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The New Bling : Lab Grown Diamonds

Different paths, same result. Here is a lab grown diamond shown next to a naturally grown diamond. Can you tell which is which?

Different paths, same result. A lab grown diamond (top) shown next to a naturally grown diamond (bottom).

If you have been following the trends in jewelry, you may have noticed the terms "Synthetic Diamonds" "Cultured Diamonds" "Man Made Diamonds" and "Lab-Grown Diamonds" featured in articles and shopping sites. These all refer to what is more commonly known as lab grown diamonds, which has rapidly gained popularity in the past few years especially among the younger millennial crowd. The reasons for its higher demand in the buyer's market: lab grown diamonds offer a great alternative to natural diamonds with its identical chemical and physical composition to the natural thing, reduced carbon emissions in production, its transparency/traceability, and its affordability.

Successfully creating diamonds in a lab has been attempted by physicists and scientists for centuries. Gem quality lab grown diamonds were first created in 1971 by the General Electric Company, using a process known as High Temperature High Pressure (HPHT) where a small seed of natural diamond was subjected to extremely high temperatures and pressures (basically reproducing the natural process of how diamonds are formed in the earth). HPHT is still one of two main processes used today to manufacture lab grown diamonds. The second main process, Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD) exposes a diamond seed to a hydrocarbon mixture and heat. Both processes can take weeks to months to grow gem quality diamonds. The advancements in technology for growing diamonds have created better quality gems. The result is a diamond which is the purest form of carbon (Type IIa) and very difficult, if not impossible, for an untrained eye to distinguish from a naturally grown and mined diamond.

To meet the increased demand, lab grown diamonds are now available in a variety of cuts (shapes), including fancy cuts like marquise, emerald, and oval. They are grown around the world including Russia, India, and the USA, and are certified by independent diamond grading laboratories such as International Gemological Institute (IGI), Gem Certification and Assurance Lab (GCAL), and the Gemological Institute of America (GIA). Pricing for lab grown diamonds is around 20% to 30% cheaper than natural diamonds, giving the value-driven consumer the best bang for the buck. If you are an environmentally conscious consumer who wants to benefit from the latest modern technologies, then the New Bling is for you!

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