Natural diamonds are created in the compressing pressure and heat of the earth’s mantle. This is about 100 miles underground. Most diamonds mined today were formed billions of years ago. The planet then was much hotter than it is today.
Miners then have to access this far down the earth’s crust to extract the natural diamonds.
Lab-grown diamonds are different in both formation and access.
Lab-grown diamonds are diamonds created under intense heat inside and under pressure. This happens inside a machine as opposed to deep within the earth’s crust. This negates the need for exploration and mining.
How they are grown?
There are two main ways to grow diamonds.
The first starts with a seed, where a slither of another diamond is used to grow the new one.
The premier lab-grown diamond was made by using a high-pressure, high-temperature (HPHT) system. Here, the seed is placed in pure graphite carbon before exposure to temperatures of 1500C. In a chamber, the heated compounds are then pressurized to 1.5 million pounds per square.
This heat and pressure start to melt the carbon. When this happens, a diamond starts to form around the original diamond seed. The new diamond is then cooled carefully.
The second method uses the CVD (Chemical Vapor Deposition) process.
The CVD process begins by placing the seed in a carbon-rich chamber. This is then heated to around 800 C. the carbon-rich gases are usually methane and hydrogen.
Using a technology similar to that of microwaves and lawyers, these gases are ionized in hot plasma. Essentially, this tech breaks down the molecular bond of the gas.
Under these conditions, pure carbon sticks to the seed, which then causes a diamond to grow one atom and a time. Additional treatments can be applied to change or enhance the diamond’s color.
How Long Does This Process Take?
It takes billions of years to create mined diamonds. By contrast, lab-grown diamonds can be grown in under a month.
At two-plus weeks, white diamonds take the longest to grow, with blue and yellow ones taking 5 to 10 days. Still, the process needs to be carried out slowly and carefully to prevent diamonds from fracturing, which affects their quality.
How They Differ From Mined Diamonds?
Manufactured and mined diamonds look the same, at times, even to a trained eye.
To distinguish them, you would need a specialized gemologist and specialized equipment designed to identify lab diamonds.
Save for being similar chemically and optically, mined and lab-grown diamonds do have some differences.
The first is the process. Mined ones take billions of years to be formed, while lab-grown diamonds can be created in less than a month.
The second is cost. Because of how they come about and their specialized exploration and mining processes, mined diamonds tend to cost significantly higher than manufactured diamonds.
In recent times, people are being put off by the socially irresponsible tactics of the diamond mining industry. However, Play with Diamonds can sell you wholesale diamond jewelry that is either Lab-Grown or naturally mined from ethically sourced, and conflict-free.