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Diamonds are forever, which is why this precious stone is often the most popular choice as a symbol of everlasting love.
But with the high humanitarian and environmental costs attached to the acquisition of natural diamonds, young couples are beginning to fall out of love with these.
This is probably why more and more people are turning to lab-grown diamond alternatives.
Still, the question of whether the human-made stones grown in laboratories can be considered “genuine” diamonds remains.
Many people put a lot of weight on whether the gem on their engagement or wedding ring is authentic. It is a symbol of commitment, after all.
So, if you are planning to buy lab-grown diamond wedding bands for your big day, you have the right to know what these stones really are.
Deemed as the hardest known substance on Earth, natural diamonds are made from pure carbon that have been developed over one to three billion years.
Roughly 85 miles under the planet’s mantle, carbon dioxide undergoes extreme natural conditions – a temperature of about 2,200 degrees Fahrenheit and pressure of at least 727,000 pounds per square inch (psi) – that turns it into crystalline rocks.
The diamonds are then ejected from deep within the planet’s core to the surface through volcanic explosions.
Upon reaching the Earth’s surface, the rough gems are mined, refined, and used for industrial purposes or transformed into embellishments for jewelry.
But what are lab-grown diamonds? These are made in a laboratory. Sometimes called man-made diamonds, these stones are created by mimicking the natural conditions that lead to the formation of natural ones.
The key difference between the two is where they come from.
Because of this, lab-grown diamonds are much more affordable than natural ones. They are also much easier to come by, plus they have a broader range of cuts, carats, colors, and clarity.
Are lab-grown diamonds fake? The answer to this million-dollar question lies in the official words used to describe lab-grown diamonds.
There are many alternative names used to refer to lab-grown diamonds in the market, including “synthetic,” “simulated,” or even “fake.”
However, the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) – a known authority in diamonds – prefers to call lab-grown versions of these rocks “man-made” or “synthetic.”
Simulated diamonds are not actual diamonds but are stones that only look like them. Some examples include:
Lab-grown diamonds are considered real diamonds because they are made of the same carbon atoms as natural diamonds. They have similar optical and chemical characteristics as that of the crystal produced by Mother Nature.
So, without a doubt, lab-grown diamonds are as authentic as natural diamonds can get. What differentiates them is their origin.
As mentioned earlier, diamonds made from a laboratory go through similar conditions as the natural ones – extreme pressure and intense heat. However, the creation of man-made diamonds only takes a couple of weeks and not billions of years.
The process begins with a tiny piece of a diamond called a “diamond seed,” coated in pure carbon and sealed inside a special chamber that mimics the same conditions natural diamonds undergo inside the Earth’s crust. A few weeks later, the seed eventually transforms into a synthetic diamond with the same chemical make-up as a natural diamond.
From there, the rough product is cut and polished according to the specification of its use.
Take note that there are two different methods used for lab-created diamonds: high pressure-high temperature (HPHT) and chemical vapor deposition (CVD).
High Pressure-High Temperature (HPHT)
The HPHT diamond-growing process exposes the tiny carbon-coated diamond seed to extreme temperatures of roughly 2,700 degrees Fahrenheit and intense pressure of around 1.5 million psi. Once the pure carbon melts, it begins to form a diamond around the seed.
After cooling it carefully, it transforms into a pure carbon diamond.
Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD)
The CVD process uses a thin diamond seed slice produced from HPHT.
This process uses less pressure and heat (around 1,500 degrees Fahrenheit). Instead, it adds a chemical gas mixture containing carbon-rich gasses like methane, which breaks down and hardens into crystallized carbon.
This process uses the same technology as that of lasers or microwaves, ionizing gases into plasma. The ionization eventually breaks the gas molecules, making the pure carbon stick to the diamond seed as it gradually crystallizes into a lab-grown diamond.
There are many kinds of lab-grown diamonds, so choosing the perfect ones for your wedding bands depends on what you and your significant other prefer.
Here are some guidelines to help narrow down your options:
1. Consider the diamond rating.
The 4Cs of the diamond rating system refer to the color, carat, cut, and clarity of the stone. Each of these plays a crucial role in the appearance of the diamond and the ring it will be attached to.
2. Don’t get swayed by big stones.
Bigger isn’t always better when it comes to diamond wedding bands. In fact, what the bride-to-be wants and finds more practical to wear is much more important than the size of the centerpiece of the wedding band.
3. Think about the engagement ring.
Most engagement rings already have a big stone, so you don’t necessarily have to choose big-carat diamonds for your wedding bands. But if you still want some stones glittering around your ring finger, be sure to consider how your wedding ring will look when worn with the engagement ring.
The Bottom Line
Lab-grown diamonds are becoming more popular among couples not only because of their cost but also because of their authenticity. Find the perfect lab-grown diamond wedding band for your big day using this article as a guide.
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