Science has come a very long way in the past two centuries and the unthinkable seems to have been achieved over and over. Today, we have the ability to create something that many thought would never be possible: man made diamonds. What is fascinating about the fact that mankind is now able to create the hardest substance in the world is that it goes beyond merely changing your options in diamonds from those that are mined to those that are created in a lab environment. Instead, a whole host of issues revolving around these diamonds and their mined counterparts have arisen. Let’s take a look at how synthetic diamonds are changing the world of jewelry. You might be shocked by how much there is to learn.
As you might expect, people were in a great hurry to find out ways of creating diamonds. Due to their value and their many impressive properties, diamonds were certainly a gem that many longed to make in a laboratory setting. While various claims were made regarding the ability to do this, it would not be a verifiable possibility until closer to the middle of the 20th Century. This is when the first man made diamonds were created, according to historians. Typically, today’s synthetic diamonds are going to be made using one of two processes: High Pressure High Temperature (HPTP) synthesis or Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD). While they are obviously not considered to be quite as prestigious to own as mined diamonds, many people do prefer to have a synthetic diamond due to some factors we are going to look at next.
Mining is an industry that a lot of people who are ecologically sensitive do not like. In order to mine a diamond, the earth and stone must be moved away and this process disturbs the natural environment of an area in a big way. This is one reason why people prefer man made diamonds, but it is not the only one. Many diamonds come from countries in Africa and other locations where, in order to mine diamonds, warfare and strife are present. The so called ‘conflict diamonds’ are those which are gained through violent methods by warring groups such as tribes or groups led by warlords. These diamonds are fought over and the process that is gone through to obtain them can fund very unpleasant organizations. For this reason, many people want a lab created stone that will not contribute to inhuman situations in Africa or anywhere else. It should also be noted that diamonds which have been made in a lab cost quite a bit less than those which were mined. Price is a huge factor in the decisions of many people and with something as expensive as a diamond, this is doubly true.
For those who are considering this type of diamond, it should be noted that it will often only be available in yellow, blue or white. This is because the process will leave trace amounts of impurities like nickel, boron or nitrogen that leave the stone looking a certain way. It is possible to create green, purple or pink diamonds through a process involving irradiation, but these stones are not as common. Other than this, diamonds that have been made in a lab will look nearly identical to those that have been mined directly from the Earth. Of course, it is possible to tell man made diamonds from a natural one by using a spectroscope and gemologists can do this if the need arises.
Not everyone would like to have a lab created diamond. For some, the authentic stone is going to be seen as a tradition that they want to be part of. For others, the realities behind mined diamonds may make them totally unappealing. To the naked eye, there is barely any difference though. Saving money is much easier to do with synthetic diamonds and this is often the reason people decide on a man made gem. If the concerns over the environment, tradition and social affects of mining do not bother a person then a natural diamond may be a more satisfying choice. For those that want their ecological and social values represented in a stone though, a man made diamonds will be best.