As Millennials and Gen Z become more environmentally conscious, lab created diamonds are becoming a trendy alternative to naturally mined gems. The diamond industry is often criticized for its environmental and humanitarian costs, but as the diamond market continues to evolve, young people are beginning to look elsewhere for their next engagement ring or pair of earrings.
Despite the controversy surrounding their origin, lab diamonds are real and have the same chemical, optical, and physical properties as natural mined diamonds. And, as long as they are sourced ethically, and environmentally, and are conflict-free they are perfectly acceptable to purchase.
The truth is that a single, natural diamond can be as expensive as $55 million, according to Maria Doulton, editor of The Jewellery Editor in the U.K. Those prices can be due to many factors, including a shortage of diamond supply and high labour and energy costs associated with mining and cutting them.
It is estimated that the man made diamonds Sydney industry consumes around 250 million joules of electricity per carat. This is a lot, and it’s also bad for the environment because it uses non-renewable energy.
But that doesn’t mean there’s no room for improvement within the diamond industry, and it’s clear that a lot of research is being done to make man-made diamonds more accessible and eco-friendly. One way that lab diamonds are proving to be more environmentally friendly than their mined counterparts is through their ability to disinfect polluted water sources.
Another benefit of lab diamonds is their lower production costs, which makes them cheaper than naturally mined stones. This is great for consumers who want to avoid paying excessively high prices for their diamonds.
While there are a few ways to create lab-grown diamonds, the chemical vapor deposition (CVD) process is the most common. This method involves placing a small diamond seed in a chamber filled with gases heated to specific temperatures. The seed absorbs the gas, and carbon molecules begin to grow on it, creating the crystalline structure that gives lab-grown diamonds their unique sparkle and color.
The other popular method of growing lab-grown diamonds is through the high-pressure, high-temperature (HPHT) process. This method is meant to mimic how the Earth’s natural forces form diamonds.
It’s a complex process, but once the diamond is created it has the same chemical and physical characteristics as a natural diamond. It can also be certified by the IGI or GIA, the same organizations that certify naturally mined diamonds.
There are also some lab-grown diamonds that are created with solar energy, a process that is said to be carbon neutral. These are produced in the USA by Diamond Foundry, a company that’s committed to making its production processes as environmentally friendly as possible.
But the biggest reason to consider lab-grown diamonds is that they are much more affordable than natural ones. They are also less susceptible to demand and supply, meaning that they are often available in a broader range of shapes, sizes, and colors than natural diamonds. Moreover, lab diamonds are more durable and can last longer than natural diamonds.