Diamonds have become a crucial part of accessories in fashion today. They are used for engagement rings, wedding bands, and even diamond earrings. Diamonds can be gotten by different means such as from the lab and also from the mines.
And now the former is getting more popular as more and more opt for this method when purchasing diamonds. Needless to say that lab-created diamonds are also up to par with mined diamonds in terms of quality.
This article seeks to explain why lab-grown diamonds are getting better in quality. Let’s begin!
Origin of Diamonds
Diamonds are the hardest naturally occurring material on earth and the solid form of carbon element. They also have the highest thermal conductivity of all naturally occurring materials. Naturally occurring diamonds are usually formed at depths between 150-250 kilometers.
They are formed under high pressure as well as high temperature. While some of the diamonds appear through deep volcanic eruptions, some are created in the lab. The two types of diamonds are discussed below in detail.
- Mined Diamonds
These are also known as natural diamonds and they are mined from the earth which makes them very expensive. Diamonds are mined or discovered in riverbed deposits after they are composed and moved to the earth’s crust.
There are several mining methods. But the most prevalent one is open-pit mining. This method allows for segmental organization by loosening the crust one layer-by-layer. Once the layers have been lightened, the loose crust is sorted through for diamonds. These diamonds are quite popular when it comes to engagement rings.
- Lab-Grown Diamond
These diamonds that are created in the lab rather than mined from the earth are known as lab-grown diamonds. These diamonds take a few weeks to form, unlike mined diamonds which take hundreds of years to form.
This shortened time and lack of mining costs make it a much cheaper alternative. The difference in cost between a quality lab-grown diamond and a natural diamond of the same nature can be up to 30%.
Lab-grown diamonds have a better environmental impact than natural diamonds. Also, lab-created diamonds are created by applying extreme heat to pure carbon powder. This powder is also put under intense pressure. Thereby, making a rough diamond form after a few weeks.
How Labs are Creating Better Diamonds
Many people are not able to tell the difference between natural diamonds and lab-grown diamonds. This is because of the improvements made in the creation of lab-grown diamonds.
Here are some of the reasons why labs are creating better diamonds:
- Advanced technology
Due to better research, laboratories now have better technology that can control accurately the pressure and temperature required to create the diamonds.
In the past, scientists were unable to recreate the conditions required for a diamond formation. This led to poor quality of lab-grown diamonds as well as defects in the diamonds.
With the use of better equipment and technology, laboratories can now control the diamond growth process more accurately. This has led to fewer defects and better overall quality in the diamonds. This means labs can now produce diamonds at a cheaper rate and also improve their quality, thereby increasing production output.
The Emergence of New Techniques
In the past, lab-grown diamonds were made through a technique called High-Pressure High Temperature(HPHT). HPHT is when a small seed diamond is subjected to high pressure as well as high temperature. This method was able to make diamonds but at the expense of speed and efficiency.
Subsequently, a novel method was introduced to fix this problem. This problem is called Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD). It involves using gasses to deposit carbon atoms onto a substrate. The carbon atoms begin to crystallize into diamonds. This method is a more efficient and faster way of making diamonds.
CVD enables better control of the diamond growth process. This characteristic enables the method to produce diamonds with better physical and optical properties. It also enables the production of diamonds in different shapes and sizes.
- Increase in Demand
Due to its comparatively cheap price, customers are beginning to demand various types of lab-created diamonds. Customers request various colors and shapes of diamonds. This has led to funding for research that has improved the quality of the diamond. It has led to the discovery of better techniques that can satisfy the demands of new customers.
This variation of orders spurs innovation in the laboratory as scientists are now encouraged to try different methods to meet customer demands.
- Environmental Benefits
Due to the environmental effects of mined diamonds, lab-grown diamonds have seen more interest in the last decade. These diamonds do not cause air or water pollution, unlike mined diamonds.
Mined diamonds cause environmental damage due to the release of chemicals when they are mined. On the other hand, lab-created diamonds are more eco-friendly as they are built in safe laboratories.
This has made governments start encouraging the lab-grown diamond industry. A recent example is the Indian government which has shown support for its lab-grown diamond industry in a bid to increase its exports in that industry.
How are Lab Grown Diamonds Used in the Industry?
Lab-grown diamonds are now being produced faster and also with improved quality. This also helps its application in the diamond industry.
Here are some of the ways lab-grown diamonds are used for:
- Diamond Jewelry
Lab-grown diamonds are used in diamond jewelry production. The use of mined diamonds has made diamond jewelry very expensive. But lab-grown diamonds offer a cheaper alternative for people who would like to get diamond jewelry.
Also, lab-grown diamonds provide an avenue for couples who normally can’t afford diamond engagement rings to be able to purchase one. Lab-grown diamonds cost 30% less than mined diamonds. This makes them more affordable for young couples who are getting engaged.
- Cutting Tools in Industries
Due to diamonds being one of the hardest materials on earth, it has become a very useful tool in Industries that require such services. Diamonds are used in drill bits as well as some saws.
As a result of lab-grown diamonds’ relatively cheap price, it is preferred by industries that require sharp tools.
Diamonds are used as abrasives due to their hard properties. It is used by industries to polish products into their final state.
The use of lab-grown diamonds has increased greatly in the past few years. This is due to the increase in research and the discovery of new techniques. These reasons have caused an increase in the quality of lab-grown diamonds. It has in turn increased demand for diamonds in the industry market. Currently, more people can now afford diamond jewelry both for themselves and their loved ones.