Mined vs. Synthetic diamonds. Why lab-grown diamonds are now finally better than their natural equivalent

Mined vs. Synthetic diamonds. Why lab-grown diamonds are now finally better than their natural equivalent ...

In the early days of lab-grown diamonds, it was easy to tell the difference between them and ones grown in the Earth. In fact, in the past, most lab-grown diamonds were considered unfit for jewelry and were instead put to industrial use (nuclear engineering, cutting tools etc.).

Today, however, things have changed dramatically in the world of lab-grown diamonds. Now, if you compare a natural and a lab-grown diamond side by side, their differences are impossible to detect. Even experienced gemologists cannot identify the difference without the use of sophisticated machinery.

The reason? An improved process and more advanced equipment mean that now it is possible to grow diamonds in the lab that are exactly like natural diamonds in every respect, from look and feel all the way down to their chemical composition. Read more about how cremation diamonds are made here.

Lab-grown diamonds have exactly the same composition as do natural diamonds. Their identical structure makes them impossible to detect without the use of specialized machinery.

Sometimes, lab-grown diamonds are confused with diamond simulants such as cubic zirconia. Diamond simulants, or imitations, look similar to diamonds but have completely different compositions than do diamonds and, therefore, have different properties. For example, cubic zirconia is softer than are diamonds and, when cut, reflects light differently. Thanks to these different properties, diamond simulants are fairly easy to distinguish from real diamonds.

Lab-grown diamonds, on the other hand, have the same composition as do natural diamonds: The rigid, cubic arrangement of carbon atoms to achieve a brilliant, sparkling gem. Because they are real diamonds, with the real diamond structure, they look exactly the same. Faced with this identical structure, no human is capable of distinguishing one from the other.

Because lab-grown and natural diamonds are both real diamonds, they have the same properties. As a result, they look and feel exactly alike, making them impossible to distinguish from each other with the naked eye.

As mentioned above, lab-grown and natural diamonds have the same chemical composition. As a result, lab-grown diamonds have the same properties as do natural diamonds. Brilliant, sparkling radiance, impenetrable hardness, and the same types flaws are part and parcel of both.

As a result, if you look at or handle a diamond, you will find it impossible to figure out if it is lab grown or natural. For example, it will feel equally hard (and perform equally well when put to a cutting test). It will reflect the light in the same way off its facets, and so forth. As a result, no matter what physical test you run on it, the lab grown diamond will perform just the same as a diamond grown in the Earth. 

Lab-grown diamonds come in the same sizes and shapes as do natural diamonds, and, therefore, look the same in jewelry as do natural diamonds.

The first lab-grown diamonds were very small. Achieving a size anywhere close to that of most natural diamonds (especially those suitable for jewelry) was impossible. Today, however, synthetic diamonds, just like real diamonds can come in any size, from mini diamonds to large ones of three carats or more.

In addition, synthetic diamonds can be cut in any of the ways that natural diamonds can be. Whether you want a princess cut, an asscher cut, an emerald cut, a round cut, or any other type of diamond cut, you can have it with a lab-grown diamond.

As a result, in size and in cut, lab grown diamonds offer the same options and can adorn the same type of jewelry as do natural diamonds. Once your lab-grown diamond is placed within a jewelry setting, it will look just the same as a natural diamond in that same setting.

Lab-grown diamonds are professionally graded for the 4 C’s of cut, color, clarity, and carat (weight). The reason? Lab-grown diamonds have exactly the same qualities as do natural diamonds and are thus eligible for grading alongside natural diamonds.

Another reason that no human can distinguish between lab grown and natural diamonds is because lab grown diamonds are high enough in quality to receive the 4C’s rating given to natural diamonds.

In the early days of lab grown diamonds, this was not the case. The diamonds were inferior enough to natural diamonds that professional institutions such as the GIA would not grade them. However, more recently, the refinement and improvement of the diamond growing process has meant that lab-grown diamonds are being grown with the same quality as natural diamonds.

The 4Cs of diamonds are cut, color, clarity, and carat (weight). The combination of these four qualities determines the overall quality of the diamond, and often determines its price. For example, a diamond with an expert cut, minimal blemishes, a flawless color, and a large carat weight will be worth far more than a less precisely cut diamond that has a few blemishes, a little bit of color, and a small size.

Lab grown diamonds are now graded on the same scale as are natural diamonds. Why? Because they can be grown with exactly the same level of quality as natural diamonds. In fact, in many cases, the lab grown diamond can be made with fewer blemishes and more perfect color than is present in many natural diamonds.

Humans cannot tell the difference between lab grown and natural diamonds because the features that do distinguish them are so microscopic that they require specialized machinery to detect. These differences are so difficult to see because they have no impact on the structure, composition, or authenticity of the diamond.

There is one way to distinguish between lab-grown and Earth-grown diamonds: Advanced machinery specifically designed for that purpose. In particular, lab-grown diamonds often come with a tiny, laser inscription.  While these inscriptions are impossible to see with the naked eye, they can be seen with the use of the right machinery.

Why are lab-grown diamonds given this inscription?  Because they are real diamonds, with all of the chemical composition and properties of Earth-grown diamonds. It is only through the use of tiny labels that it is possible to tell one from the other.

So why are lab grown diamonds so difficult to distinguish from natural diamonds? Because lab grown diamonds are real diamonds. From their composition to their properties, to their cut and size to their 4Cs quality, they are exactly like. That is why, when you choose a lab grown diamond (such as a cremation diamond), you are selecting a truly authentic, timeless, and beautiful diamond that you can wear with pride.

This post is part of our contributor series. It is written and published independently of TNW.

Read next: How to make your app smart(er): a 4-step roadmap to be AI-ready