However, most consumers aren’t aware that there are also two different types of diamonds available for purchase. One of those types is called CVD or chemical vapor deposition diamonds, and they might seem like an appealing option at first glance because they are much less expensive than real diamonds.
Real diamonds are man-made stones used for jewelry. These stones are mined from deep underground in a process which is both very expensive, labor intensive, and dangerous. On top of that, once they’re mined from underneath hundreds of feet of earth they must be cut, polished, and treated with chemicals so they shine bright. Because these man-made gems are so similar to their natural counterparts, it can be difficult to tell them apart if you don’t know what you’re looking for. But luckily for you I’m going to break down exactly how to spot a real diamond versus a man-made or synthetic one in just 4 simple steps below!
What is CVD? Natural diamonds are created when heat and pressure transform carbon trapped deep within the earth’s crust into gem-quality diamonds. How do you make a synthetic diamond? Synthetic diamonds can be made through a process called chemical vapor deposition (CVD). In a lab, gases containing carbon atoms are heated to extremely high temperatures and compressed until they form a soup of sorts. The gas soup is then placed inside a machine called an apparatus where radiation helps deposit layers of carbon onto a tiny silicon wafer coated with another catalyst. These thin layers are built up layer by layer, eventually forming one solid cvd diamond crystal. Artificial VS Natural: So what’s different about lab-grown gems versus their mined counterparts?
The Manufacturing Process
So how are these gems created? It all starts with a vat of liquid nitrogen cooled to -196 degrees Celsius. A chemical vapor deposition process is then used to create a layer of carbon-containing gas onto a base material, usually silicon carbide or sapphire. This thin layer of porous, diamond-like carbon is called a cvd diamond seed which can then be used for industrial applications or grown into diamonds. Once it’s removed from its growth chamber, an extremely high temperature furnace vaporizes other elements such as hydrogen or methane so that they can be forced through tiny holes in its surface. For every carbon atom that’s added during growth there will be one less vacancy in each lattice point when it cools down.
The CVD diamonds are hard, but not quite as hard as a real diamond. According to De Beers, A diamond’s hardness is measured on an industrial scale known as the Mohs scale, in which a diamond rates a 10. The man-made diamonds have been rated at 9.25 in comparison. They also have other physical properties that make them comparable to real diamonds, such as being transparent and having high luster. They are just not quite identical to natural diamonds. If you check out images of them side by side, they look like high quality real diamonds even under magnification.
The obvious difference between real diamonds and CVD diamond is that one is natural while another is man-made. Therefore, people are easily able to tell which is which by just looking at it carefully. If you have ever touched a real diamond before. Then you know that it’s cold to touch because of its chemical structure. Not only does it feel different than a heated up synthetic diamond but also sparkles in a very different way. No two diamonds are exactly alike, not even two carbon copies of each other. But lab grown diamonds do show some slight variations from natural stones. They have fewer inclusions (internal flaws) and less cloudiness in their surface area, leading to a cleaner stone overall.
As you can see, in many ways, both types of diamonds are almost identical. However, they are also quite different. Which is why it’s so important to understand exactly what you’re getting when buying a diamond. Regardless of whether it’s a natural or synthetic stone. In fact, most jewelers will help educate you about your choices by providing important details about each type of diamond. While it might be tempting to buy a fake diamond for its lower price tag. Remember that your engagement ring symbolizes something much more than simply being beautiful. It represents an eternal commitment that should never be taken lightly. That’s why many experts recommend choosing a natural white diamond. Over its synthetic alternative every time—you really do get what you pay for.