One of them is a diamond, as we know it, extracted from the deepest troughs of the earth. Ripened by extreme pressure and heat, becoming nature's shiniest miracle. The other is a diamond too. This one gets its shine from extreme pressure & temperatures too. Except, that it’s not nature’s creation but that of a man. That's right, it was created in a lab. But one can hardly tell from the two, right? Welcome to modern gemology!
What are Lab Grown Diamonds?
As we all know, diamonds are essentially pure carbon with its atoms arranged in the form of a crystal. While natural diamonds are formed in the upper mantle of the Earth, lab-grown diamonds are man-made, synthesised in the laboratory. It has the same chemical composition and visual appearance as that of a natural diamond. The only differentiating point is how and where they are made.
How are they Created?
Lab-grown diamonds are created through a process known as chemical vapour deposition. You could compare this to planting a “diamond seed” that later grows into a larger gem.
A thin diamond piece serves as the 'diamond seed'. It could be a natural diamond or a lab grown one. It is placed within a vacuum. Subsequently, carbon molecules accumulate on this seed, leading to its expansion. Eventually, a whole new diamond is formed. This is then subjected to the procedures of cutting and polishing.
The first lab-grown diamonds were made in the 1950s. It took 60 years to accurately recreate the exquisite colour and clarity found in natural diamonds. While there is still scepticism amongst customers regarding lab grown, let's try having an informed view by analysing all of its pros and cons.
Pros of Lab Grown Diamonds
Ethical Sourcing: Arguably the most advantageous factor about diamonds made in the lab. We can do away with the environmental and social impact associated with traditional mining.
Cost-Effective: Due to the absence of natural mining expense, these diamonds are significantly cheaper than the natural ones. This makes them an attractive option for budget-conscious buyers.
Environmental Impact: Needless to say, with no mining involved, lab-grown diamonds typically have a relatively smaller ecological footprint, making them a more sustainable option.
Cons of Lab Grown Diamonds
Perceived Value: Undeniably, natural diamonds have a higher intrinsic value. Lab diamonds might match them in visual appeal, but natural diamonds are gems cradled by earth for millions of years. Definitely, makes them precious beyond their price.
Energy Consumption: The environmental impact of lab grown diamonds might be relatively less but it still does take up a high amount of energy and water.
Limited Size and Color Range: While lab-grown diamonds have come a long way, there are still limitations in achieving extremely large sizes and certain colours when compared to natural diamonds.
In this grand customer dilemma between natural and lab-grown diamonds, the decision ultimately lies in one's personal preferences. If cost-effectiveness is your concern, a lab-grown diamond might be for you. However, if you're drawn to the authenticity and historical essence, a natural diamond may be your choice. Either way, inventions and advancements in the world of gems are always interesting to witness. What’s certain is that a diamond, irrespective of where it comes from, shines for years to come.