An in-depth comparison of natural & synthetic diamonds
Nowadays, people demand the clearest and bright display that makes the diamond appealing. Although most stunning diamonds have been under cultivation for millions of years to achieve their strikingly striking appearance, an ideal option would be to go for a new method that allows preparing diamonds in a lab. The lab-grown diamonds are excellent quality stones and can be just as spectacular, if not more, as the naturally grown ones. However, diamonds in the lab tend to have a lower price tag and can be formed in only three months. Many people still opt for the natural ones. The question here arises, what is better to purchase and what aspects and factors should you consider when deciding between lab created diamonds vs. real diamonds.
What is the difference?
Simply put, diamonds produced in the laboratory are cultured or engineered diamonds and are grown in a controlled environment. Whereas, natural diamonds are formed at a high temperature and pressure, and can be found at least 140 kilometers in the Earth’s mantle. Synthetic diamonds are prepared using the latest technologies that duplicate the environment and conditions of how natural diamonds are formed. In the lab, the stones can be made in a significantly shorter amount of time as compared to the one billion years that natural diamonds take to grow from carbon minerals. The human-made stones are, in reality, carbon atoms that are arranged to resemble the similar characteristics of the naturally-growing diamond’s structure. Mostly, synthetic diamonds that are commercially sold are made through a process known as High-Pressure High-Temperature and are yellow in color. The impurities produce this color in nitrogen, and sometimes, it could be a mixture of other colors as well. On the other hand, a few synthetic stones might also produce shades of green, blue and pink that are a result of the addition of boron because of irradiation.
Natural over Synthetic?
The majority of the people prefer real diamonds over the laboratory-grown ones. In fact, the total production of real diamonds, which is worth about 120 million karats, outstrips the production of synthetic diamonds which is comparable only a few thousand karats. The reason for this is that both differently produced stones may have similar physical, optical and chemical properties, but an artificial diamond cannot be as valuable as a natural one. Moreover, the user will not feel confident wearing a human-made diamond. According to a survey, a majority of women voted that they will feel disappointed if given a ring with synthetic diamond. Natural diamonds are unique with their clarity characteristics, inclusions and survival history that goes back hundreds of millions of years.
Telling natural from synthetic
The trained gemologists are more experienced in analyzing stones and can inform the difference between synthetic and genuine diamonds efficiently. Although the process of identifying is not a simple one, and if the intent of purchasing a fake diamond is to fool someone, then it can be done easily. Companies that sell synthetic diamonds make sure that their skilled craftsmen correctly simulate real fancy stones so that they are practically indistinguishable from the real ones.
A popular perception is that simulated stones are too perfect to be real and it is somewhat true. However, expert gemologists have the skills to find flaws in both natural and artificial diamonds and the different flaws can be used to identify the diamond’s true origin. For instance, synthetic diamonds that are produced by chemical vapor deposition can often be identified by their orange-yellow fluorescent appearance. The color of a diamond can also be checked using gemologist’s tools like a DiamondSure UV/Visible spectrometer and a Swiss Gemological Organization’s Diamond Spotter. Also, real diamonds have a sparkle, but artificial diamonds have it in excess. There are lab-created diamonds that sparkle in all colors of the rainbow, such as zirconia. When these stones are put next to the real ones, they tend to exhibit a much more colorful flash of light.
Furthermore, most diamonds that are naturally formed have minor flaws and imperfections, which are not just dents or chippings but inclusions of foreign material. Apparently, laboratory-made diamonds are made to impersonate a real diamond but without these foreign inclusions. Thus, it can be concluded that a flawless diamond is either exceptionally rare or prepared in the laboratory to look perfect.
Also, diamond is the hardest substance; it can only be chipped if hit hard, and cannot be easily scratched. In contrast, simulated stones are not as hard as the real ones, and can be scratched easily, depending on the stimulant. The softer the stimulant, the easier it is to scratch it. The best way for a customer to find out whether the diamond is man-made or natural is to ask for the stone’s certificate. It is recommended to avoid purchasing stones that are not accompanied by a certificate. For instance, GIA (Gemological Institute of America) issues diamond certificates that clearly indicate if the stone is prepared naturally or in the laboratory.
Lab-grown diamonds provide the same quality and brilliance as the natural diamonds do, but they cost up to thirty percent less only because they are way easier to obtain. Even now, natural diamonds are rare stones whereas synthetic stones can offer a more budget-friendly and convenient alternative without compromising on the durability or its beauty. It should not come as a surprise that the market for diamonds produced in the laboratory is growing, due to the popularity of simulant materials like moissanite and cubic zirconia. However, a few diamond experts feel that the mass production of the large artificial diamonds is threatening the business of legitimate commercial diamonds. Some customers may feel satisfied when buying a simulated diamond as they are aware they can never afford a natural one. While others insist upon purchasing only the genuine stones as they are rare and more natural treasure, especially when compared with laboratory-produced items.