Lab grown diamonds are the future of the diamond industry as they are sustainable and conflict-free. They are ecologically sound and are formed in the same manner as natural diamonds, except that the former is made in labs. This category has gained worldwide acceptance since it avoids the stigma associated with blood diamonds.
Lab grown diamonds are also known by names such as lab created stones, cultured stones, engineered stones, and man made stones. Replicating the conditions under which diamonds naturally form beneath the earth's crust, i.e., the mantle, they are grown in a highly controlled environment making use of advanced technological processes. Actual carbon atoms are arranged in the characteristic diamond crystal structure in these lab made gemstones.
Since both natural and man made gemstone is composed of similar elements, they exhibit the same chemical, physical, and optical characteristics.
The 4Cs of Lab Grown Diamonds
Ayaani Diamonds offer these gemstones in a variety of range. They are available in many fancy colors that rarely occur in nature. In comparison to their natural colored stone counterparts, fancy colored lab created stones are relatively cost effective.
Independent gemological organizations grade lab diamonds based on the 4Cs: Cut, Color, Clarity, and Carat Weight. The quality of lab diamonds can range from poor to excellent, just like that of mined diamonds.
Generally, a diamond's cut refers to its overall proportioned surfaces. You must wonder how the stone's surface is responsible for the overall brilliance and beauty of the diamond. Depending on its surface, a diamond's ability to create shine determines how much or little luminous it can be. The symmetry, proportion, and polish of a diamond determine its qualities as a brilliant-cut diamond. For instance, the ratio of the diameter of the gemstone compared to its depth.
In an ideal situation, a stone that is well-cut is supposed to reflect back the white light, thus giving off a unique sparkle. The structural proportions of the gemstone include:
- The height of the crown.
- The depth of the pavilion.
- The diameter of the table.
- The thickness of the girdle.
- The angle of the crown.
- The angle of the pavilion.
- The brilliance of the grade.
Since the difference is not clearly visible to the naked eye, the grading of a lab grown diamond cut is done only under laboratory conditions and under trained professionals. Even a shallow cut stone will appear perfect in every aspect for an ordinary common person.
There is a very evident and stark difference between the shape of the stone and its cut. While the former describes its appearance and outline, the latter assesses the brilliance and light performance of the stone based on its physical features.
In recent times, many fancy varieties of cuts have emerged, like the modified brilliants mogul cuts, rose cuts, and mixed cuts.
When the cut of the diamond is shallow, the light travels through the stone as it refracts downwards from the pavilion angle. When the stone's cut is ideal, the light that passes through it refracts in a direction opposite from the stone's pavilion angle. However, when the cut of the stone is deep, the light that passes through it reflects in an upward direction from the crown angle of the stone.
The GIA grades the cut of the gemstone in five grades – Excellent, Very Good, Good, Fair, and Poor.
The color of the gemstone affects the diamond’s value, rarity, and price. Higher is the per-carat price of the stone when the color is more transparent. The price hike on colorless stones is vast as they are extremely rare. The stone's grading starts with D, which represents 'colorless,' and ends with Z, which stands for 'light yellow.'
In an ideal situation, the more the diamond moves forward in the colorless scale, it also makes progress on the grading scale. In a hypothetical situation, a gemstone is devoid of any chemical and physical impurities, does not have any presence of color or hue, and is completely transparent. But in reality, this statement is not entirely true. A diamond can never be fully perfect as each stone has its own impurities and imperfections; thus, each has its own identity.
The hue of the gemstone holds a very important place as transparent stones have a very high demand in the industry. They are rare and scarce as it is very difficult to find a diamond devoid of any impurities. Thus, they are a bit expensive and have a higher value on the grading scale.
The following things should be kept in mind while choosing the color of the stone:
- As opposed to when the diamond is set in common light, it is more difficult to assess color after the diamond has been set in jewelry as its color influences the hue of the gemstone.
- For stones that have a larger carat or are large in size, colors play a greater visible factor in them. It is one of the many reasons why people prefer smaller stones to larger stones.
- The stone's cut plays an important role in determining its color. When a diamond is well-cut, light passes through it and reflects on shorter ray paths more intensely, resulting in a less colored diamond. Whereas, when the cut is deep or shallow, the light rays settle at the bottom, giving it a more enhanced look from the top.
The clarity of the gemstone indicates the presence of minor imperfections and blemishes both outside and inside the diamond. Every woman buys a diamond to add a dash of elegance and charm to their ensemble. Nothing is as mesmerizing as a clear, transparent diamond that shines and sparkles.
A perfect diamond is clear, transparent, and appears absolutely colorless to the naked eye.
As per the GIA clarity grading system, clarity is anything that influences the free movement of light through the diamond. Every gemstone – whether natural or man made – is graded on a similar basis.
Diamonds are graded after being examined under 10X magnification and noting inclusions' number, relief, and placement.
- The highly prized grade, i.e., the Flawless (F), is given to gemstones that have no visible inclusions even after being placed under 10X magnification.
- The next highest grade on the scale is Internally Flawless (IF). Gemstones having this grade, too have no visible inclusions but may have certain surface blemishes.
- The next grade of clarity that comes after IF is Very Very Slightly Included (VVS). These stones are made of inclusions that are quite difficult to see even under 10X magnification.
- The grade that comes next after VVS is VS (Very Slightly Included). Inclusions in these stones can be easily seen under 10X magnification due to their size, relief, or placement. Most diamonds made in laboratories receive this grade.
- Inclusions visible under 10X magnification are found in stones of the Slightly Included (SI) clarity grade. A few of these inclusions are visible without any magnification.
- The last clarity grade for diamonds is Included (I). Under 10X magnification, these stones contain inclusions that are visible to the naked eye and evident under 10X magnification.
The clarity grades such as VVS, VS, and SI are further divided into categories, namely VVS1, VVS2, VS1, VS2, SI1, and SI2. The I category, i.e., Included, has three more divisions I1, I2, and I3.
The following are factors that affect the grading and assessment of the clarity of the gemstone:
- Position – The determination of the clarity of the stone is dependent on the position of blemishes and inclusions.
- Size - Inverse proportionality applies to the size factor. When a constituent is larger, it is more apparent under magnification and thus graded lower in clarity. Likewise, the smaller the gemstone will be, the higher will be its clarity grade.
- Relief and Color – The contrast of the gemstone is measured by characteristics such as relief and color. Diamond clarity is greatly affected by relief as colored inclusions always show greater contrast and are, therefore more easily spotted.
The diamond's carat indicates the diamond's weight of the diamond and not its size. One carat of a diamond equals the weight of a raisin, i.e., 0.2 milligrams. The stone's carat directly influences its price; thus, it is an important factor when buying a diamond. However, remember to consider the color and clarity of diamonds since they influence their aesthetic appeal and look.
Carat weight or mass is a measurement unit that measures the stone's weight. As a unit of measurement, Ct is used in gemstones and in other forms of jewels, such as pearls. In 1907, the metric carat was adopted, specifying that 1 carat equals 200 mg or 0.2 grams.
A carat is categorized into 100 equal points, which means:
100 points are equal to 1 carat.
75 points are equal to a 3-quarter carat.
50 points are equal to a half carat.
25 points are equal to a quarter carat.
As the carat of the gemstone increases, its price also increases. But do you wonder why does the price increase? It is because the more colossal a gemstone is, the more difficult it is to find it. Approximately one of every million diamonds can be polished into one carat diamond.
Compared to well-cut diamonds, a deep-cut diamond has a smaller diameter since more of its weight is hidden in its depth. These differences are however tiny but are quite noticeable. Although a well-cut diamond may weigh a little less than a deeply cut diamond, its diameter is larger, so it appears larger.
The carat size of the gemstone is also determined by its overall look because of its crown area, measure, approximate size, or total surface area. For instance, shapes like oval and round appear larger in front of longer shapes like marquise, oval, emerald, and pearl. It is always a good idea for consumers to take the time to explore each piece's Carat Total Weight (CTW), which measures the combined weight of the diamonds in the piece.
In spite of all this, it is not entirely true correct that a bigger gemstone is more expensive and more perfect. A diamond buyer should know the 4 C's of a diamond, the ornament they wish the diamond to adorn, and their own personal tastes. In spite of the fact that a diamond is flawless in every sense, it is our innate enjoyment of its exotic and intricate appeal that makes it so exemplary and perfect.
Timeline Of A Lab Grown Diamond
Let us explore the changing timeline of the gemstones created in labs by using technology and how it has evolved through the decades.
- The 1950s The first ever Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD) Diamonds were produced by Union Carbide in 1952. Soon after, other manufacturers started producing these gemstones in laboratories using the high pressure high temperature (HPHT) method. However, these lab made stones were primarily used for industrial use only, such as telecommunications, abrasives, laser optics, and so much more.
- The 1970s General Electric researched and created the first kind of gem-quality lab-made diamond. They can be used as jewelry because of their high clarity and large size. It was in 1971 that the GIA scientists published the first scientific study of gemstones manufactured in laboratories.
- The Mid 1980s During this time, the manufacturers started growing diamonds that were of gem quality and could be easily used for commercial purposes. Initially, lab created diamonds were small and yellowish or brownish in color, but they gradually improved in quality after a few decades.
- The 2000s - It is possible to create gem-quality diamonds through the chemical vapor deposition (CVD) process, which uses low pressures and temperatures compared to the high pressure high temperature process.
- The Mid 2010s - Commercial quantities of colorless laboratory-grown diamonds are available on the jewelry market. Now, both CVD and HPHT methods are popular ways of creating laboratory grown diamonds for the general public.
Price of Lab Grown Diamonds
If we compare the price of lab grown diamonds between 2017 and 2021, we can see a dramatic change. At the beginning of 2017, the price of man made diamonds were quite high compared to their natural counterparts. But since then, their prices have dropped significantly while the prices of natural stones have risen.
As per a study, the price of bigger stones is falling faster than smaller stones. This fall in price is mainly due to low manufacturing costs. With the advent of technology and better machines, diamonds can be grown at a lower price and thus can meet the demands of every individual.
Thus, every individual can now fulfill their wish of wearing a shiny, brilliant, and transparent stone without burning a hole in their pocket.
How Are Laboratory Grown Diamonds Identified?
Although natural and laboratory grown diamonds look absolutely similar, there are some ways in which you can tell these two gemstones apart.
1.You must buy your jewelry from a reputable jeweler, whether you are buying mined or lab grown. A good jeweler will not only tell you about the source of the stone but will also provide you with a report. This is why buying your stones from a certified gemologist is important.
2.You can ask for an independent grading report from your jeweler that will not only tell you from which lab it came but also about the assessment of 4C.
3.You cannot, however, tell the difference between these two stones just by looking at them since they both have similar physical and molecular properties. Because lab techniques hadn't been perfected yet in the 1970s, original lab grown diamonds may have a yellow tinge.
4.Place a magnifying glass over the girdle, which is the widest part of the diamond. Usually, lab grown diamonds have the initials of the lab or agency that certified them, along with a unique report number.
How Does GIA Evaluate Lab Grown Diamonds?
GIA laboratories first examine laboratory grown diamonds to determine whether they are natural or laboratory grown. It is then graded according to the 4Cs, an international evaluation standard established by GIA. Color and clarity specifications on GIA Laboratory Grown Diamond Reports provide consumers with greater insight than ever before and allow them to make informed purchases. There is also a plot of the stone's clarity characteristics included in the report.
GIA scientists use spectroscopy and other advanced testing methods to determine the method of diamond growth: high-pressure, high-temperature (HPHT), or chemical vapor deposition (CVD). This information is too added to the report. Apart from stating the growing process of the gemstone, the report on the man made diamond also includes the inclusion of any evidence of any post-growth treatments. Laboratory grown or natural diamonds can be treated in several ways to gain fancy colors, such as pink, blue, green, or yellow, or to improve the color of a D-to-Z diamond.
Lab Grown Diamond Reports also indicate whether post-growth treatments have been applied to a diamond and describe its growth method. GIA also laser-engraves a statement that identifies the diamond as being lab grown on the diamond's girdle as an additional measure to protect consumers.