Man-made diamonds or synthetic diamonds are created through an artificial process in a laboratory as opposed to being formed naturally in the earth. Synthetic diamonds are also referred to as lab-grown, created, cultivated or cultured diamonds.
Let's find out whether buying synthetic diamonds is a good idea and see how you should evaluate synthetics when shopping.
Although a lot of people think of fake diamonds when they hear the word "synthetic", lab-created diamonds are actually identical to natural ones in terms of chemical structure.
Synthetic diamonds are no different from mined stones in terms of appearance or physical properties, so if you buy a synthetic diamond, nobody would be able to distinguish it from a natural one.
Man-made/synthetic diamonds are no different from natural mined stones in terms of appearance or physical properties:
Price is one of the main attractions of lab-created diamonds. Because synthetic stones are man-made, they are also cheaper than natural diamonds, which are rare and hard to mine.
So, how much can you save by buying a lab-grown diamond? Depending on the quality of the stone, you can expect to pay upto 40% less for a created diamond than for a natural one with similar characteristics.
One of the major advantages of synthetic diamonds is that they are nearly flawless and don't have as many inclusions as you would find in naturally formed stones.
It's not that synthetic diamonds don't have flaws or impurities at all, but these imperfections are minimized through strict control over the production process.
You should evaluate the clarity of a synthetic diamond as you would assess that of a mined diamond: The synthetic stone should be eye-clean, i.e., no flaws should be visible with the naked eye.
When you look at a synthetic diamond, it is unlikely that you will see the kind of prominent inclusions that you would spot in a low clarity natural stone.
Evaluating the color of synthetic diamonds is no different from judging the color of mined stones: The less color it shows, the better.
If you are looking for a stone to set in a white metal, for example, look for diamonds that are perfectly white, without any visible tints. Generally, it is easier to produce high-quality color in synthetic diamonds than to find naturally colorless diamonds.
Synthetic diamonds are available in a variety of colors other than white, and in general, synthetics are a great option if you are looking for fancy colored diamonds, which are rare to find in their natural state.
As with color and clarity, evaluating the cut of a synthetic diamond is no different from assessing that of a natural diamond. And the more proportional the cut, the better the brilliance and sparkle of the stone will be.
The rule of thumb when judging cut is to look for symmetry: If the stone is cut round, it should not be too deep or too shallow when seen from the side.
The facets of the stone should be well aligned and proportional. The girdle (the edge of the stone) should not be too thick (as it would make the stone disproportional) or too thin (as it could easily break).
One issue with synthetic diamonds is that there is a limited selection of sizes for top-quality stones due to technological limitations.
For example, most high-quality synthetic diamonds won't come in carat weights greater than 0.50 carats, and you will rarely find a good stone that exceeds 1.50 carats, although the technology is improving.
If you are looking for a colored stone, however, you will have more choice: You may be able to find a diamond that is up to 3.00 carats in weight.
When evaluating the quality characteristics of a synthetic diamond, it is good to have a certificate that lists the grades of the stone's color, clarity and cut.
The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) grades synthetic diamonds and issues certificates that explicitly state that the stone evaluated is synthetic.
If you are shopping for lab-grown diamonds, it is a good idea to ask for such a document so you can establish that the advertised characteristics of the stone are indeed true.
Man-made diamonds do not look alike. A lot of people think man-made diamonds manufacturers can program the process to create a specific diamond grade and carat size that are the same each time, but they can't. They are simply putting the right conditions together but then nature takes it from there. Just like with earth-mined diamonds, there will be variances in color, clarity and carat size.
Man-made diamonds are indistinguishable from earth mined diamonds, even under a microscope, according to the GIA.
Most reputable retailers grade man-made diamonds over 0.5 ct are graded the same way as earth mined diamonds are and come with a grading certificate.
The eco-friendly benefits of man-made diamonds are unlike earth mined diamonds, man-made diamonds are created without negatively harming native communities, society or the Earth.
Man-made or lab-created diamond do not mean they are not real. There are many ways to tell the difference between a fake diamond and the real thing. Turns out, the definition of a real diamond is not linked to origin (earth vs laboratory), but rather by its characteristics. Lab created or man made diamonds have been created replicating the earth's natural process, and will pass a diamond tester because of their identical characteristics.
Man-made diamonds will test positive on a diamond tester, as they are real diamonds, which are pure crystallized carbon. Man-made diamonds will pass all tests used to confirm a pure carbon diamond.
Many traditional jewellers tell consumers that man-made diamonds have little to no resale value, but this could not be further from the truth. Most earth-mined diamonds have resale value, and most man-made diamonds will have a similar resale value as well. Regardless of origin, either man-made or mined, all diamonds are priced using an internationally accepted pricing system. This system is known as the Rapaport pricing method. Resale values are based on a percentage of the rapaport pricing method.
Most people only think of just the 4Cs (Cut, Color, Clarity and Carat) when judging the beauty of a diamond. However, there are also Types of diamonds. Type la, llb and Type IIA, llb. In the past, we haven't talked too much about the different types of diamonds because the superior Type II has been unattainable to the majority of the population, until now!
Type IA: 98% of diamonds mined from the earth will be a Type la diamond. These are very common diamonds that you will find at your local jewellery store.
Type IIA: Only 2% of diamonds mined will be a Type IIA diamond, making them very rare. They are special because they contain the purest form of carbon, with either very little or no nitrogen atoms in the crystal structure. This makes Type IIA diamonds harder and brighter than common Type la diamonds. White diamonds are exceptionally colorless and colored diamonds are often found with a brown, purple, blue, or pink tone. Previously, Type IIA diamonds were only owned by royalty and the super-wealthy due to their incredible beauty and high caliber. For example, The Hope Diamond is a Type IIA Diamond.
Man-made diamonds are not the same as Cubic Zirconia (CZ). Man-made diamonds are 100% pure crystallized carbon, which makes them optically, chemically, and physically identical in every way to an earth-mined diamond. Cubic zirconia is made of synthetic zirconium dioxide in its crystalline form and is commonly used as a low-cost alternative to a mined diamond; it has absolutely no presence of carbon diamond bonds in its creation, it is simply a crystal cut in a way to mimic the look of a diamond. The lack of crystallized carbon is why CZ differs chemically, physically, and optically from an earth mined and lab created diamond.