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What is a Lab Diamond and Should You Buy One?

Updated: May 14

What is a Lab Diamond? 


A lab-grown diamond is sometimes known as a cultured or synthetic diamond. It is created in a laboratory rather than being formed naturally in the Earth's crust. A factory can employ either the high-pressure and high-temperature (HPHT), or chemical vapor deposition (CVD) method to mass-produce HPHT or CVD diamonds. 


In the HPHT method, a small diamond seed is placed in carbon and subjected to temperatures exceeding 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit and pressures of approximately 1.5 million pounds per square inch (PSI). The carbon then crystallizes around the diamond seed, facilitating growth. HPHT diamonds may contain metallic inclusions, causing approximately 58% of them to be magnetic.



HPHT Lab in China; source: GIA.edu


It's worth noting that the HPHT process can also be employed to enhance the color of diamonds. When this method is used, the diamonds are referred to as "treated." 

In the CVD method, a diamond seed is placed in a vacuum chamber instead. The chamber is then filled with gases that contain high levels of carbon. By heating the chamber, carbon particles are breaking down and gradually accumulating on the diamond seed, forming a layered structure resembling a cube. Most CVD-grown diamonds are milky or oily in appearance and require additional treatments, such as HPHT, to enhance their colors. Such "post growth" treated lab diamonds are worth additionally 50% less than "as-grown" ones. However, since most customers are unaware of the difference, most sellers offer such treated lab diamonds for the same price. It's advisable to consult with reputable jewellers who can provide accurate and detailed information about the specific stones you are interested in.


Difference between Lab Grown vs. Natural Diamonds: 


The main difference between lab diamonds and natural diamonds is really down to its origin, how it is formed, and its value. Do not let the terms cultivated diamonds or cultured diamond confuse you, they are all grown in a laboratory environment. Today, lab diamonds are approximately 10% of natural diamonds' cost, versus 10 years ago when it cost around 70% of natural diamonds' cost.


Source: Satista


Lab Grown Diamonds

Natural Diamonds

Man made

Earth Made

Formed in a month

Formed over billions of years

Low Price

High Price

No Resale Value

Resale value from 25%-50%

Mass-produced

One-of-a-kind

Produced in China, India, followed by the US

Found in Africa, Canada, Russia, Australia 


How to tell Lab Grown Diamonds and other Synthetics apart from Natural Diamonds:


Gemologists and scientists utilize the distinct growth patterns of HPHT, CVD, and natural diamonds to differentiate between them. When examining a CVD diamond, one may observe a series of ridges across its surface, which result from its layer-by-layer formation process. On the other hand, HPHT diamonds exhibit uneven color distribution or zoning when viewed under transmitted light. While natural diamonds can also display zoning, it will not be in such a geometric pattern. Additionally, as previously mentioned, HPHT diamonds may contain metallic inclusions. Larger metallic inclusions exhibit magnetic properties can be attracted to a magnet.



Source: GIA.edu 



Advanced techniques can further reveal that CVD diamonds emit light when exposed to ultraviolet radiation, a well-known characteristic specific to them. At Vere, we have on-site gemologists using the most up-to-date technology that uses a combination of spectroscopy, thermal conductivity, and various other techniques to achieve a 100% detection rate, effectively distinguishing between natural diamonds, laboratory-grown diamonds, and diamond simulants. 



In this picture, the lab grown diamonds are shining in a non-blue color and painted in red



Which one is suitable for you?


Ultimately, it comes down to personal preference. If you want a large stone but on a budget, and don't mind that the stone will decrease in value over time, a lab-grown diamond is one option. Alternatively, you can opt for non-diamond, natural gemstones for your sentimental piece. If you have the budget and want a unique diamond that increases in value, go for the natural diamond option. 


Natural diamonds hold a special place in our hearts. They have been cherished for centuries, valued for their natural origin and significance. Beyond their monetary value, diamonds have become symbolic of everlasting love, commitment, and luxury. At Vere, we ensure that all our natural diamonds are ethically sourced from certified suppliers. If you have loose diamonds and want to verify its authenticity, please contact our showroom. We are happy to run the tests for our customers.



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