Lab Grown Diamonds

Lab grown diamonds - also known as "laboratory grown diamonds" or "lab created diamonds," are produced using modern technology.

Lab grown diamonds are optically, chemically and physically identical to natural diamonds which formed billions of years ago, deep in the earth. Once cut and polished they cannot be distinguished or separated from natural diamonds without examination by trained experts using sophisticated instruments.

Note: IGI uses the term lab grown diamonds to refer to man-made gemstones which are optically, chemically and physically identical to natural diamonds. While this is one of several terms used for legal trade in the USA, be advised that some countries disallow those terms, requiring use of “laboratory grown diamond” (unabbreviated) or a separate term like “synthetic diamond,” to clearly differentiate the product.

Are Lab Grown Diamonds Real?

Yes. Lab grown diamonds are real. They are not simulants like CZ or Moissanite. Lab grown diamonds are not “fakes.” Aside from subtle carbon distinctions, they are chemically identical to natural diamonds. The technical difference is that they’re not billions of years old. Lab-grown diamonds are grown in factories using sophisticated chemical synthesis over a period of 1-4 weeks. Once grown, they are polished with the same tools and brought to market in the same manner as natural diamonds.

Close up of diamond dealer's hands evaluating diamond at international jewelry exhibition.

Are Lab Grown Diamonds Synthetic?

Technically yes. Lab grown diamonds are created using chemical synthesis, but the FTC considers that term confusing. This is logical, since water is technically H2O, but in a restaurant we ask for “water.” So, while you may see the term synthetic diamond in science journals and research papers the diamond and jewelry industries widely uses the term “lab grown diamond.”

Lab Grown Diamonds vs Natural Diamonds

Just like natural diamonds, lab grown diamonds rank 10 on the Mohs hardness scale. No other material comes close. “Corundum,” which produces both rubies and sapphires, ranks 9 on the hardness scale. But the 10 of diamonds is nearly 10X as hard as corundum’s rating of 9. Simply put, nothing else comes close to the hardness of both natural and lab grown diamonds.

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What is a lab grown diamond?

A lab grown diamond is a real diamond, like one extracted from the earth, but created in a lab over weeks using one of two sophisticated growth methods. The first method, High-Pressure High-Temperature (HPHT) replicates the extreme conditions deep within the earth during the supercontinent cycle, billions of years ago, which caused natural diamonds to slowly form.  The other method, Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD), heats hydrocarbon gas into plasma, separating the carbon atoms and using them to create a lab grown diamond crystal, layer by layer.

Do lab grown diamonds look the same?

Yes. Lab-grown diamonds have identical refractive index and optical qualities. Lab grown diamonds are even graded using the same color and clarity scale as natural diamonds. Experienced gemologists and jewelers may be able to identify characteristics that point to lab grown origin, but in casual viewing, they are identical to natural diamonds and cannot be decisively separated without expert analysis using sophisticated instruments.

Are lab grown diamonds less expensive?

Yes. Lab grown diamonds trade for notably lower prices than comparable natural diamonds. The principle of accelerating change suggests that technological improvement may continue making them even more cost-effective to produce.

Are lab grown diamonds sustainable?

No. The vast majority are not. The presses and reactors used to produce them require enormous amounts of energy, and most lab grown diamond growers power their operations by burning fossil fuels. Therefore terms like “sustainable,” “green” and “eco-friendly” cannot currently be associated with lab grown diamonds. With that said, a small number of producers using wind, solar and hydroelectric sources to power their operations are growing “sustainable” lab grown diamonds. These are typically supported with certification from a third party sustainability auditor, attesting to their authenticity.

See how lab grown diamonds are made

Lab-grown diamonds are diamonds that are created in a controlled laboratory environment, mimicking the extreme pressure and heat conditions that natural diamonds form under over millions of years. They are chemically and physically identical to mined diamonds, and possess the same sparkle, brilliance, and cutting ability. The main difference lies in their origin and the much faster creation process, taking weeks to grow in a lab compared to billions of years underground.

IGI is the world’s first gemological institute to grade lab grown diamonds.

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