Man-made diamonds have been produced for industrial purposes since the 1950s and are used in a wide variety of applications: telecommunications, laser optics, healthcare and more. In 1970, researchers at General Electric created the first, small, gem quality synthetic diamonds that could be faceted as gems. By the mid-1980s, other manufacturers were able to grow them. Initially, they were mostly small and yellow, but the quality steadily improved, and today both colorless and colored gem quality man-made diamonds are available to use in jewellery.
Man-made diamonds, also known as lab-grown diamonds and Lab-created diamonds, are pure carbon diamonds grown in highly-controlled laboratory conditions that simulate the Earth's natural growing process. The results yield real diamonds that are physically, chemically and optically identical to mined diamonds.
While people have experimented with diamond growing technology for more than a century, it has only been in the last decade that we've been able to perfect the science of creating gem quality lab-created diamonds in a modern day lab. With today's technological advances, we are growing diamonds that are free of conflict and superior in every way to earth mined diamonds
The material 'diamond' is defined as carbon atoms in a cubic structure; both natural and synthetic diamonds are made of this material.
However, the vastly different conditions under which natural diamonds and synthetic diamonds form result in differences in their growth structure and in atomic level defects, so to say that they are identical is misleading. If they were identical, we would not be able to tell them apart.
But because they share essentially the same physical and optical characteristics of natural diamonds, man-made diamonds have the shine and sparkle of a natural diamond when fashioned as gems.
One of the beautiful aspects of a polished diamond is the way light interacts with it, and it has superior hardness on the Mohs scale (which means that polished surfaces are not easily scratched or damaged). A synthetic diamond has those properties as well.
What Are They Called?
Many different terms are used to describe diamonds grown artificially. Look for the use of the terms synthetic, man-made, laboratory-grown or laboratory-created. These and other terms are listed in the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) guidelines on diamonds.
The industry uses many terms to describe them, so if you see any of these terms it's an indication that it is synthetic. But they likely won't use the term synthetic.