How Are Lab Grown Diamonds Made, Anyway?
Updated: Jul 23, 2020
If you’re thinking of choosing a lab-grown diamond for your engagement ring, then you’re already moving in a great direction! Lab grown diamonds are diamonds you can feel as good about buying as you do about wearing. That’s because not only are they better for the planet than traditional, mined diamonds… they are also better for your budget, often by as much as 30%!
So just what is a lab grown diamond, and how are they made, anyway?
The answer to the first question is this:
A lab-grown diamond is a diamond, plain and simple. Chemically and optically, lab-grown diamonds are indistinguishable from Earth-mined diamonds.
In fact, even the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has investigated lab-grown diamonds and come to the conclusion that in every possible way, they are real, uncompromised diamonds, completely comparable to naturally-occurring diamonds.
So how is a lab grown diamond made?
Remember when you were a kid, and you or someone you knew had their very own microscope? It came with thin glass slides and each slide contained a different substance to observe under that high-powered lens…
Well, lab-grown diamonds begin similarly, except instead of a glass slide… the whole “slide” is made of diamond: a perfectly clear, thin, sheet of diamond. And because it’s made of diamond, it contains the exact anatomical blueprint for a diamond.
Once this sheet of diamond is placed in the reactor, carbon, the world’s most abundant element, is added. Believe it or not, diamonds, the rarest of all materials, are made of carbon, the most common material. A diamond’s rarity has nothing to do with its chemical makeup, and everything to do with the incredible conditions under which it forms.
Once carbon is exposed to the heat and pressure of the plasma reactor, atom by atom, the diamond’s crystalline structure begins to form, exactly as it would deep in the earth when carbon is exposed to the heat and pressure nearer the planet’s core.
In nature, diamonds started forming about 3.3 billion years ago. Then, once formed, they began their long journey towards Earth’s surface. Remember, even our deepest mines are surface level in geological terms. We can’t approach anywhere near deep enough to get diamonds where they develop, so we have to wait for these diamonds to be pushed far enough up for us to retrieve them. In a lab, however, a one-carat diamond grows in just 10 days, and is instantly within reach!
That time difference is significant. Not only does the availability of a lab-grown diamond make it less expensive, but the pristine environment of a lab actually raises the quality of the finished
diamond. Yes, you read that correctly.
All too often, while an Earth mined diamond is forming, it will be exposed to gases or debris that can cause a murky hue or even a defined blemish in the finished diamond. Lab grown diamonds, by comparison, tend to be brighter and have higher clarity scores than traditional, mined diamonds.
However, this controlled environment doesn’t mean your lab-grown diamond is any less unique than a mined diamond. Think of it along the same lines as a human pregnancy. Babies, generally speaking, all form the same way, but each resulting child is completely unique. The same is true for trees and animals and diamonds.
Diamonds are a work of nature. They grow according to their own natural properties, and while we can recreate the conditions for growth, the crystal that results from these conditions will be just as one-of-a-kind as any tree or person.
Lab grown diamonds offer all the spectrums in color as Earth-grown diamonds. They offer all the sizes, sparkle, and luster. They just do it a lot more quickly, and a lot more easily on Mother Nature, which is why we whole-heartedly rejoice when couples choose lab-grown diamonds for their one-of-a-kind engagement ring.