Shanghai Diamond Exchange President, Qiang Lin
“Mined diamonds are a gift of Nature whereas manmade diamonds are a gift of human wisdom.”
John King, Chief Quality Officer of the Gemological Institute of America (GIA)
“They’re both diamonds, they have the same chemical properties, the same physical properties.”
Modern Technology versus Natural Creation
It has taken almost 60 years to develop the precision and expertise required to grow a gem-quality diamond larger than a carat in a laboratory. Now that we have, the diamond game is set to be revolutionized.
Cultured diamonds and mined diamonds have identical chemical compositions, optical properties and physical properties. Indistinguishable without the aid of high-tech laboratory equipment, and independently tested to the same grading criteria as mined you can rest assured these cultured diamonds are the real deal. Environment conscious, our laboratory has taken every measure to reduce their carbon impact. Utilizing solar cells and modern technology our diamond laboratory has a zero net carbon impact.
The human element, the genius and skill of cultured diamonds is what makes this selection so special.
How are cultured diamonds made?
Diamonds are cultured in the lab using a process known as Chemical Vapour Deposition (CVD).
Scientists start by cutting a small slice of carbon known as a diamond seed which are then placed in a low-pressure chamber. Hydrogen and methane gases are injected into the chamber. High-power microwave energy is applied to heat the chamber to the same temperature as the outer core of the sun, this heat breaks down the atomic bonds in the gases and ignites a plasma ball. A cloud forms inside the chamber which releases the free carbon atoms, the atoms ‘rain’ down onto the diamond seeds to grow the diamond atom-by-atom. This method is similar to how snowfall collects on a table. A sizeable rough diamond is formed within six to twelve weeks. The rough diamond is then cut, polished and graded the same way a mined diamond is.
Formed deep within the earth’s mantle approximately 150 – 400 kilometers below ground. Diamonds grow under immense heat and pressure; approximately 10 psi and temperature ranging from 900- 1300°C. Naturally created diamonds are extremely old minerals, on average 2.3 billion years old. Natural diamonds are mined from volcanic pipes such as kimberlite and lamproite. It is believed diamond mining began in India as early as 400 B.C. There are several diamond producing countries across the world, including Canada mainly in the NWT. Mined diamonds are available in a variety of colours called fancy diamonds, such as; yellow, pink, blue and black to name a few.
The wonder of creation and ancient awe of diamonds is what makes mined diamonds so special.
How do I know I’m buying a real cultured diamond?
To protect consumers, independent third-party grading organizations are responsible for the verification of diamonds. All grading reports will characterize diamonds based on the 4C’s, along with a date of mining or production, and origin; such as Canada or laboratory-grown. All grading reports have a unique identification number which can be verified. All our cultured diamonds 0.25 carats and larger are laser-inscribed as such on the diamond itself.
How much do cultured diamonds cost?
Cultured diamonds cost approximately 30% less than their mined counterparts. The cost of cultured diamonds is still based off of the quality of the stone, the same as mined diamonds’ cost is determined. So a colourless, flawless cultured diamond will still cost more than a blemished stone of the same carat due to rarity, however the cultured diamonds will cost significantly less than the mined equivalent.
Myth: Cultured diamonds are not real diamonds.
Mined diamonds and cultured diamonds are both composed of 99.95% pure carbon. They share identical chemical, physical and optical properties.
“Manmade diamonds are diamonds” – Federal Trade Commission, August 2018.
Myth: Cultured diamonds are identical.
Each diamond, regardless of origin has a unique fingerprint known as flaws. All gem-quality diamonds are graded on the same 4C characteristics (carat, colour, clarity and cut) by an independent third-party institute.
Myth: Cultured diamonds are cheap to make.
The process used to create cultured diamonds is very expensive. The equipment necessary to create the conditions in which to grow the diamonds costs tens of thousands to maintain, the process employed is the most advanced manufacturing process achieved by humankind and requires extreme precision. Even with this new technology, diamonds larger than one carat are rare.
Myth: Cultured diamonds are the same as CZ or Moissanite.
Although all three gems appear the same, and it would be easy to believe this to be true. Cultured diamonds have the same chemical composition as mined diamonds whereas the others do not. Therefore, CZ and moissanite are not diamond but their own gems respectively.