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Diamonds Reborn- Exploring The Timeless Magic of Lab Grown Gems

Diamonds Reborn- Exploring The Timeless Magic of Lab Grown Gems

Diamonds are truly a journey through time. From their ancient origins deep within the Earth to their rise as symbols of love and luxury, diamonds continue to evolve and evolve as time progresses. 

The oldest diamonds date back to almost 3 billion years ago and the youngest diamonds only 1 billion years old, making them older than the forming continents, dinosaurs roaming the earth, and before human geography was ever established. These radiant gemstones are really among the oldest substances found on Earth, almost three-fourths of our planet's age. To put into other words, If diamonds were only a hundred years old, humans would only be 48 hours old. 

However, since they form so deep underground and do not survive the oxidizing conditions of common basaltic volcanism, we cannot access them until rare kimberlite eruptions bring them to the surface.

To put this into other words, the accessibility of diamonds is declining. But while the progression of technology is inclining, the world of diamonds rapidly changes as we speak. The history of diamonds makes the discovery of lab grown diamonds all the more remarkable and unique as you get that same beauty and quality as diamonds from billions of years ago but created in a fraction of the time. 

Lab grown diamonds are not far off from nostalgic times themselves. The first lab grown gem was created in 1954. The idea existed before this time but many scientists conducted failed attempts until Howard Tracy Hall and Herbert Strong became the first two scientists credited for officially creating lab-grown diamonds.  According to the Gem Society, ”During the mid 50’s lab grown diamonds were used mainly for industrial purposes, such as material for various machining and cutting tools." As the hardest known naturally occurring material, diamond can be used to polish, cut, or wear away any material, including other diamonds.

The more time progressed the more lab grown diamonds have excelled. By the 1990s labs had improved the quality of the diamond, making them more effective for jewelry and engagement rings. Fast forward to 2014, lab popularity began to grow largely because of the focal characteristic that is affordability. In 2018, the FTC officially recognized lab grown as real diamonds. According to diamond research firm, Edahn Golan, “Sales of man-made diamonds have increased from under $1 billion in 2016 to just under $12 billion in 2022.” This rapid growth is quite remarkable to note. It makes one wonder how rapid it will continue to grow in just the next five years. 

The science behind lab grown diamonds is also quite remarkable to note. There are two primary used processes conducted to create these exceptional gems. HPHT, also known as high pressure and high temperature, essentially replicates the conditions deep within the Earth where diamonds naturally form. A diamond seed, consisting of a carbon-like material, is placed into a growth chamber. The GIA confirms the intensity of the heat and pressure used to create the diamond. “The growth chamber is heated to 1300-1600 °C with pressures above 870,000 pounds per square inch.” These extreme conditions force the carbon atoms to rearrange into the crystalline structure of a diamond around the seed. After gradually growing over a period of days to weeks, a diamond is born. 

The second primary lab grown method is CVD, also known as Chemical Vapor Deposition. This process takes place in a vacuum chamber filled with gasses containing carbon. These gases are then heated to very high temperatures, causing them to break apart into carbon atoms. Next, these carbon atoms settle onto the diamond seed, layer by layer, forming a new diamond. 

Each process has its own pros and cons but HPHT lab diamonds are inclined to be better quality than CVD Lab diamonds as it is easier to control the diamond growth condition during the HPHT process. While CVD is considered more affordable as they are quicker to create. 

Regardless of the process, the remarkable ability of lab-grown diamonds to replicate the timeless attraction of natural diamonds is truly breathtaking. Through HPHT and CVD, scientists have unlocked the potential to create diamonds with the same beauty, durability, and rarity as those formed deep within the Earth over millions of years. This not only offers a sustainable and affordable alternative to traditional diamond mining but also ensures the timeless elegance and significance of diamonds continues for generations to come. As technology continues to advance, the future of lab-grown diamonds shines ever brighter, promising a world where brilliance knows no bounds. 

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