LAB GROWN DIAMOND COLOR SCALE
As the name implies, lab grown diamonds are produced above ground in a laboratory, not mined from beneath the earth. They are also known as synthetic diamonds, man-made diamonds, lab created diamonds, cultivated diamonds, or cultured diamonds. And even though they aren’t formed naturally, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recognized lab grown diamonds and real diamonds in 2018, making them a beautiful and more affordable alternative to natural diamonds.
Natural diamonds are formed via intense heat and pressure within the earth, which transform carbon atoms into the diamonds we all know and love today – but the process takes millions of years and extensive mining efforts are required to access raw diamonds that are suitable to be cut down and used for diamond jewelry.
Lab grown diamonds are chemically, physically, and visually identical to natural diamonds, the only real difference being that natural diamonds are formed within the uncontrolled environment of the earth, and lab grown diamonds are grown in a controlled environment in a lab. Both diamonds have the same sparkle, the same types of clarity and color, and can be cut into the same shapes and sizes. They also have the same hardness, and lab grown diamonds can have the same inclusions (or imperfections) as a natural diamond.
Additionally, lab grown diamonds are engraved with “LGD,” which lets you know they were created above ground – but it’s not an engraving you can see with the naked eye.
Diamonds are formed when carbon atoms crystallize into cubic structures with tetrahedral bonds, making it the hardest substance on earth. A similar process is used to grow diamonds above the earth using one of two methods: High Pressure High Temperature (HPHT) or Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD) with a diamond seed.
Diamond growth can occur only when a ‘diamond seed’ is present. A diamond seed is a very thin slice of diamond on which carbon atoms deposit to form strong tetrahedral structure and grows into a larger rough diamond.
The HPHT method uses a special type of press that applies intense heat and pressure onto the diamond seed and the carbon atoms to generate a large diamond crystal. Alternatively, the CVD method uses a hydrocarbon gas mixture that breaks down and hardens into crystalized carbon atoms, resulting in the lab grown diamond. This process does not require high pressure and allows more control of the diamond’s quality and properties.