Larion Kantor

Synthetic or natural diamonds:
what’d be the best choice?
Larion Kantor

Synthetic or natural diamonds:
what’d be the best choice?
Laboratories creating synthetic diamonds is not something new for the jewels market.
Even though first jewellery grade adamants were grown back in the 1970s, buyers still feel skeptical and distrustful about it.

Let’s get to the bottom of the difference between two, natural and synthetic, diamonds, which one of them is more preferable and how to make the right choice.
What is a synthetic diamond?
Lab-grown, artificial or synthetic diamonds are being made in a laboratory.
Today there 2 technological methods for growing diamonds:
1. HPHT - high pressure method.
2. CVD - chemical vapor residual matter method

All of the natural processes that took place in the Earth’s depths billions years ago get cycled over in a laboratory, but a lot faster.
Growing an adamant can take a few weeks up to a few months.
The diamond that is received after cutting a lab-grown adamant is being graded by the same criteria natural one does.
  • Carat weight
  • Color
  • Clarity
  • Cut

Synthetic crystals can be not only colourless. To get coloured diamonds they add boron compounds’ extraneous matter for blue ones and those of nitrogen for yellow ones.
After treating already grown crystals they get red and rose colored ones.
How to tell a natural diamond from a synthetic one?
Nowadays the classification of diamonds is strictly regulated. In 2020 the board of directors of World Jewellery Confederation released a document that is called “CIBJO Blue Book”. It defined the classification standards for lab-grown diamonds.
So, for example, there are three characterizations that should be present on synthetic diamonds jewellery pieces:
  • A synthetic diamond
  • A lab-grown diamond
  • An artificial lab-made diamond

These terms are required to be used by manufacturing companies, dealers and salesmen. The words “synthetic” or “lab-grown” should be placed before the word “diamond” without any other words in between to avoid confusing the clients.
If you would like to be able to tell what kind of adamant is in front of you, there are many portable devices, for example, screeners and analysers. With their help you can identify up to 98% of diamonds on-site. But to receive a 100% answer on the nature of the diamond you should reach out to a gemstones certification laboratory. For instance, GIA, HRD or IGI.
Synthetic diamond or an imitation
Lab-grown adamants are often mistaken for imitations, even though there is a great difference between them. Synthetic diamond is a mineral having essentially the same chemical composition, physical properties and optical qualities as a diamond.

Adamant imitation is a stone that imitates the appearance of natural diamonds without having their chemical composition. Physical properties and optical qualities may be close to natural and synthetic ones, but usually don't reach their standards.

Cubic zirconia and moissanite are not synthetic diamonds, even sometimes they may be promoted to be precious minerals. Nevertheless, every expert will notice the fake.

Cubic zirconia is an artificially made stone that can’t have any natural counterparts. To be able to tell a diamond from a cubic zirconia all you need to do is breathe on it. Natural adamant has a high thermal conductivity, so it won’t get covered in condensation, but a cubic zirconia will.

Moissanite can be found in nature but in a very small amount. That's why it’s practically impossible to find a jewellery piece with natural moissanite. Everything that is being sold on the market is artificial counterparts of precious jewels that are used as a cheaper synthetic diamonds substitute.

It is pretty difficult to tell moissanite from diamond with a naked eye even though the dispersion and refraction qualities of these minerals are different.

It is necessary to lean on independent lab certification, not seller’s assurances, if you want to be certain about what stone you are about to buy.
Current market situation
Nowadays, synthetic diamond manufacturers lead active marketing campaigns to promote the benefits of these stones to the clients. They highlight environmental friendliness, ethical production and lower cost of the goods. Their target audience is mostly millennials that are less passionate about luxurious items compared to the older generations.

Natural diamonds will always be a symbol of luxury and high social status
Moreover, if you consider buying a jewel as an investment, then only natural diamonds with high qualities will fulfil that purpose.

Currently the price for natural diamonds is constantly growing. And this tendency will keep on going because the raw materials are getting scarce with every year going by. Deposits of precious stones are being depleted and according to the experts the diamond reserves in the depths of the Earth will be fully drained in 30-35 years.

Consistent with that, the lab-grown diamonds manufacturing technologies are constantly improving, clarity and maximum size qualities of the minerals are growing and the manufacturing costs of these stones are getting reduced.

It is likely that the gap between natural and synthetic diamonds’ buyers will get even bigger.
Synthetic and natural diamonds are almost indistinguishable visually. Because of that you need to make the choice between these two based on your personal goals. Lab-grown diamonds will help you save money to buy more jewellery pieces, whereas natural gemstones will emphasise your status and become a great investment.
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