Lab Grown vs. Mined Diamonds
Mined diamonds were formed deep in the earth under extreme pressure and high temperature as long as three billion years ago. Volcanic activity brought them to the surface where they lay in a type of volcanic rock formation known as kimberlite pipes, waiting to be mined. Only about five percent of kimberlite pipes contain enough diamond to make them economically feasible to mine.
Man-made diamonds suitable for industrial use were first produced in a laboratory in the 1950s. While gem-quality diamonds were produced in a laboratory for the first time in 1971, it was not until the mid-2010's that colorless laboratory-grown diamonds entered the gem and jewelry market in commercial quantities.
Today, laboratory-grown diamonds are created by two methods.
High pressure, high temperature (HPHT) diamonds are produced in a laboratory by mimicking the high pressure, high temperature conditions that form natural diamonds in the Earth. This process produces a distinctively shaped laboratory-grown diamond crystal.
The chemical vapor deposition (CVD) method involves breaking down the molecules of a carbon-rich gas, such as methane, into carbon and hydrogen atoms, which then are deposited on diamond seeds to produce a square-shaped, tabular diamond crystal.
PROS AND CONS OF LAB GROWN VS MINED DIAMONDS
DeVons Jewelers was one of the first independent jewelers in the country to investigate and offer fine quality lab grown diamonds to our customers. Like "disruptor's" in other industries, lab grown diamonds were controversial when first introduced. Many jewelers knew little about them and thought erroneously that they were not "real" diamonds. This falsehood has now been rectified. According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC): "A diamond is a mineral consisting essentially of pure carbon crystallized in the isometric system." Additionally, the word "natural" has been eliminated from its definition. Both lab grown diamonds and mined diamonds have IDENTICAL carbon structures. In essence, a diamond is a diamond regardless of whether it is grown in a lab or comes out of the ground.
There is no right or wrong regarding the selection of a lab grown or mined diamond. It is a very personal decision and DeVons wants our customers to be fully informed and educated about both types of diamonds. Our efforts are to ensure that we only offer the finest quality and best possible diamond values available and let each individual make the most appropriate choice for themselves.
Both lab grown and earth mined diamonds can appear differently to the human eye even with identical laboratory certification characteristics. Many consumers believe that if a certification has the same Cut, Color or Clarity, the diamonds are visually identical. This is absolutely untrue and causes many problems when consumers purchase diamonds online based only on a laboratory certification. Because of the nuances in the growing process, either through mother nature in the earth or in the laboratory, diamonds can have various tints that will not be noted on their color grade in the certificate. (See the photograph of two diamonds with identical International Gemological Institute certificate) Additionally, there are certain kinds of inclusions that are more visible to the naked eye than others. Some diamonds with SI1-2 clarity are eye visible while others are not.
DeVons experienced diamond buyers will never purchase a diamond based on a certificate alone as each diamond is unique and must be examined physically to assess how it visually faces up. Every Forever Pure lab grown diamond as well as DeVons extensive inventory of mined diamonds is personally examined by at least two of DeVons professional diamond buyers before being purchased from our direct sources. Consumers need to be aware that it is impossible to ascertain a diamond's actual beauty from just a laboratory certificate as there are many variations within the Cut, Color and Clarity designations.