The invention of lab-grown diamonds started in the 1950s; its first production did not have the clarity and color which is required in the production of fine jewelry. However, with continuous research in the production of lab-grown diamonds, the products became clearer and useful in the production of jewelry. Lab-grown diamonds are produced by replicating the conditions which are necessary for the formation of natural diamond in the Earth’s core.
Natural diamonds are produced under extreme heat and pressure. The temperature in the Earth’s core is above 2000 Fahrenheit, and pressure is more than 727,000 pounds. Carbon atoms in close proximity form together under this condition, thereby forming a hard and strong crystalline structure. Diamonds formed in the Earth’s core are transported to a few kilometers from the Earth’s surface by fast-moving molten magma, which then makes it available for exploration by man.
However, natural diamonds are not usually found in commercial quantities in the Earth’s crust. And the exploration or mining of natural diamonds usually involves heavy engineering, a lot of manpower, large pit excavation, and it is capital intensive. A lot of resources are always engaged just to extract one carat of diamond, and this is why natural diamonds are very expensive and rare.
Scientists started research into the production of lab-grown diamonds when natural diamonds are no longer enough to meet the increasing use and demand for diamonds. The two major methods which are used in the production of lab diamonds are High-Temperature High Pressure (HPHT) and Chemical Vapour Deposition (CVD) methods.
Lab-grown diamonds have the same optical, physical, refraction and chemical properties as natural diamonds and they can serve the same purpose as natural diamonds. However, due to the production process involved in the manufacturing of lab diamonds, trained gemmologists make use of a special instrument that can be used to distinguish lab-grown diamonds from natural diamonds.
High-Temperature High Pressure (HPHT) Method
The invention of this method was in the 1950s, and it works by replicating the high temperature (over 2000 Fahrenheit) and high pressure (727,000 pounds), under which natural diamonds are formed in a controlled laboratory environment.
This method begins with a small seed of diamond placed in pure carbon in a high-temperature high-pressure chamber. The heat in the chamber is increased to about 2000 Fahrenheit, which melts the carbon and therefore precipitates on the diamond, thereby forming larger diamonds.
Chemical Vapour Deposition
The use of this method started in the 1980s, and it is initiated by a small slice of diamond in a hydrocarbon mixture. The hydrocarbon is typically methane and hydrogen with a mixture ratio of 1:99, under a 900-degree Celsius (over 1650 Fahrenheit) temperature and 27Kpa pressure. The gas is ionized into active radicals in the growth chamber by the use of hot filament, microwave power and laser.
What are lab diamonds called?
The name “lab-grown diamonds” is due to the fact that this type of diamond is produced under the same conditions in which natural diamonds are created in a controlled environment. The invention of lab-grown diamonds has made diamonds available for both industrial and jewelry use. However, traditional jewelers believe that lab-grown diamonds are not as good as natural diamonds because of their rarity.
Since the invention of lab-grown diamonds, it has been called different names. In the early moments of the production of lab diamonds, it was first referred to as “synthetic diamonds” and “man-made diamonds”. The name synthetic diamond is because traditionalists believe that lab diamonds are not genuine because they are not natural. However, lab diamonds are not in any way inferior to natural diamonds, as both can serve the same purpose.
Based on Google query search in the year 2013, the name “lab-created diamonds” became popular against the name man-made diamonds. The rate at which the name “lab-created diamonds” was used for Google query search was as much as the rate at which the name “man-made diamonds”, which was the popular name at that time, was used. Therefore, by early 2017 man-made diamonds became predominantly used names for lab diamonds.
Moreover, in the year 2018, there was a major change in Google search queries. The use of the name “lab-grown diamonds” became predominant among Google search among users. However, this was due to the advertisement for the Lightbox diamond brand of De Beers, which used the name “lab-grown diamonds.”
Therefore, since the invention of lab diamonds, they have been called different names, and they are; synthetic diamonds, man-made diamonds, lab-created diamonds, cultured diamonds, and lab-grown diamonds. Lab diamonds are also named due to the method of manufacturing; therefore, they can be called High-temperature High-Pressure (HTHP) diamonds and Chemical Vapour Deposition (CVD) diamonds.
Moreover, it is worthy of note to know that no matter what lab diamonds are called, they do not differ in use from natural diamonds. Lab-grown diamonds are used in jewelry production (engagement rings, wedding rings, necklaces, bracelets, etc.) and industrial purposes such as drilling, cutting and polishing. other uses of diamonds are also found in the treatment of cancer, computer and as beauty agents.
Lab diamonds do not differ in appearance and chemical properties from natural diamonds. The major difference between the two types is that one is from a natural source, and the other is man-made in a laboratory. Therefore, the names which have been given to lab diamonds are just to differentiate it from natural diamonds. However, the recent most predominant name for lab diamonds is lab-grown diamonds.