Lab Grown Diamonds -All You Need to Know


History and Background

In the late 1700’s it was discovered that Diamonds were composed of pure carbon and since then the World has attempted to “create” Diamonds but it wasn’t until the mid 1900’s that scientists began to have some limited success.

Lab Grown Diamonds have been in production since the mid 1950’s. General Electric (“GE”) in the USA perfected the technique to “grow” Diamonds after much experimentation during a project named “Project Superpressure”.  The production of Lab Grown Diamonds would have occurred earlier but the advent of WWII hindered progress of the Project.

One of the most challenging aspects for GE was to produce suitable equipment robust enough to take the enormous heat and pressure required and then to discover the best technique, after extensive experimentation, to create Lab Grown Diamonds. The early yield would have been of very poor quality; small, brown or yellow chips at best.

By the 1970’s however, further advancements  and experimentation in the laboratory produced slightly better quality gems but still these were often yellow in colour due to the presence of nitrogen.

More recently the techniques and processes have been so substantially refined that, today, larger and clearer pieces of rough Lab Grown Diamonds  are produced for cutting and polishing into larger and superior quality stones that are more desirable and marketable.

The Science

The laboratory growing methods attempt to replicate what occurs naturally in the Earth over millions of years by mimicking the natural process.

Extreme high pressure of over 870,000 pounds per square inch and high temperatures of around 1300-1600 degrees centigrade are subjected upon the diamond “seed”. A high carbon material e.g. Graphite is added to a molten metal liquid, often iron, nickel and cobalt, and as the carbon material interacts with the diamond “seed” it begins to crystallise and form the rough Lab Grown Diamond.

Fancy coloured diamonds can also be produced by adding, for example, Nitrogen for yellow and Boron for blue.

Interesting Facts – Natural v- Lab Grown

The youngest natural diamond to be found is estimated to be around 900 million years old and the oldest, 3.4 billion years. As Earth is approximately 4.3 billion years old, we can compare the magnitude of time difference it takes for the creation of a natural diamond to the few weeks of creation in the laboratory.  It typically takes around 3-4 weeks to grow a rough (uncut and unpolished) Lab Grown Diamond that weights approximately 6.0ct. which once expertly cut and polished by an expert diamond cutter which is a highly skilled craft.

A diamond cutter’s skill is second to none. It is one of the most difficult processes in jewellery making. It takes years of apprenticeship under a skilled diamond cutter before one is allowed to cut and polish a rough diamond as there’s simply no room for error; once a diamond is cut, the brilliance and value is instantly influenced.

Lab Grown Diamonds are now also extensively used for industrial purposes, typically used in cutting tools, telescopes amongst others.

Natural -v- Lab Grown

When we compare Lab Grown Diamonds with Natural Diamonds, they are EXACTLY IDENTICAL in every way; they have the same chemical, physical and optical properties as mined diamonds and exhibit the same fire, scintillation and sparkle. But, of course, Lab Grown Diamonds can be purchased at a much lower price than a Natural Diamond which is why more and more people are choosing to invest in a Lab Grown Diamond.

Most Lab Grown Diamonds (typically over .25ct.) will be provided with a Diamond Certificate from World renowned the International Gemological Institute (“IGI”) or the Gemological Institute of America (“GIA”)

There are now available to diamond traders across the Globe highly sophisticated detection devices which is the only sure way to differentiate between Natural and Lab Grown Diamonds.