There are many alternatives to naturally occurring diamonds introduced in markets during recent years, and in some cases people simply refer to these as “synthetic” or “man-made”. However, there’s are marked differences among these and in comparison to natural diamonds that you must know to make the right buying decision.
What is a natural diamond?
A natural diamond is made from carbon and is the hardest natural known substance on earth. Natural diamonds are created over a period of one to three billion years, at least 85 miles below the earth’s mantle under natural conditions of very high pressure and high temperature. Once a diamond has been created in these underground conditions, it travels via molten rock to the earth’s surface, where it is mined, refined, and turned into beautiful jewelry or used for industrial purposes. Learn more about how diamonds are formed.
What is a lab diamond?
A lab or man-made diamond is made under very similar conditions of very high pressure and high temperature. First a diamond seed is selected to undergo extreme conditions in a lab environment. After a few weeks, the diamond seed would have crystallized to a full rough diamond. Once done, it is then cut and polished. The end result is a diamond with the same chemical and optical properties of a natural diamond.
What are synthetic diamonds?
Synthetic diamonds are simply stones that only look like diamonds.
Synthetic diamonds are not true natural diamonds as they have either been manufactured or chemically altered. Simulated diamonds can include cubic zirconia, white sapphire, moissanite, zircon, rutile, spinel, and synthetic garnet.
Lab diamonds are not synthetic diamonds. Lab-grown diamonds look identical to a natural diamond. They have the same properties as natural diamonds, the only difference is that they are grown in a lab, whereas natural diamonds are formed in the earth.
Why prefer to buy natural diamonds?
1. A natural diamond’s value will usually increase over time with inflation. The larger a diamond the more rare it is, and this usually results in a good investment. The same applies for finding a diamond with perfect clarity and color.
2. Natural diamonds have been purchased and traded for many more years than lab or synthetic diamonds, making their pricing more stable over time.
3. Moreover, natural diamonds that may appreciate more quickly in value include fancy colors such as canary yellow diamonds which are considered investment grade. If looking to make a great investment in a diamond the rarest natural diamonds are red. Pink and blue are also considered higher value in terms of appreciation.
When consider buying lab diamonds?
1. Lab conditions resemble those of natural diamonds that take millions of years to form within the earth. Therefore, the result is the same chemical and optical properties as a natural diamond.
2. Because of the alternative offered by scientists in man-made diamonds, there is a shorter supply chain in terms of the diamond coming into the consumer’s hands. This reduces the cost for the end consumer. Therefore, lab grown diamonds provide a cost-effective alternative to the natural counterpart.
3. Lab technicians are constantly monitoring temperature and pressure for lab diamond seeds to grow. Therefore, these types of stones would never take hundreds of years to grow. This enables lab diamond shoppers to have ample options to choose from.
4. Lab grown means less impact on the environment, which means the diamond passes through fewer hands. A shorter supply chain could guarantee more transparency about the creation of your diamond.
Durability – Natural Vs Lab Diamonds
A natural diamond may be more durable over time than other stones. Because they rate a 10 on the Mohs Scale of Hardness, they are an ideal choice for everyday wear. Since something like an engagement ring will be worn every day, in most cases, a natural diamond is the most obvious choice. However, lab diamonds are also a great choice because they rate 9.25 on the Mohs Scale of Hardness. Natural and lab diamonds are the most durable stones you could wear on your finger.
Identifying Natural and Lab Diamonds
1. First, an interesting test is thermal conductivity. Diamonds conduct and react to heat. Some lab diamonds do not.
2. Second, their controlled lab creation can mean few or no clarity inclusions.
3. In a lab, they are often made very colorless so they look very white, to capture light and optimize sparkle.
4. Finally, If they are priced too well (up to 75% less than the price of a natural diamond), then you’ll have a signal that the diamond may not be natural.
Whether choosing a natural, lab-grown, or simulated diamond, it all comes down to personal preference. What’s important is having a diamond certified by a reputable gemologist, so that you know what you’re paying for.
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