Lab Grown Colored Diamonds: How are They Made?
While traditional white diamonds have always held widespread appeal, colored diamonds are becoming a trendy choice for people who want to flaunt their one-of-a-kind style. Likewise, lab-grown diamonds are having a moment, as modern fashionistas seek affordable, eco-friendly alternatives to naturally mined gemstones. These days, you can have the best of both worlds with lab grown colored diamonds. Here’s everything you need to know about these radiant gemstones.
How Do Natural Diamonds Get Color?
All natural diamonds form under high pressure and intense temperatures in the Earth over billions of years. When foreign minerals or particulates are trapped within the stone during the crystallization process, however, it can create exceptionally rare colors.
Different trace particulates and minerals result in different hues and the overall intensity of those hues. Blue diamonds typically get their color from boron, for instance, while yellow and orange diamonds get their coloring from nitrogen. Whatever the case, if a diamond has color, it’s because it contains one or more different types of minerals or particulates that cause light to reflect in specific ways.
Colored diamond gemstones come in almost every imaginable hue and intensity. This is because trace minerals aren’t the only thing that influence color; variations in pressure and radiation levels in the Earth’s soil can also affect diamond color. To produce a specific hue, countless variables must be present at just the right times, in the exact right amounts, to create a specific color of diamond.
This natural process can be mimicked in a laboratory. To understand how, it helps to know how lab-grown diamonds are made in the first place.
How Are Lab Grown Diamonds Made?
To make diamonds in a lab, specialists begin with a “seed,” which refers to a very tiny diamond gemstone. They then execute one of two different processes: High Pressure High Temperature (HPHT) or Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD).
With CVD, the seed is placed in a plasma reactor chamber where a blend of carbon-based gasses is added at low pressure. Microwaves are then used to heat these gasses to create plasma. As the temperature rises to thousands of degrees, gas molecules begin to break up, allowing carbon atoms to bond to the seed a layer at a time.
With HPHT, the seed is placed in a mechanical press, where extreme temperatures and pressure are applied to carbon that’s already present. The seed essentially acts as a guide for the carbon lattice that ultimately becomes the lab-grown diamond. In a matter of days, the gemstone grows, layer by layer, until it achieves the desired carat weight.
How Do Lab Grown Diamonds Get Their Color?
Lab diamonds come in a wide variety of hues ranging from classic white to blush pink to sky blue. Colored lab diamonds are made by adding a gas mixture to the CVD reactor and then combining this with specific treatments at the conclusion of the synthesis process. This results in a rich color that would be exceptionally expensive and rare in the natural world.
Colored Lab Diamonds vs. Natural Colored Diamonds
Whether they’re clear or colored, lab-grown diamonds are identical to natural diamonds, both chemically and optically. The 'Four Cs' (cut, color, clarity, and carat weight) are used to dictate the value of all jewelry-grade diamonds, whether they’re minded from the earth or grown in a lab. When you purchase a lab diamond, you can be confident in the quality of the gemstone based on the all-important four Cs.
Because they are manmade using responsibly sourced materials, lab diamonds tend to be more eco-friendly than natural diamonds. They also tend to cost much less, allowing you to get a bigger carat weight for a smaller price tag. All of this has played a big role in making lab diamonds such a trendy force in the jewelry world, where consumers seek to balance price, luxury and social responsibility.
If you're looking for an affordable, eco-friendly alternative to naturally mined diamonds, John Atencio’s lab diamonds are a perfect choice. And when one of our lab-grown diamonds is paired with an exceptional John Atencio setting, it results in a stunning artistic expression of beauty and luxury unlike anything else. Explore our lab diamond search or make an appointment at one of our stores, where our attentive consultants will provide a personalized approach to help you find the perfect diamond for your special someone.
Listen to our podcast episode on Lab Grown Diamonds.