Man-made diamonds are grown by scientists in a lab. The process has been used as a way of making gem-quality diamonds since the 1950s. They were initially made by scientists who grew crystals from carbon under high pressure and temperature.
In 1954, another method was created that involved bombarding atoms into tiny diamond seeds, which were later placed in a microwave chamber and heated to around 842 degrees Fahrenheit for several days.
The diamonds are pure carbon, just like natural diamonds, but they have the same physical characteristics as diamond crystals formed deep underground.
There are now multiple ways to create diamond crystals in a lab, growing them from the ground up atom by atom. There’s even one method where scientists shoot lasers at compressed graphite until it decomposes and turns into a diamond.
The increasing demand of man-made diamonds:
It’s estimated that over 300 million carats are now being made every year in the lab, but most go towards industrial purposes. They are used in abrasives, drill bits, cutting tools, and electrical applications because of their extreme hardness. An average person will never see most man-made diamonds because they’re too small to be cut into gems.
Many of the smaller pieces that end up with gemologists won’t ever make it into jewelry because they aren’t all clear or colorless. They are still diamonds, though, which can be identified through several special tests used by gemologists.
How to buy man-made diamond jewelry:
When buying man-made diamonds, you first need to check the certificate that came with the ring. Some certificates don’t specifically say if it is natural or lab-created. It may just say “diamond” without any further clarification.
If you see something like this, don’t buy it because it’s unclear if it’s a natural diamond or a man-made one. In that case, you would want to contact the seller and then proceed from there.
If you have a certificate that says “laboratory-grown” or any other variety of those words, it is absolutely laboratory-created. If the label doesn’t mention anything about being lab-created, then it is natural.
You also want to see if the certificate says that the stone is “diamond simulant.” Man-made scientists create diamond simulants, but they do not have all the carbon atoms required to make their natural diamonds. They are sometimes referred to as cubic zirconia or CZ.
Again, if the certificate says “diamond simulant,” there is no chance that it’s real. If it doesn’t specifically say diamond, CZ, or simulant and says “crystal” or something like that, you’ll want to contact the seller to find out more information.
If you bought your item from a well-known company such as Fergus James lab-made diamonds, then it’s likely that the item is lab-created. They don’t specify if it’s natural on their website because they understand the difference between real diamonds and lab-created ones.
If you bought your piece from a company like eBay or Groupon, then you’ll want to contact them before purchasing anything and see what kind of information you can get. Some vendors may not know what they are selling, so it’s best to find out as much as possible before buying anything.
If you’re still unsure about the stone, there are several tests that you can do at home to figure it out without having to pay an expert. The first test is the scratch test. Take an ordinary piece of scratch paper and rub the surface with your ring.
If it leaves a blank-looking colorless streak, then that means the stone is lab-created because natural diamonds are much harder than plain paper. If you get a dark mark or spot on the paper, then it’s a natural diamond.
The second test is a specific gravity test, which can be done with a kit you can buy online. With this method, you’ll need to take the stone out of your piece and weigh it on a scale against water.
Diamonds will float, while synthetic diamonds will sink because they are heavier than natural diamond crystals. Man-made diamond crystals are a similar size, but they are heavier due to the weight of the metal that is added to them.
The last test you can do at home is called a thermal conductivity test. If you have a jeweler’s loupe or microscope, then this one will be easier for you as it requires your ring to be taken apart.