Can you tell the difference?

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The second is from a laboratory and possesses essentially the same chemical, physical and optical properties as its natural counterpart. Although the FTC says diamonds are essentially pure carbon, the vast majority of natural diamonds contain trace amounts of other substances, particularly nitrogen, which gives them a yellow color or rarely boron, which imparts a blue color. In addition, they usually contain inclusions, tiny bits of foreign material that were trapped in the still-forming diamond millions of years ago.

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Laboratory-grown diamonds also sometimes referred to as man-made or synthetic diamonds entered the gem and jewelry market in commercial quantities about five years ago. Although identical in appearance to natural diamonds, they have very subtle differences that can only be detected by trained gemologists and sophisticated equipment designed for that purpose.

Natural diamonds 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.

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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 s. While gem-quality diamonds were produced in a laboratory for the first time in , it was not until the mids that colorless laboratory-grown diamonds entered the gem and jewelry market in commercial quantities.

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Today, laboratory-grown diamonds are created by two methods, according to Dr. 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. Growing diamonds by either method typically requires less than a month for most sizes.

Most CVD-grown diamonds require additional treatments like heat or irradiation to enhance or change their colors after the growth process. Typically, laboratory-grown diamonds have weighed a carat or less, but as technology and techniques improve, larger stones have appeared in the market.

It is essential that laboratory-grown diamonds can be identified because consumers need to know what they are buying, and because there are often significant price differences between them and natural gemstones. Even if you choose not to have your activity tracked by third parties for advertising services, you will still see non-personalized ads on our site.

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