Lab-grown diamonds are a form of synthetic diamond produced in a laboratory environment using high-pressure high-temperature (HPHT) or chemical vapor deposition (CVD) methods. Both methods involve the formation of diamond crystal structures through the manipulation of carbon atoms, resulting in a final product with equivalent chemical, physical, and optical properties as those found in mined diamonds.
The HPHT method entails the application of high pressure and high temperature conditions to a small seed crystal, causing diamond material to grow and form on the seed crystal. This method emulates the natural processes that occur within the Earth’s mantle to form diamonds. In contrast, the CVD method involves the deposition of a thin layer of carbon atoms onto a substrate, such as a metal or diamond seed, and subjecting the atoms to high temperature conditions to bond and form diamond crystal structures.
The cost-effectiveness of lab-grown diamonds is attributed to the controlled laboratory environment in which they are produced, as opposed to the costly and potentially dangerous excavation and chemical processes involved in diamond mining. Additionally, the production time for lab-grown diamonds is significantly shorter than that of mined diamonds, which can take millions of years to form.
In terms of characterization, lab-grown diamonds are virtually indistinguishable from mined diamonds and can only be differentiated through advanced laboratory testing. This, in combination with their equivalent chemical, physical, and optical properties, makes them a viable alternative to mined diamonds in various applications, including jewelry and investment.