When you’re shopping for diamonds on a budget, you may be looking at lab created diamonds as a more affordable option than their naturally formed options.
But with all the man-made options out there, you may be wondering…which one is a diamond?
Lab Grown Diamonds, or Lab Diamonds, have sometimes been called Synthetic diamonds. These are different, however, from Cubic Zirconia, Moissanite, or other synthetic stones.
Keep reading for details on the differences between different types of lab grown stones and diamonds.
Table of Contents
What Is A Lab Grown Diamond Called?
Synthetic diamonds go by a number of different names in the industry. Terms used to describe lab grown diamonds include:
- LGD (Lab Grown Diamond)
- CVD/HPHT (Chemical Vapor Deposition/High Pressure High Temperature) Diamond
The last name is the technical term for lab grown diamonds, referring to the process by which they are formed.
How Are Man-Made Diamonds Created?
Lab grown, or synthetic, diamonds are created by taking what is known as a ‘crystal seed’ – an extremely small shard of crystal – and adding small atomic particles in a sort of vapor form.
The seed and the added elements are subjected to extreme heat and pressure until they compress to form a diamond.
One the initial stone is formed; more material is added until the result is the desired size.
From there the stone is checked for flaws, then cut, shaped, and polished into finished gems for use in jewelry.
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What Is The Composition of Lab Grown Diamonds?
Lab grown diamonds, like their natural counterparts, are formed from 100 percent pure carbon.
Even the ‘seed’ will be some type of crystallized carbon, preferably a diamond fragment or diamond dust.
Are Lab Grown Diamonds Real Diamonds?
Lab grown diamonds are 100 percent authentic diamonds, with an identical composition to their naturally formed counterparts.
Lab grown diamonds perform exactly the same as natural diamonds in terms of hardness, color, and clarity.
There is no way to tell the difference between a lab grown diamond and a naturally formed one, at least not any method used by jewelers or appraisers.
What Are Differences Between Natural Diamonds and Lab Grown Diamonds?
In terms of composition, there are almost no differences between lab grown diamonds and natural diamonds. Even experts have trouble identifying the difference between the two types of diamonds.
– Lower intrinsic value, because they aren’t as rare
– Sometimes possess marks from the growing process
– Natural diamonds are millions of years old, whereas lab grown diamonds are not.
– Lab grown diamonds don’t have a provenance the way naturally grown diamonds can.
Are Lab Grown Diamonds Ever Certified?
Lab grown diamonds can be certified and are graded according to the exact same scale as their naturally grown counterparts.
Lab grown diamonds, like natural diamonds, are graded according to the 4 Cs:
- Carat Weight
Each of these characteristics is graded on GIA (Gemological Institute of America) or AGS (American Gem Society) standards.
Lab grown diamonds are expected to adhere to the same standards as natural gemstones.
What Are The Benefits of Lab Grown Diamonds?
Lab grown diamonds have a number of positive qualities to recommend them. Benefits of choosing a lab grown diamond include:
- More sustainable production, without the issues associated with mining.
- Tend to be 30 to 50 percent cheaper per carat than natural counterparts – more affordable
- Can be produced in bulk – less rare
- Costs of production are declining as technology advances.
- They have the same appearance, composition, and hardness as naturally mined diamonds.
- Can be produced within weeks as opposed to requiring millions of years
- Easier to control quality and size using laboratory techniques.
There’s plenty to like about lab grown diamonds, but they do have some drawbacks as well.
What Are The Downsides To Choosing Lab Grown Diamonds?
Lab grown diamonds can be considered a more affordable option than naturally grown diamonds, but they do have drawbacks, which include:
- Take a lot of energy to produce, as well as resources to offset the incredible heat produced during diamond formation.
- They have no resale value
- They have no real market value due to the ability to be produced in larger quantities
- Sometimes have grown marks from lab processes
What Are The Differences Between Lab Grown Diamonds And Cubic Zirconia?
Another form of synthetic stone often substituted for diamonds is Cubic Zirconia. However, despite the confusion, cubic zirconia and synthetic diamonds are not the same.
– Cubic Zirconia is made from zirconium dioxide, whereas lab grown synthetic diamonds are made from carbon.
– Cubic Zirconia is an 8 on the Mohs hardness scale, whereas synthetic diamonds register as a 10, just like their natural counterparts.
– Cubic Zirconia can be chipped or broken by heavy impact, whereas lab grown diamonds usually can’t.
– Diamond refractions appear as white light, while Cubic Zirconia tends to refract a rainbow pattern instead.
– In the fog tests, a diamond will de-fog quickly, and cubic zirconia will stay fogged over.
– Dropped into water, diamonds will sink quickly, and cubic zirconia will sink more quickly.
Many jewelers and manufacturers of synthetic or simulated diamonds will put a CZ on any cubic zirconia, to make identification easier.
What Are The Differences Between Lab Grown Diamonds And Moissanite?
Moissanite is another form of the simulated diamond often confused with a synthetic or lab grown diamond.
Like cubic zirconia, however, there are several differences between Moissanite and lab grown diamonds.
– Moissanite is made of combined silica and carbon, whereas lab grown diamonds are made of pure carbon
– Moissanite sparkles more than a lab diamond and produces colored refractions as opposed to white light ones
– Lab grown diamonds can be any color, whereas moissanite is usually only colorless or yellow-hued.
– Lab grown diamonds refract along a single line, whereas Moissanite refracts doubly (two facets viewed on line of refraction.
– Moissanite possesses a hardness of 9.25 on the Mohs Scale, whereas synthetic diamonds have a hardness of 10.
– Moissanite stones are significantly less expensive than even synthetic diamonds.
Which Is Better – Lab Grown Diamonds Or Simulated Diamonds?
Many people prefer diamonds – even lab grown diamonds – for the sentimental value attached to them. Diamonds have a long-standing reputation as one of the ultimate symbols of love and devotion.
On the other hand, Cubic Zirconia and Moissanite are both more affordable if you’re looking for something that sparkles like a diamond.
Moissanite is said to have greater sparkle than diamonds, due to its double refraction properties.
Diamonds, both lab grown and natural, are more durable than simulated diamonds.
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Lab grown diamonds go by many names, including the technical name: CVD/HPHT.
They’re also called Synthetic diamonds, Man-made diamonds, and Cultured diamonds.
However, if you’re looking for a lab grown stone, don’t confuse a lab grown diamond with a Cubic Zirconia or a Moissanite stone.
There are a number of differences between the two, starting with the fact that diamonds are pure carbon, even the lab grown stones, whereas the other two types are made of different materials.
Whatever you call it, a lab grown diamond is still a diamond – and still just as beautiful as its naturally formed counterparts.
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