Lab-grown diamond production methods try to recreate the high pressure and temperature conditions that form natural diamonds underground. Let’s examine that natural geological process first.
How do Natural Diamonds Form?
Natural diamonds form deep underground, about 177 to 241 km below the surface. Pressures at this depth can reach nearly 50,000 atm. (One atmosphere, or “atm,” is equivalent to the air pressure at sea-level). Temperatures can range from 900º to 1,300º C. These intense conditions compress carbon into its most compact form, creating diamonds in magma. Ancient volcanic explosions brought these diamonds to the surface, through the formation of rocks known as kimberlite.
What are the Main Lab-Grown Diamond Production Methods?
There are two main lab-grown diamond production methods: the high pressure/high temperature process (HPHT) and chemical vapor deposition (CVD). Both methods are commonly used, but CVD is becoming more popular for producing gem-quality synthetic diamonds for jewelry. HPHT is used more often to create synthetic diamonds for industrial use.
Can You Distinguish a Natural Diamond from a Lab-Grown Diamond?
Both HPHT and CVD produce diamonds with the same optical, physical, and chemical properties as natural diamonds. However, these laboratory processes do leave some telltale …