however that Lab Grown diamonds take a great amount of energy to enable their growth too but are inherently less detrimental to the environment A 2014 report by consulting firm Frost & Sullivan also showed that mined diamonds require twice as much energy per carat than those grown in a lab.No surprise then that Lab Grown Diamonds are fast gaining popularity as the wants and needs of our generation changes. A Lab-Grown Diamond is a real diamond, they have the same chemical, physical and visual properties as Traditionally Mined Diamonds. There is no visual difference between Lab-Grown Diamonds and Traditionally Mined Diamonds. They sparkle the same, have the same hardness, have the same types of colour and clarity, and can come in the same sizes and shapes. Certificated Lab-Grown diamonds have the word LAB-GROWN laser inscribed on the girdle of the stone. Lab-Grown Diamonds or Eco friendly, have a green footprint, Traditionally Mined Diamonds do not.