Education on the HPHT Lab Grown Diamond and Its Cost
Updated: Sep 18
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Education on the HPHT Lab Grown Diamond and its Cost
Lab grown diamonds, commonly known as lab-created or man-made diamonds, have continued to gain popularity. Not only are they captivating and beautiful, but they are also affordable and ethical. And of course, as the name suggests, these diamonds are made in a controlled laboratory environment.
Lab grown diamonds constitute up to 3% of the global market of $1.74 billion and are made using different processes, including HPHT (High Pressure High Temperature), CVD (Chemical Vapor Deposition), ultrasound cavitation, and detonation. By 2035, their market share is expected to grow to up to $13.4 billion.
Lab Grown Diamonds Are Not Artificial, but Real Diamonds
When people talk about lab grown or HPHT diamonds, they often wonder, “Are HPHT diamonds considered real diamonds?” The answer is yes.
Although natural diamonds and lab grown diamonds have different origins, their structure is exactly similar. For example HPHT diamonds are made from pure carbon crystallized in an isotropic 3D form and the resulting gems are similar to those mined from the earth’s crust.
GIA has studied lab grown diamonds for over 30 years and according to them, “their chemical and physical properties correspond very closely to those of natural diamonds.” For this reason, scientists believe that lab grown diamonds are not imitations or stimulants, but real diamonds that can be easily identified by trained gemologists using standard gem-testing equipment.
When Was the First Lab Grown Diamond Made?
In 1797, it was discovered that diamonds were made of pure carbon. This led scientists to believe that the process that created natural diamonds could easily be replicated in labs. However, there was no report of individuals or companies creating diamonds in the laboratory until 1879 when James Ballantine Hannay reported developments using a method that involved heating charcoal and iron inside a carbon cubicle in a furnace. Modern testing later proved that the remaining samples from his experiments were, in fact, natural diamonds instead of synthetic.
Over the years, scientists continued improving existing processes and developing new ones. Some of these scientists include; Feerdinard Henri Moissan, who attempted to make lab grown diamonds with an electric arc furnace in 1893, Sir William Crookes, who used 190000 psi enclosed cordite explosions to create radium bromide diamonds in 1909 and Otto Ruff, who, in 1917, claimed to produce diamonds with a diameter of up to 7 mm but later retracted his statement.
In 1926, Dr. J Willard Hershey from McPherson College replicated Ruff’s and Moissan’s experiments of producing lab grown diamonds. Meanwhile, Sir Charles Arganon Persons also devoted 40 years of his life, from 1882 to 1922, attempting to reproduce the experiments of Hannay and Moissan. Along the way, he adapted his own processes too and all his resulting samples were preserved for further analysis by an independent party.
The most significant breakthrough in the industry of lab grown diamonds took place in December 1954, when an America company named GE created the first-ever batch of industrial-grown diamonds.
Synthetic Diamonds vs. Natural Diamonds
No two diamonds are ever exactly alike, and this stands true for both natural and lab grown diamonds. However, both of these have their own similarities as well as prominent differences that make distinguishing them easier. Let’s have a look.
When seen by a native and inexperienced eye, lab grown diamonds appear to be the same as natural diamonds. Primarily, this is because their physical and optical properties, chemical composition, and crystal structure are the same. For this reason, only trained gemologists can distinguish between them.
The majority of natural diamonds have trace amounts of other elements, including nitrogen, which gives it a yellow color or boron, which provides them with a blue color and hydrogen. Similarly, lab grown diamonds made with the CVD method involves the breakdown of molecules of carbon-rich gas like methane into hydrogen and carbon atoms. For this reason, traces of hydrogen can be found in CVD lab grown diamonds. In the case of HPHT diamonds, traces of nitrogen give the gem a naturally amber color.
In addition, both lab-created and natural diamonds alike have inclusions that impact their clarity. Natural diamonds contain bits of foreign material that was trapped in the still-forming diamonds years ago and this can manifest as metallic inclusions for the case of lab grown diamonds. These inclusions can be identified with a 10x magnification.