Lab-grown diamonds are an excellent alternative to natural diamonds or earth-mined diamonds for many reasons. While the two may have a similar physical appearance, lab-grown diamonds are not subject to the same geological forces. As such, lab-grown diamonds typically have fewer inclusions and blemishes than natural diamonds.
Diamonds made in a lab are more affordable, and they are also more environmentally friendly since they do not require mining. Additionally, they can be produced in a wider range of colours and sizes, giving consumers more options to choose from.
For these reasons, lab-grown diamonds represent a unique and distinct category of gemstones. Whether you choose a natural diamond or a lab-grown diamond is a personal decision. But it is important to remember that lab-grown diamonds are every bit as real as natural diamonds, and they come with their own set of benefits.
1. They are not fake
Lab-grown diamonds are not fake, they are in fact, real diamonds. The only difference between a lab-grown diamond and a mined diamond is their origin.
A lab-grown diamond is created by replicating the conditions under which natural diamonds are formed. They are then cut and polished in the same way as mined diamonds. As a result, lab-grown diamonds have the same physical, chemical, and optical properties as mined diamonds.
They are also often indistinguishable from natural diamonds to the naked eye, making them just as beautiful and valuable.
2. They have value
Although diamonds are typically associated with expensive jewellery, there is a growing market for lab-grown diamonds that are used for industrial purposes.
Because they are grown in a controlled environment, lab-grown diamonds have a number of desirable qualities, including purity and uniformity. As a result, they are often used in applications where precision is critical, such as in the electronics industry.
They are typically less expensive than natural diamonds, but they still have the same physical and chemical properties. Moreover, many younger couples are now choosing lab-grown diamonds for their engagement rings primarily because it is a practical and an environmentally friendly option.
3. They are beneficial to the environment
In recent years, there has been an increase in the popularity of lab-grown diamonds, as they offer a more sustainable and ethical option than mined diamonds.
Because they are not mined from the earth, lab-grown diamonds have a much smaller carbon footprint than mined diamonds. In fact, the process of growing a single diamond in a lab produces about 200 times less carbon than mining a diamond from the earth.
In addition, lab-grown diamonds do not require the use of heavy machinery or harsh chemicals, both of which can damage the environment. As more and more people become aware of these benefits, it is likely that lab-grown diamonds will only continue to increase in value.
4. They are not the same as diamond simulants, including zirconia and moissanite
While both lab-grown diamonds and diamond simulants may possess similar physical characteristics, there are several important distinctions between these two types of materials.
First, simulants are typically made from cheaper, lower-quality materials than lab-grown diamonds. This means that simulants typically have a shorter lifespan and are more prone to scratching and chipping than lab-grown diamonds.
Second, simulants are typically produced through processes that do not involve the high temperatures and pressures found in nature. As such, they typically lack the physical strength and durability of natural diamonds.
Finally, simulants often show visible differences from natural diamonds under magnification, whereas lab-grown diamonds display the same signature patterns as their natural counterparts.
While stimulants may be cheaper than lab-grown diamonds, they lack the hardness, durability, and optical properties that make diamonds so valuable. In addition, simulants are not as chemically resistant as diamonds and can be easily damaged with common household cleaners.
5. Diamond testers can be used to differentiate lab-grown diamonds from diamond simulants
While lab-grown diamonds and diamond simulants may look similar to the untrained eye, there are several ways to tell them apart. One method is to use a diamond tester — a device that uses thermal conductivity to test whether a stone is a diamond or not. Earth-mined and lab-grown diamonds alike are exceedingly good conductors of heat, while simulants such as cubic zirconia and moissanite are not.
However, it is important to note that not all diamond testers are created equal, and some may be better equipped to handle different types of simulants than others. For example, some testers may be more accurate with moissanite than with cubic zirconia.
Another way to tell the difference is by examining the stone under magnification. Lab-grown diamonds tend to have fewer surface imperfections than simulants, due to the controlled environment in which they are grown.
Finally, lab-grown diamonds also tend to be carbon-11 enriched, meaning that they will emit slightly different radioisotopes than simulants. While these methods may require some specialised knowledge, they provide reliable ways to tell lab-grown diamonds and simulants apart.
Industry Trusted Diamond Verification Instruments
Lab-grown diamonds share the same material properties as natural or earth-mined diamonds. But the physical and chemical composition of diamond simulants are vastly different. Although produced in a laboratory, diamond simulants are not made up of carbon atoms, unlike lab-grown diamonds.
However, there are specialised gemological tools that can be used to tell the difference between lab-grown diamonds, natural diamonds, and diamond simulants. Two of the most trusted in the industry are as follows:
The Presidium Synthetic Diamond Screener II (SDS II) separates Type IIa colourless diamonds from natural Type Ia colourless diamonds by measuring the stones' UV light transmittance. The unit gives clear and accurate results within two seconds and is suitable for both loose and mounted stones with an open-backed setting, as small as 0.02ct.
We recommend using the Presidium Multi Tester III first to ensure that the unknown colourless stone is a Diamond. Afterwards, you can use the SDS II to check if the diamondis a Natural or Type IIa Diamond (CVD/HPHT Diamond).
Meanwhile, ARI by Presidium is a handheld diamond and moissanite screener for colourless natural diamonds, CVD/HPHT lab-grown diamonds, and moissanites from D to J colour. It can be used to test loose and mounted stones alike. ARI can also identify new “low conductivity” moissanites.
As a first step, users can test an unknown colourless stone using the The Presidium Diamond Mate (PDMT-A). With the ARI, users can further distinguish diamond simulants such as colourless sapphire and cubic zirconia from unknown colourless stones.
Both the SDS II and ARI are classified as Presidium Diamond Verification Instruments, which are registered trademarks under Presidium Pte Ltd.
Other Gemological Tools For Testing Lab-Grown & Natural Diamonds
The definitive way to determine if your stone is indeed a diamond (be it lab-grown or natural) is by sending it out to an established grading laboratory. However, for preliminary testing, you can use the aforementioned diamond verification instruments or a reliable diamond and moissanite tester, including the following:
As mentioned earlier, the Presidium Diamond Mate is a complementary product to ARI. The PDMT is an entry level handheld instrument that distinguishes colourless diamonds from diamond simulants based on thermal conductivity. Upon a positive "Diamond" reading, users can then use ARI to test if the stone is a natural diamond, potential lab-grown CVD/HPHT diamond, or moissanite.
The Presidium Multi Tester III (PMUT III) can be used to check if a stone is a diamond or a diamond simulant. It can instantly distinguish natural colourless diamonds as small as 0.02ct and differentiate them from moissanites, cubic zirconia, colourless sapphire, and other diamond simulants based on their thermal and electrical properties.
Thermoelectric or thermoelectric diamond testers can detect diamonds, moissanites, and simulants instantly. One such instrument is the lightweight and portable Adamas by Presidium, for authenticating colourless diamonds as small as 0.01 carats. An industry forerunner, Adamas diamond tester is the world’s first diamond and moissanite tester with a replaceable tip, and a micro probe tip. In the long run, a worn-out or damaged probe can simply be replaced; you don’t have to buy a new diamond tester.
The Presidium Moissanite Tester II (PMT II) is an entry-level handheld instrument that distinguishes colourless diamonds from colourless moissanites based on their electrical properties. The PMT II is recommended to be used after the indication of a positive test result from the use of Presidium Thermal Conductivity testers (such as the Presidium Diamond Mate Tester). PMT II is not meant to distinguish between coloured gemstones or any other types of synthetic Diamonds.
The SAM by Presidium is the latest technological advancement in handheld diamond and moissanite testers. It can identify diamonds against a wider range of moissanites, including the new “low conductivity moissanite” and other diamond simulants through its highly sensitive thermoelectric probe. With the industry’s fastest start-up and testing time, SAM only utilises technology that does not compromise user safety and does not require harmful ultraviolet (UV) light.
In our more than 40 years of experience, Presidium has built the expertise and authority to guarantee the reliability of our technology. Nonetheless, we would like to underscore the fact that all diamond testers are good for initial testing only. For further verification, Presidium Instruments highly recommends sending the gem to a reputable laboratory for further analysis.