The Best Places To Buy Lab Created Diamonds Online

Curated by GIA Diamonds Graduate Thomas J Stevens.

Here are some recommendations on where to buy quality lab grown diamonds.

In compiling this list I looked at a number of factors including value, quality of stones, variety of stones, customer service, return period, types of payment accepted, environmental impact, and certification.

Lab Created Diamonds Explained

Clearing up the naming convention

Lab Created diamonds have been referred to as lab grown diamonds, synthetic diamonds, man made diamonds, artificial diamonds, manufactured diamonds, and cultured diamonds. In July 2018 the FTC in the United States ruled that the terms lab created diamonds, lab grown, man made diamonds, and foundry diamonds are the correct descriptors to be used to qualify the term cultured diamond. The term synthetic is not to be used in reference to lab created diamonds as per the FTC ruling. Up to now GIA has been using the term synthetics when referring to lab created diamonds, so it remains to be seen how they will reword their synthetic diamond grading terminology.

I just want to point out that it’s also important to not confuse the term diamond simulant with the term lab created diamond.

Lab created diamonds are different to simulants. A simulant diamond is a stone that only appears similar to a diamond but is nothing like a diamond in any other aspects such as its molecular make up.

For example a piece of glass can be cut like a diamond. This would make that piece of glass a diamond simulant. Other simulants include many crystals, and other gems that have a clear appearance, such as moissonite and cubic zircon. Simulants are not all lab grown. Some are natural mined minerals and some are created in a laboratory. The term simulant is a very generic term and is not the correct descriptor when referring to lab created diamonds.

Given the rarity and value of diamonds, it’s not surprising that some would seek ways to replicate their beauty. While people have experimented with diamond growing technology for more than a century, it has only been in the last decade that we’ve been able to perfect the science of creating gem-quality man made diamonds in a modern-day lab. Numerous claims of diamond synthesis were documented between 1879 and 1928. In recent years, laboratory-grown or synthetic diamonds have become more common, more advanced, and harder to differentiate from mined diamonds.

About certification

IGI laboratories have been busy. This new influx of lab created diamonds to grade is a result of the rapidly growing demand. This has been good for the IGI network in more ways than one. The increase in business is always a good thing, but it has also resulted in IGI asserting its place as the foremost laboratory for lab grown diamonds. Jewelers far and wide are now reporting that IGI has shaken off its former reputation for sub par work or inconsistency. The diamonds being graded by IGI whether mined naturals or lab grown, reflect a rigorous methodology and strict standards.

How Lab Created Diamonds Are Made

A lab created diamond is the result of a technological process, as opposed to the geological process that creates natural diamonds. Lab created diamonds have essentially the same chemical composition, crystal structure, optical, and physical properties of diamonds found in nature. Most lab created diamonds are categorized as either high-pressure, high-temperature (HPHT) or chemical vapor deposition (CVD) diamonds, depending on the method of their production. Since HPHT and CVD diamonds are virtually identical to natural diamonds, differences only become clear when they are analyzed in a gem laboratory. The properties of lab created diamonds depends on the details of the manufacturing processes; however, some lab made diamonds (whether formed by HPHT or CVD) have properties such as hardness, thermal conductivity and electron mobility that are superior to those of most naturally formed diamonds.

Some Facts About Lab Created Diamonds

If you are looking for a lab created diamond I probably don’t have to sell you on the idea, but here are a few additional facts about lab created diamonds which will make this decision even easier.

Eco-friendly. This is the first point that everyone is aware of and probably its biggest selling point. Lab created diamonds are sustainable diamonds, they are by all definitions “ethical”. The way the can be grown with minimum environmental impact makes them a good choice in this regard. By choosing a grown diamond over an earth-mined diamond you’re doing your part to reduce harmful impact on the environment . Going green is on the forefront of many people’s minds and choosing lab created diamonds is one way each one of us can do our part in reducing the impact that mining has on the environment.

Synthetic, Not Fake. Synthetic gems have been available for a long time. Natural gems and synthetic gems both have their place in the jewelry industry. Lab grown or what’s also been called man made diamonds are not fake diamonds. They are both made up of the same molecular structure. This similarity also means that a grading report should always accompany the sale whether it be a lab grown diamond or a mined diamond.

HPHT and CVD – These are the two main methods used for growing diamonds. HPHT (High-Pressure High Temperature) is a process by which the stone grows out of a diamond seed under controlled conditions. Those conditions include high temperature and high pressure. Natural diamonds formed this way so it was only a matter of time before the process was fine tuned to make this possible in a lab. The second process, CVD (Chemical Vapor Deposition) is a more recent development. This process involves a chamber filled with carbon-rich vapor.

Identical – Without expensive cutting edge laboratory equipment there is no way to tell the difference between a lab grown diamond and a mined diamond. Lab created diamonds are more likely to be purer and devoid of nitrogen. This type of diamond whether lab created or mined is called TypeIIa. As this type of diamond is rare in nature it usually commands a premium of 5 to 15% over other diamonds with all other specifications being equal.

Diamond is the hardest translucent material. Diamond interacts with light in an almost magical way. Lab grown diamonds, as is the case with mined diamonds, can manipulate light in a most unique way when cut to excellence.

Lab created diamonds are a sustainable resource: According to current industry predictions, the supply of mined diamonds is expected to decline in years to come, as diamonds from known sources peter out. The demand for diamond though is expected to continue growing not only for jewelry but for different industries.

Reduced environmental impact: The energy consumed in the creation of a diamond is significantly less than the amount used to dig up a mined diamond. The difference is so vast that it is difficult to put a number on it. But it is a tiny fraction. Many diamond growers also choose to use renewable energy further reducing the environmental toll.

Resale Value: some of the people have a misconception that lab created diamonds do not have any resale value. This concept is incorrect. Lab created diamonds do have a resale value in the same way mined diamonds have a resale value. Much of the added value of obtaining lab certification and marketing costs will inevitably result in a reduction in resale value with both natural mined diamonds and lab grown diamonds.

An enduring treasure. Lab created diamonds never fade, do not get cloudy nor do they change color over time: They have physical and optical features which are identical to mined diamonds. Sure an occasional polish is a good idea, but the diamond itself is not going to change in any way whatsoever. As they say, diamonds are forever.

How common are lab grown diamonds?

The past decade has seen an increase in the production of lab grown diamonds. This is a direct result of the advances in the technology used to grow diamonds. The amount of diamonds that are produced is still limited by time. It still takes about three weeks to grow a diamond in a lab. We aren’t going to see laboratory grown diamonds overtake mined diamonds any time soon. The inventory of lab grown diamonds will remain much smaller than the inventory of mined diamonds. The amount of natural diamonds mined in one year is close to 200 times the amount of lab grown diamonds produced in the same year.

Larger diamonds are extremely difficult to grow without the inner molecular latticework going a little off, so it is rare to find a 10 carat laboratory created diamond.

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