Maybe you’ve heard about laboratory grown diamonds, or you’re at the beginning stages of designing your forever ring and searching for the perfect stone; either way there is a world of information to share about these beautiful alternatives to natural diamonds. Just for you, we have curated the information and focused on the important details you need to know in both the below Q&A and in a Masterclass video (which you can view here).
How are Laboratory Grown Diamonds Formed?
Laboratory grown diamonds are atomically identical to natural diamonds but are artificially created in a laboratory environment. Scientists make cultured diamonds using a process called the Chemical Vapour Deposition (CVD) Process, which grows a cultured diamond from the “seed” of a natural, mined diamond, resulting in an identical DNA match of chemical and physical properties. The diamond slice is combined with carbon and then added to a plasma reactor which replicates the conditions in which a natural diamond would grow. This includes a temperature of over 5,500 degrees Celsius and extreme pressure, which converts the carbon to diamond. This process takes 8 weeks, after which a completely unique raw diamond is formed. The diamond is then cut into the desired shape and is ready for its new home.
Where are they grown?
We are proud to have partnered with Diamond Foundry, based in San Francisco and Washington in the USA, as well as local Australian suppliers who source laboratory grown diamonds from international foundries. Diamond Foundry are an ethical, environmentally conscious creator and supplier of laboratory grown diamonds, and are the world's only certified carbon neutral producer of diamonds. Their diamond production is 100% hydro-powered by Washington State’s Columbia River, resulting in zero emissions due to the use of renewable energy.
Utilising both our partnership with Diamond Foundry and our local suppliers gives us the best opportunity to fulfill each individual client’s requirements.
Are Laboratory Grown Diamonds graded the same way as Natural Diamonds?
As laboratory grown diamonds are identical to natural diamonds, they follow the same grading system. Identical quality indicators exist across factors such as the stone's colour, clarity and fluorescence, and the resulting quality after being cut, such as its polish, symmetry and overall proportions, in addition to the quality of the cut itself. They also adhere to the 4C's, where relevant to shape.
As they are grown, can clients choose certain qualities, such as colour?
The colour of laboratory grown diamonds cannot be specifically controlled while they are growing, much in the same way as a natural diamond, however they are most commonly grown in colours G - I. Though possible, achieving an F or E colour is rare. At NMJ we aim to work exclusively with laboratory grown diamonds that are a G colour and above to maintain the highest quality possible. This is specific to the CVD process, which use no post-treatments to alter the colour of the diamonds to ensure authentic colour quality.
Are Laboratory Grown Diamonds treated to enhance the quality?
At Natalie Marie we exclusively source laboratory grown diamonds that are created using the CVD process, which does not use any post-treatments to enhance the quality of the diamond. This ensures a stable, genuine quality that will not alter over time. There is a second growing method, called High Pressure High Temperature, or HPHT, which produces lower colour quality diamonds which are then heat treated to improve their colour quality artificially. Many HPHT stones can be graded as D, E and F colours post-treatment; however, this is not guaranteed to be stable and the stone has the potential to revert to its original, lower quality over time, which is why we choose to exclude them from our sourcing.
How are Laboratory Grown Diamonds certified?
The laboratory grown diamonds we source are graded by GCAL and IGI, and on occasion will also come with a Diamond Foundry certificate of authenticity if sourced through this channel. The diamond grading report is the quickest and easiest way to tell if a diamond is mined above ground, or below ground. Your diamond grading certificate will tell you if the diamond was grown using the HPHT method or CVD process and will indicate all of the standard quality specifications of the diamond such as colour and clarity grades.
Just like natural diamonds that have a GIA laser inscription, laboratory grown diamonds will have an inscription on the girdle of the diamond to say that it has been created in a lab. This can be viewed under a jewellery loupe or microscope and will match the identification number listed on the diamond's certificate.
How are Laboratory Grown Diamonds valued when compared to Natural Diamonds?
Laboratory grown diamonds are more affordable than a natural mined diamond, partly due to their shorter growing time, but also because less manpower is involved in their creation than in the mining process. As the industry is still in its infancy, projected value is unpredictable as advances in technology are always changing, and demand for stones is rising, which leads to fluctuations in market pricing.
If you have any questions at all, or wish to start exploring stone options with our bespoke team, contact our team here.