Lab-grown diamonds, such as those found in AIDIA’s jewelry, share the same chemical and physical properties as mined diamonds, with the same shine and durability that have made diamond the classic engagement ring gemstone – because you can wear it on an everyday basis and it will last forever.
Not only do all diamonds – whether mined or lab-grown — sparkle, but they’re also tough — among the hardest and most scratch-resistant mineral substances known to scientists. Using a well-known measurement known as the Mohs Scale, which rates hardness levels of various gems and minerals, diamond sits at the top of the scale, garnering a “10” in a range from 1-10. And lab-grown diamonds share that exact same durability.
But how are they different?
For starters, lab-grown diamonds are made via amazing high-tech processes in labs that can recreate the intense pressure and heat that form mined diamonds from carbon in the Earth’s crust, about 90 miles below the surface.
Once scientists figured out how to re-create those conditions in a laboratory setting – diamond grew. The first stones made were referred to as HPHT (high-pressure, high-temperature) diamonds. They were initially used mostly in industrial processes, because they didn’t come out colorless. But their extreme hardness made them perfect for use as abrasives and in cutting and polishing tools. Today, there’s still a huge demand for HPHT-grown diamonds, which are now used in a variety of industrial applications and modern electronics.
AIDIA uses some HPHT lab-grown diamonds, but most of our diamonds are created by the other cutting edge technology, called CVD, or chemical vapor deposition. Our laboratories grow diamond crystals in a low-pressure environment – unlike HPHT. The process involves depositing a carbon vapor onto a diamond seed at the start. The carbon gases are energized and a diamond crystal begins to grow. Just like in the HPHT process, this new growing technology uses a diamond seed. Only a diamond seed can “guide” carbon atoms and make them bond to each other to grow a diamond.
CVD machines and materials are still quite expensive, and both HPHT and CVD processes require significant investment in infrastructure, know-how, and expertise. This is why, according to some the world’s leading market research firms, like Morgan Stanley, Bain Capital, and others, it will take years until growing diamonds will become an easy and inexpensive process.
And of course, the other way that lab-grown diamonds are different from their mined counterparts is that they don’t involve disrupting the earth via mining, and there’s no risk of abusing or exploiting mine workers – still a problem in the way some diamonds are mined – especially in countries where poor miners labor in small groups or alone. And with most diamonds sold, you cannot know if your gem originated in this kind of potentially exploitive setting.
When you buy a lab-grown diamond, however, you are assured that it originated in a lab.