When placed side by side under direct light, two crystal clear specimens of crystallized carbon can give off a spectrum of colors, when the stones under consideration are a natural diamond and a lab grown diamond of identical qualities. So, what exactly makes a lab grown diamond different from a natural diamond? Let us take a look at some factors that can help distinguish lab grown diamonds from natural diamonds.
Lab Grown Diamonds
The colored and colorless lab made diamonds became an integral part of the diamond industry by the end of the year 2010. The two procedures used to create diamonds in the laboratory are high pressure, high temperature (HPHT) method and the chemical vapor deposition (CVD) method. All small to medium sized diamonds can be grown in laboratory conditions in a few weeks’ time using these two methods. Earlier production of lab grown diamonds saw stones of less than or almost a carat weight being produced, while bigger stones are being produced nowadays, thanks to advancements in the manufacturing technology of lab diamonds.
Although believed to be purely made of carbon, diamonds usually contain trace amounts of substances like nitrogen and boron. While nitrogen imparts a yellow hue to the diamond, boron brings forth a beautiful blue color. Most diamonds that are naturally formed under the earth contain inclusions or tiny pieces of foreign material trapped in the crystal structure during the formation of the diamond over a period of millions of years. Lab diamonds are no different from natural diamonds in these aspects.
Telling The Difference
The difference between lab grown and natural diamonds can only be identified by a trained gemologist who has sophisticated equipment specially designed for this purpose at his disposal. The significant difference in price necessitates being able to tell the two kinds of diamonds apart. Lab grown and natural diamonds are essentially identical in their chemical and optical characteristics. Therefore, more often, traditional methods used in gemological observations fail to distinguish one from the other. Also outdated are old style diamond detectors that are not sophisticated enough to tell the difference between natural and lab made diamonds.
To combat this issue, GIA has developed a screening device named GIA iD100® that can identify lab grown diamonds. The device uses advanced spectroscopic technology in combination with the years of research conducted in this field by GIA to distinguish lab made and natural diamonds from each other.