There was a time when diamonds were available only in reputed jewelry stores and you knew that it was mined from under the earth. But nowadays with lab created diamonds, simulated diamonds, synthetic diamonds and even cubic zirconias available, most people are confused whether these are real diamonds with all their properties or just a flashy stone with no value. To avoid getting cheated and to know more about these stones, you should know the difference between lab created diamonds and real diamonds. Most jewelers take advantage of people's ignorance and pass off diamond simulants like cubic zirconia as real and natural diamonds.
Difference between Real Diamonds and Lab Created Diamonds
Before we debate about lab created diamonds vs natural diamonds, let us first know the various terms like diamond simulants, man-made diamonds and synthetic diamonds. Real diamonds or natural diamonds are mined from under the Earth and is formed by extreme pressure and temperature in the Earth's core. Diamonds are made of carbon atoms only and it is the purest form of carbon. The carbon atoms form a crystalline structure in a cubic arrangement. Synthetic diamonds, man-made diamonds or lab created diamonds are created in a laboratory by simulating these high temperature and pressure situation. A lab created diamond has the same material properties like hardness and thermal conductivity as that of a real diamond. Diamond simulants are not diamonds at all and they are just imitation stones that just mimic the luster and brilliance of a diamond.
Now that we have explained the various terms like lab created diamonds, natural diamonds and diamond simulant, let us discuss the difference between real diamonds and lab created diamonds. As we have already established, lab created diamonds have the same chemical and material properties as natural diamonds. But there are some differences between the two.
As lab created diamonds are produced in the laboratory by simulating the same high pressure and temperature conditions, therefore some impurities might remain in the diamond during the manufacturing process. Because of this only a very small percentage of lab created diamonds are the flawless colorless variety. Because of the presence of trace amounts of nitrogen impurities, a slight yellow tinge in lab created diamonds is seen. Sometimes the presence of boron impurity can make the diamonds blue in color. While this is desirable if you are looking for blue, yellow or any other colored diamond, it is not good news for people who are seeking a colorless lab created diamond.
Perhaps the most notable difference between man-made diamonds and natural diamonds is in its size. Natural diamonds vary in sizes from ¼ th of a carat to over 500 carats. But lab created diamonds can be produced up to 6 carats only. While 6 carat is what many people would be satisfied with to have in their wedding rings and earrings, some might find this size to be too restrictive.
Of course the most important difference between lab created diamonds and real diamonds is in their price. Lab created diamonds are at least 25 - 40 percent lower in price than a real diamond with the same color, cut, size and clarity. This makes lab created diamonds more affordable to people who shy away from buying a real diamond.
Method of Creation
A lab created diamond is produced in a laboratory by two methods. One is HPHT (High Pressure High Temperature) method and the other is by CVD (Chemical Vapor Deposition) method. Natural diamonds on the other hand are formed deep under the Earth by nature.
Since natural diamonds used as gemstones are expensive and rare, therefore people associate it with romance and mystery. But a lab created diamond is not inferior to a real diamond although it has none of the mystery and allure associated with a real diamond.