Today’s consumers have a choice when shopping for fine jewelry. Not all diamonds are earth-mined. Yes, lab grown diamonds are becoming increasingly popular and for good reason.
Are lab-grown diamonds legitimate?
Lab-grown diamonds are 100% identical optically, physically and chemically to their earth-mined counterparts. The two can not be differentiated by the naked eye. While identifying diamond simulants, such as Moissanite, is fairly easy to do, to identify an earth-mined diamond from a lab grown diamond, advanced testing methods must be implemented. It’s similar to ice; ice can be harvested from a glacier in the arctic, or it can be accessed using modern technology in a freezer. Both are frozen H2O. With diamonds, both earth-mined and lab grown diamonds are 100% crystalized carbon.
Consumers can feel confident in their lab grown diamond purchase. Most lab grown diamonds over 0.50ct come with a grading report that discloses the diamond’s origin, as well as the characteristics, such as cut, color, clarity and carat. Many labs even go so far as inscribing on the diamonds to mark them as lab grown. While the cost of lab grown diamonds is significantly lower than earth-mined diamonds, consumers can rest assured it is not due to a lesser quality product. The supply chain for lab grown diamonds is much shorter than with the mined industry. An earth-mined diamond can exchange hands 20 times before it reaches the end-consumer, and each of those people is making a profit. With lab grown diamonds, the diamonds go from the lab, to the casting house, to the consumer.
How can you identify a diamond that is developed in the laboratory?
To the naked eye, there is no difference between the two types of diamonds. However, there are tests that highly trained scientists and geologists can use to identify the origin of a diamond.
● Type IIa test
Many people do not realize that in addition to the 4Cs, diamonds also have Types, which refer to the quality of the diamond. Type IIa diamonds are a more pure form of carbon, which makes them brighter and harder than regular Type Ia diamonds. Only 2% of earth-mined diamonds are Type IIa and they are incredibly expensive. For example, the Hope Diamond is a Type IIa. However, all lab grown diamonds are Type IIa making them a better quality than typical earth-mined diamonds. This is one way gemologists identify lab grown diamonds.
● UV radiation test
Advanced machines like Diamondcheck and Diamondsure have been designed for testing purposes. The process starts with the machines striking the diamonds with UV radiation, which are not harmful to humans and to study the spectroscopic analysis. Now, if the output presents spikes at specific wavelengths, the researcher assumes that the diamond is lab grown. DiamondView machines can even spot microscopic lines on diamonds to detect if each layer of the diamond was built on top of another layer. So this is an accurate indication that the diamond in question is lab grown.
Diamonds that are produced in a lab, should never be a cause of concern for you as they are 100% identical to earth-mined diamonds.