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Lab grown diamonds, sometimes referred to as cultured or man made diamonds, are diamonds grown in a laboratory. These laboratories use advanced technology to replicate the conditions found in the earth's mantle, where natural diamonds are formed. By doing so, carbon atoms are able to form into diamond crystals, thus resulting in identical visual and structural qualities of a natural diamond.
Lab grown diamonds are created following the same process of a natural diamond, however, with heavily regulated man-made environments to speed up what would naturally be a very long process. Tiny pieces of carbon crystals are exposed to extreme heats and pressures or a specific deposition process, also known as CVD, which mimic the natural diamond formation process. In this environment more carbon atoms form and the crystal grows into the diamond rough. It takes approximately one month to create diamond rough. Once complete, the rough is cut and polished just like a mined diamond. Most of these diamonds are then certified to indicate the quality.
Lab grown diamonds betray the exact same visual and chemical properties of a mined diamond, meaning they look the exact same, feel and wear the exact same. Technically the only difference between the two types of diamonds is the presence of nitrogen in mined diamonds when the chemical structure is heavily scrutinised. This would require specialised equipment to be able to tell the difference.
Diamond simulants such as cubic zirconia or moissanite differ in appearance and chemical structure to diamonds that are lab grown or mined. A cubic zirconium is a much softer stone and will scratch very easily. The price of a cubic zirconium will also be dramatically less than both diamonds and moissanite. A moissanite is the most similar gemstone to a diamond in both appearance and hardness. A moissanite will reflect more colour than a diamond. However, it is much more difficult to tell the difference. The hardness of a moissanite is ever so slightly softer than a diamond, thus, most jewellers will be able to confirm the gemstone if they have a diamond tester available. Moissanite is a lab created gemstone and like diamonds come in all shapes, sizes and qualities so it is best to speak with a jeweller before purchasing this type of gemstone.
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