lab grown diamonds are real diamonds, but they’re not exactly like the ones that come out of the ground in South Africa. In fact, these two types of diamonds have some pretty big differences when it comes to their chemical composition and what they look like when set in jewelry. Here’s how lab created diamonds compare to natural diamonds and what it means if you want to buy one instead of the other.
lab created diamonds, also called synthetic or lab-grown diamonds, are more accurately referred to as created. Lab diamonds differ from simulated (also called imitation) and synthesized (also called cultured) in that they are made in a lab using real diamond crystals. Simulated and synthesized diamonds are both made using high pressure techniques but with non-diamond materials. Lab-created diamonds have many physical and optical characteristics similar to mined diamonds—and some will say they're even more attractive!
Lab diamonds are one of three major groups: lab grown, synthetic, and simulated. Simulated diamonds have been around for decades. They look like natural diamonds and they can be used in jewelry but they’re not actually gem quality—they’re made of glass or plastic instead of carbon—and they typically contain impurities that can give them a greenish tint. A more recent development is synthetic (also known as simulant) diamonds, which are man-made versions of natural gems.
Before we go into detail about lab created diamonds, you may be wondering what some of their differences are. The great thing is that there are so many similarities between natural diamonds and CVD diamonds. Lab created diamonds are essentially made from carbon dioxide gas in a high-pressure environment, similar to how natural diamonds form deep within Earth's mantle. In fact, if you didn't know better, you would swear that lab created diamonds were naturally made by Mother Nature herself because of how similar they are to real diamond in appearance and quality! The only difference is that instead of being formed at extreme depths beneath Earth's surface over billions of years, these precious stones can be created relatively quickly under controlled conditions.