Natural diamonds are created by a geological process and mined, whereas lab-created diamonds are man-made, produced by a technological process. Lab-created stones have become a popular, cost-effective alternative option to natural diamonds.
The popularity of diamond jewelry, coupled with its high cost, has been the driving force behind research to create a cheaper substitute for the jewel. The earliest successful attempts to create diamonds were reported in 1879 and 1893, while the first commercially successful synthesis was achieved by Tracy Hall in 1954.
Lab-created diamonds used as gemstones are created using the HPHT or the CVD methods. HPHT uses different kinds of presses to supply the pressure and temperature to produce the diamond. Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVP) is a method for growing diamonds from a hydrocarbon chemical gas mixture.
Natural diamonds are assessed according to the "Four C's"--cut, color, clarity and carat weight. Lab-created diamonds can be chemically, physically and optically identical to naturally occurring ones.
Lab-created diamonds are available in yellow and blue. Unlike natural diamonds, they are rarely colorless. Other colors such as pink or green can be achieved after the stone is created through irradiation.
Lab-created diamonds are significantly cheaper than natural ones. According to expert jeweler Robert Joseph, a 3-carat round cut diamond will retail for approximately $40,000, while an identical lab created stone will cost only $600.
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