Labgrown vs. Natural Diamonds

What Are Mined Diamonds?

Mined diamonds are precious stones formed over billions of years under intense heat and pressure deep within the earth's mantle. These gemstones are brought closer to the earth's surface through volcanic eruptions and excavated through mining. Their hardness and ability to refract light make them highly desirable for jewelry and industrial applications. Mined diamonds are assessed based on four criteria, often called the "four Cs": cut, color, clarity, and carat weight.

How Are Mined Diamonds Made?

Mined diamonds are a marvel of nature, created under specific conditions that only exist deep within the earth. These precious gems were formed many years ago and originate about 100 miles beneath the earth's surface, in its mantle.

High pressure (about 725,000 pounds per square inch) and high temperature (between 1,650 and 2,370 degrees Fahrenheit) transform carbon atoms into a crystalline structure- creating a diamond.

Diamonds travel to the earth's surface through violent volcanic eruptions. These eruptions create “kimberlite pipes” that act as elevators, bringing diamonds from the earth's mantle to the surface. Kimberlite pipes are rare, making the location of diamonds particular and their discovery even more exciting.

Once on the surface, diamonds wait to be discovered and mined. Due to their unique hardness and light reflection properties, diamonds are used for industrial purposes and jewelry. Understanding how mined diamonds form gives us a greater appreciation for these fascinating and beautiful gems.

Mined Diamonds and Sustainability

Diamonds are more than just sparkling gems; they're a testament to the immense forces of nature, formed deep within the earth's mantle under extreme conditions. In the light of a modern world that values sustainability and ethical practices, the diamond industry must reevaluate and transform its procedures to ensure the longevity of this natural resource and the well-being of those who bring these gems to the market.

The Environmental Impact of Diamond Mining

Historically, diamond mining has associations with environmental degradation, mainly through methods like open-pit and underground mining. These practices can cause soil erosion, deforestation, and habitat destruction. The industry, recognizing the need for change, has started implementing more environmentally friendly procedures. Technological advancements such as remote sensing, precision drilling, and automated equipment have made extraction processes more efficient, reducing the carbon footprint and minimizing environmental harm.

Diamond Grading and Value From a Sustainable Perspective

When shopping for a diamond, consider the four Cs: cut, clarity, carat, and color. In the era of sustainability, a fifth “C,” carbon, is emerging as a factor influencing value. Consumers are increasingly interested in the carbon footprint of the diamonds they buy. The diamond industry is responding by examining ways to reduce emissions throughout the diamond supply chain, from mining to polishing.

Ethical Sourcing: Diamonds With a Clear Conscience

The issue of “blood diamonds,” or diamonds mined in war zones and sold to finance armed conflict, brought ethical sourcing to the fore. The Kimberly Process, implemented in 2003, has curbed the flow of conflict diamonds into the market. Today, buyers can choose diamonds tracked from mine to market, ensuring their gem has not violated human rights.

In the end, every diamond does indeed have a story. Our responsibility is to ensure that story is one of respect- for our planet, those who work tirelessly to bring these precious gems to us, and those who will inherit this brilliant legacy. The sustainable future of diamonds shines just as brightly as the gems themselves, promising a balance between the allure of luxury and the imperatives of conscience.

To learn more about the growing responsibility and transparency in the diamond industry, see our page on diamond sustainability.

How to Care for Your Mined Diamond Jewelry

Caring for a mined diamond is a task of delicacy and diligence. The first step in maintaining your diamond's brilliance is to clean it regularly. Use a mild warm water and dish soap solution, and gently scrub the diamond with a soft toothbrush. It's essential to rinse thoroughly to remove any soap residue. Always plug the sink in before cleaning to prevent accidental losses.

In terms of storage, diamonds should be kept separately as their hardness can scratch other jewelry pieces. Use a fabric-lined jewelry box with separate compartments or individual cloth pouches.

Refrain from wearing your diamond jewelry while doing strenuous work or when it could come into contact with harsh chemicals. Even though diamonds are tough, they can chip from a hard blow.

Lastly, consider having your diamond jewelry professionally cleaned and inspected for loose settings once a year. A professional jeweler has the tools and expertise to restore your diamonds to their full sparkle and remain securely set. Following these guidelines will provide the best care for your mined diamond, ensuring it maintains its beauty and value for generations.

What Are Lab-Grown Diamonds?

Lab-grown engineered or cultured diamonds are not born from the earth's womb. Still, instead, they are a testament to human ingenuity and technological advancements. These celestial stones of the future are grown in closely controlled laboratory conditions that simulate the earth's natural diamond-growing process. The result is a diamond that is physically, chemically, and optically identical to those grown beneath the earth's surface. They twinkle with the same brilliance, share the same hardness, and even follow the "four Cs" grading scale. Yet, they carry the ethos of the 21st century, reflecting a commitment to sustainability and ethical sourcing that aligns with the values of a new generation of diamond consumers. In the world of gemstones, they represent an intersection of beauty, science, and consciousness.

How Are Lab-Grown Diamonds Made?

Lab-grown diamonds are a revolutionary innovation that is changing the diamond industry. They are made in laboratories, utilizing advanced technology and cutting-edge science to create genuine diamonds identical to those found naturally in the earth's crust.

Lab-grown diamonds begin as a sliver of a mined diamond (also called "seed") placed in high-pressure, high-temperature (HPHT) or chemical vapor deposition (CVD) reactors. These reactors mimic the conditions under which diamonds form deep below ground, creating an environment where the seed can grow into a full-sized diamond.

High Pressure, High Temperature (HPHT)

In the HPHT process, a diamond seed is placed inside an environment of extreme pressure and heat- up to 870 degrees Celsius- encouraging growth in size and clarity. The diamond is shaped and polished as it grows to bring out its true brilliance.

Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD)

The CVD process involves extreme temperatures but no pressure. Instead of using a diamond seed, the process creates a gas broken down into tiny carbon atoms and deposited on the surface of the growing diamond. The diamond is cut and polished as growth brings out its unique features.

Lab-grown diamonds are a sustainable, affordable, and ethical alternative to mined diamonds. By understanding the processes involved in creating lab-grown diamonds, their environmental benefits, and market demand, consumers can make informed choices when selecting their desired diamonds. Embracing lab-grown diamonds offers a stunning piece of jewelry. It contributes to a more sustainable and responsible future for the diamond industry.

Understanding the Quality of Lab-Grown Diamonds

Determining the quality of lab-grown diamonds is similar to assessing mined diamonds' quality. The universally accepted standard for judging a diamond's worth is the four C's: cut, color, clarity, and carat. Understanding how these four characteristics affect the quality of lab-grown diamonds is essential to ensure your purchase's superiority.

How to Determine Cut in Lab-Grown Diamonds

Determining the cut of lab-grown diamonds involves a similar process to mined diamonds. Grading entities like the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) employ a comprehensive system that evaluates the quality of diamond cuts from Excellent to Poor. This assessment is based on several factors:

  1. Brightness: The internal and external white light reflected from a diamond
  2. Fire: The scattering of white light into all rainbow colors
  3. Scintillation: The sparkle a diamond produces and the pattern of light and dark areas caused by reflections within the diamond
  4. Weight Ratio: The diamond's diameter and depth balance
  5. Durability: The diamond's susceptibility to chipping or breaking
  6. Polish: The smoothness of the diamond's facets
  7. Symmetry: The precision of the diamond's shape, facets, and overall alignment

An excellent cut lab-grown diamond will offer maximum brilliance, fire, and scintillation. It will reflect light in a manner that truly brings out its beauty. As you move down the scale to very good, good, fair, and poor, the sparkle and beauty of the diamond diminish, as does its value. Therefore, always strive to choose a lab-grown diamond with the best cut your budget allows.

Color in Lab-Grown Diamonds

A fascinating aspect of lab-grown diamonds is their color. Like mined diamonds, lab-grown diamonds can exhibit a range of colors, from colorless to shades of yellow and brown and even fancier hues like blue and green. The color of a lab-grown diamond is influenced by the conditions under which it is created.

High heat and pressure mimic the earth's mined diamond-creating conditions in the lab creation process. Pure carbon, in the absence of any impurities, produces colorless diamonds. However, certain impurities during the growth process can impact the diamond's color. For instance, adding nitrogen can result in yellow or orange hues. At the same time, the presence of boron can create blue diamonds.

One noteworthy advantage of lab-grown diamonds is scientists' control over the creation process, allowing for the production of diamonds in various colors that might be rare, broadening the options available to consumers.

However, it's important to note that the diamond color grading scale used for mined diamonds also applies to lab-grown diamonds. Thus, colorless diamonds are still the most valuable, while diamonds with a yellow or brown hue are less so. Fancy-colored diamonds, due to their rarity, hold their unique value.

Lab-grown diamonds offer an exciting spectrum of color possibilities, giving consumers greater choice while maintaining the beauty and durability of mined diamonds. As always, the choice of diamond color should ultimately align with personal preferences and the intended setting and wear.

Determining Clarity in Lab-Grown Diamonds

Determining the clarity of lab-grown diamonds involves carefully examining any potential inclusions or blemishes. Inclusions refer to internal flaws, such as tiny crystals or clouds, while blemishes are external defects, like scratches or chips. The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) grades clarity on a scale ranging from “included” (with noticeable inclusions or blemishes) to “flawless” (no inclusions or blemishes visible under 10x magnification). A high clarity grade indicates a quality stone with no visible flaws for lab-grown diamonds, as with mined ones. When checking the grading report, look out for the clarity scale to understand the quality of your lab-grown diamond.

What to Know About Lab-Grown Diamonds and Carat

When considering the carat of lab-grown diamonds, it's essential to understand that, like mined diamonds, their weight and size are measured in carats. Lab-grown diamonds resemble mined diamonds as closely as possible, so they share the same density and, therefore, have the same weight for a similar size, meaning a one-carat lab-grown diamond will be virtually the same size as a one-carat mined diamond. Since lab-grown and mined diamonds have the same physical properties, the carat weight also impacts their value similarly. However, the price per carat of lab-grown diamonds is typically lower than that of mined diamonds, making them a cost-effective alternative for those seeking larger stones.

How to Care for Lab-Grown Diamonds

Caring for lab-grown diamonds is similar to caring for mined diamonds, as they share the same physical and chemical properties. Regular cleaning can maintain their brilliance and prevent the buildup of dirt or oils that can dull their shine. A simple mixture of warm water, mild dish soap, and a soft brush can gently clean the diamond. Avoid using harsh chemicals, as they may damage the metal setting. Removing your diamond jewelry when performing tasks like gardening, cleaning, or any other activity that may expose it to harsh environments is also advised. For specialized cleaning or if the diamond becomes loose in its setting, visit a professional jeweler. Always store your diamond jewelry separately to prevent scratches from other pieces, and consider having your jewelry insured for peace of mind.

Lab Grown Versus Mined Diamonds: Which is Right for You?

When it comes to choosing between lab-grown and mined diamonds, both options have their unique advantages. Mined diamonds, formed over billions of years under intense heat and pressure deep within the earth, carry a romantic and historical allure. Their uniqueness and rarity symbolize eternal love, making them a traditional choice for engagement rings and other significant jewelry pieces.

On the other hand, lab-grown diamonds offer a modern, sustainable twist on this classic gemstone. These diamonds, created in a controlled laboratory environment, possess the same physical and chemical properties as mined diamonds, ensuring the same sparkle and durability. Notably, they are more environmentally friendly and typically less expensive than their mined counterparts, making them an excellent choice for the eco-conscious consumer.

Choosing between lab-grown and mined diamonds depends on your preferences, values, and budget. Both options offer the captivating beauty and timeless appeal that diamonds are renowned for, proving that a diamond is forever, whether born from nature or crafted by human ingenuity.

Whether you choose lab-grown or mined at Von Diamonds, you’ve made an excellent choice by choosing us.