Lab Grown Synthetic Diamonds

November 3, 2021

Transparent and brilliant, a symbol of status and power since time immemorial, diamond is the hardest mineral on the planet and the best thermal conductor. Beyond their physical qualities, few objects have the power of fascination that they exert on the human being.

This gemstone generated millions of years ago inside the Earth.

DeBeers, Alrosa, Rio Tinto and the other companies that dominate the market were very happy to promise them. But now this business faces an even bigger challenge: the boom in lab-grown diamonds. With the same optical, physical and chemical properties as natural ones, its take-off puts at risk a business that moves 75,000 million euros a year.

History of cultivated diamond and synthesis methods

Synthetic diamond was first obtained in 1954 by General Electric. Using a method based on the crystallization of carbon in diamond at high pressures and temperatures. In this method pressures of 50-60 kbar and temperatures of 1300 to 1600ºC are used. Corresponding to the diamond formation conditions in the earth’s mantle, at depths of about 200 km.

The method is known as HPHT (High Pressure High Temperature). This method quickly became the main source of industrial synthetic diamonds.

Obtaining large crystals by this method is much more complicated and expensive. However, in 1970 the first gem-quality HPHT synthetic diamond crystals weighing up to one carat were also obtained.

The first gem-quality synthetic diamonds were much more expensive than natural ones. Subsequent technological advances made it possible to lower costs, in the mid-1990s the first companies appeared that commercialized the synthetic diamond HPHT of gem quality.

Another method of synthesizing diamonds does not require such high pressures and temperatures. It is a method of chemical vapor deposition or CVD, from Chemical Vapor Deposition in English.

In this case, methane gas is used as a carbon source, which mixes with hydrogen and is ionized by plasma. Carbon ions settle on a surface creating a very thin layer of diamond.

Taking care of the enviroment

Scientists have perfected the process with which the weather conditions in which diamonds grow naturally are reproduced until they reach the parameters of quality, color and purity.

Even superior to the stones formed by geological processes and extracted through traditional methods that have generated so much debate for compromising the environment and the integrity of the communities immersed in this activity.

Environmental concerns and mining industry practices have led jewelers to seek alternatives to natural diamonds.

In addition to the high consumption of resources that the extraction of the hard mineral supposes, it is an activity that often involves labor exploitation practices in the regions where it is carried out.

The diamond grown in the market

The laboratory grown diamond industry is gaining momentum within the global marketplace. The main factors influencing this growth are the environmental regulations established by different countries regarding the extraction of natural diamonds. This is in addition to the high demand for these products from various industries, including electronics and the ash diamond industry.

Years ago, a lab-grown diamond cost slightly less than a natural one. Today it costs much less. In fact, much less. According to industry experts, a lab-grown average quality diamond now costs 40% less than a natural one.

Two years ago the discount was only 18%. Additionally, De Beers is also poised to offer mass-produced lab-grown diamonds, almost like Swarovski crystals, at a nearly 90% discount compared to natural diamonds.

Dr. Loony Davis5
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Born and raised in Brussels in an English family, I have always lived in a multicultural environment. After several work experiences in marketing and communication, I came to Smart Water Magazine, which I describe as the most exciting challenge of my career.
I am a person with great restlessness and curiosity to learn, discover what I do not know, as well as reinvent myself daily, someone who is curious about life and wants to know. I enjoy sharing knowledge.
This is my personal project but I also collaborate in other blogs, it is the case, the most important web on water currently exists in the US, if you are interested you can read my articles here.

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