In recent times, it is difficult to select a mined diamond from among an assortment of colorless stones, which appears to be shiny on exhibition at any jewelry store. Man-made diamonds are also referred to as synthetic diamonds and are believed to be products of imitation of the natural gem materials. Man-made diamonds do not undergo natural processes of intense geological conditions to attain the physical properties of mined diamonds as being transparency, hardness, and optical appearance.
Brenda Harwick is the manager of lab gemology instruction for GIA, and he proposed that, as long as diamond buyers know what they are buying as a matter of choice, man-made diamonds have a place in the diamond industries. If there can be other synthetics such as; synthetic ruby, sapphire, and emerald, it’s certainly not something new to have an alternative of synthetic jewelry too. The special terms used by industries that manufacture jewelry are either lab-grown, lab-created, man-made, or stimulants.
Composition of man-made diamonds
The growth structure defect and atomic level defects of lab-made diamonds allow easy identification from natural diamonds. Man-made diamonds only imitate the appearance of natural diamonds.
Regular simulants consist of sapphire, zircon, cubic zirconia, which is zirconium oxide, and moissanite, which is silicon carbide, all of these stimulants are colorless. The most important markets are the Cubic zirconia and synthetic moissanite.
They are either occurring naturally or made in a lab but in no wise share the chemical structure or physical composition of natural or mined diamonds. This is because stimulants do not share identical properties with diamonds generally. Since the 1950s, the man had begun creating diamonds. The production of these diamonds has been useful in several areas of application.
Man-made diamonds are produced industrially to be applied in telecommunications, healthcare, laser optics, and many more. Researchers discovered and created the first, tiny, gem-quality artificial diamonds that could be faceted as a precious stone. By the 1980s, several other producers were able to develop them too. Originally, they existed majorly in yellow color and are usually very small. However, with time, there was a gradual increase in its quality, which has recently led to the production of both colorless and colored man-made diamonds, which are made available in different shades of jewelry.
One among the forerunners of the GIA, Robert Crowning shield by name, researched the feasibility of man-made diamonds for many years. In 1970, he examined some of the diamonds made by man then, and in 1971, he made a report concerning his discoveries. His discovery was published as an article in gems and gemology titled General-Electric-Cuttable-Synthetic Diamonds. As a result of the examination he carried out over synthetic diamonds over the years, its amazing to know that there were recognition and proof of some of the unique optical gemological characteristics of synthetic diamonds that serve as the visual properties we see in man-made diamonds today.
Diamond simply has a cubic structure which is composed of carbon atoms; it is interesting to know that carbon atoms are contained in both man-made and mined diamonds. Tom Moses, who is an executive vice president and chief researcher for GIA, had opined that differences in atomic-level defects and growth structure are formed as a result of the large dissimilar conditions under which both man-made and mined diamonds exist. He inferred that to conclude that both types of diamonds are identical could be misleading.
However, due to the essential physical and visual properties mined diamonds retain, man-made diamonds retain such properties too when created as gems. One unique attribute of the man-made diamond when polished is the way light penetrates it and its rigidity on the Mohs scale. This attribute makes it uneasy for its polished surface to be damaged scratched. The term synthetic is scarcely used by many industries that deal with the production of diamonds. Other terms like man-made or man created are preferred.
The production of man-made diamonds is carried out in two ways:
The High Pressure, High-Temperature method, and just like natural diamonds formed within the Earth. The process is facilitated in what is known as the “growth chamber” – a medium for carbon dissolution in a molten metal, which enables the carbon atoms to travel into a piece of either man-made or natural diamond seed to fashioned out a typically designed man-made diamond crystal.
The other method is known as Chemical Vapor Deposition: This process involves the utilization of gas-rich in carbon. E.g., methane in a vacuum chamber. IN this case, the molecules of methane gas would be split into carbon and hydrogen atom, which is placed on a diamond seed to produce a man-made diamond.
Just like diamonds mined from the earth, an-made diamonds can as well be subjected to treatments in order to improve their clarity and entire appearance or effect a color change. Typically, it takes only a few weeks for every man-made diamond to be produced in a gemology lab. This is a much diminutive time than a mined diamond has to linger beneath the surface of the earth, – could be millions or billions of years before it gets discovered and mined.
There is a similarity in the crystal shape for a natural diamond crystal growth, and man-made diamonds are temperature dependent. However, natural diamonds are formed having an octahedral structure, i.e., eight triangular faces that are equilateral, while the diamonds are grown by man have its crystals grow with an octahedral and cubic structure, i.e., six square faces that are equivalent.