Rise of Synthetic Diamond – Sparkling or Mined?

Since lab grown diamonds made their debut, a new stage in the life cycle of the diamond business has begun.

A report shows that the lab grown diamond market can grow to a CAGR of 8.74% within 2021-2028. So, such expected growth shows that firms that make lab grown diamonds have had a major effect on diamond trades.

In addition, these firms create the best lab created diamonds with the same chemical and physical traits as mined diamonds. It also has visual traits like mined diamonds.

You may be thinking, how lab grown diamonds came about? What is its history? In this article, you’ll learn how lab grown diamonds gained their stand in the diamond industry.

What Are Synthetic Diamonds?

Synthetic diamonds are diamonds created in the lab by applying high pressure and heat to a carbon medium. The process imitates the exact conditions around the creation of mined diamonds within the earth.

But, only a good lab with an expert can produce the best lab created diamonds for your diamond jewelry. Thus, ensure you find one. There are lots of stores that claim to have “authentic and high-quality” lab grown diamonds, research the ones that really do.

Benefits of Synthetic Diamonds

Many benefits come with having a synthetic diamond. But here you’ll learn about the two major benefits. They are:

a. They’re Less Pricey

Buying a lab grown diamond can save you the cost of buying a mined diamond. A lab grown solitaire ring will cost less than that of a naturally-mined ring.

Therefore, you can get a diamond engagement ring for your partner because you can now afford it.

b. They’re Eco-Friendly

Among the giant holes ever dug are those of diamond mines. Anyone digging them must run their gear on many fossil fuels. Also, trees and wildlife habitats get destroyed by diamond mining.

However, the environmental impact of lab grown diamonds is less severe. Also, many diamond labs use clean energy, and they are safe.

As a result, your partner is wearing their diamond right guilt-free. The reason is that they know that to get it, no harm comes to people, animals, or plants.

The Discovery of Lab Grown Diamonds?

In 1796, a researcher discovered that diamonds are a pure form of carbon. Then, in 1894, H.G. Wells, a writer, explored the potential of producing lab grown diamonds. He did so in his short story “The Diamond Maker,” a science fiction at the time.

Since then, researchers have created and predicted several plans to produce synthetic diamonds from more types of carbon. A few decades later, in the 1940s, General Electric (GE) created a team to figure out how to produce diamonds in a lab. But it wasn’t a success either.

As a result, their work was on hold due to the Second World War, but the researchers later resumed their work.

Tracy Hall of GE asserted in December 1954 that the firm had created a method. A method that could create diamonds using a proven and repeatable process. Tracy Hall made a “belt” press that could produce a temp greater than 2000°C and pressures more than 10 GPa.

The belt press uses a vessel to dissolve graphite in a catalyst. The catalyst metals are cobalt, nickel, and iron. In addition to dissolving the carbon, these metals increase the conversion of the raw carbon into a diamond.

With this method, Hall produced his largest diamond. The diamond had a diameter of 0.15mm. which was unfit for use in jewelry but perfect for industrial uses.

As a result, more methods need to come up so lab grown diamonds can get used for jewelry.

For the first time, the belt press method made it easy to make lab grown diamonds in great quantities. And General Electric became the leading player in the creation of lab grown diamonds.

New Methods for Lab Grown Diamonds Sizes to Become Jewelry Standard?

With the creation of large lab grown diamonds, General Electric (GE) decided to try other means. They started with a method known as High-Pressure High Temperature (HPHT).

The HPHT diamond growth chamber uses the heat of 1500°C and pressure of about 1.5 million pounds per square inch.

As a result of the heat, the molten metal dissolves the pure carbon. Also, the carbon atoms will begin to precipitate on the starter seed. Then, a synthetic diamond will begin to grow.

Using the HPHT method, GE made the first growth of lab grown diamonds of gem quality and size. Also, today HPHT is still a primary method for growing synthetic diamonds. Using HPHT machines for up to a week could result in stones with a diameter of 5 mm or 1 carat.

But, the early gem-grade stones came from yellow to brown due to nitrogen pollution. Therefore, to get colorless diamonds, GE removed all nitrogen for the process. But instead, they added either titanium or aluminum.

However, the complete removal of nitrogen slowed the formation and quality of the crystal. So, GE decided to leave a small amount of nitrogen during the formation.

The second method used is Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD). The CVD method involves placing a seed grown through the HPHT method on top of a chamber.

The chamber consists of a carbon gas with heat of 800°C. A microwave beam causes the carbon gas to ionize into a plasma.

As a result, the molecular bonds of the gas break due to its ionizing. Then, the pure carbon sticks to the diamond seed and forms a crystal. Also, compared to the HPHT method, CVD requires a lesser temperature.

With these methods, labs today can make lab created diamonds in masses and with good gem quality.

How Has the Supply and Demand for Lab Grown Diamonds Changed Over the Years?

Diamond hunters don’t need to source diamonds anymore. The reason is due to the solution scientists provide in the form of lab grown diamonds.

The first time lab diamonds came out, there was low demand and supply due to their massive sizes. However, in the 1980s, lab diamonds with gem quality became available. Also, demand for them increased.

Due to how fast people accepted it, some felt it wasn’t real, but lab grown diamonds are as real as mined diamonds. Today, recent news shows couples are swapping their mined diamond engagement ring for a lab created diamond ring.

The reason is that lab grown diamonds offer a less pricey option than mined diamonds.

Bottom Line

Every mining firm will face a dip as the awareness of synthetic diamonds continues to rise. Today clients seek eco-friendly items, which is why they prefer lab grown diamonds. The reason lab grown diamonds are eco-friendly is due to their little environmental impact.

The best lab created diamonds are so that only experts can know the difference. So, even if you work in a diamond firm or are a smart client, you should be aware of the shifting trends.

The rise of lab grown diamonds has begun and will continue to rise, so ensure you’re not left behind.

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