Proper Identification of Synthetic Diamonds: Lab Grown Diamonds vs. Natural Diamonds

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Lab created diamonds are real diamonds in every way (as opposed to lab-created diamond simulants). The chemical compounds are the same as mined diamonds, but the values are much different. It is often very difficult to tell the difference between a synthetic and mined diamond. Consumers can notice some aspects themselves, while they will need to enlist the help of a trustworthy jeweler or laboratory to completely identify a synthetic diamond.

This video explains the differences between two major diamond grading labs

D.NEA Diamonds provides some information about diamond coloring: “Most lab grown diamonds are fancy yellow or blue colors. These colors are very rare in nature and as a result are quite expensive and not commonly available. Diamonds with “fancy intense” or “fancy vivid” colors have a good chance of being lab grown, though the color alone is not a conclusive indicator.”

Labs like D.Nea and Gemesis grow diamonds chemically identical to natural diamonds, as opposed to diamond simulant labs like Diamond Nexus Labs. The difference in price is the easiest way to discern a simulant from a lab-grown diamond. Simulants are significantly less expensive, while lab-grown diamonds are still less than, but more comparable to, natural diamond prices.

Most diamonds sold that are over .25 carats have an independent grading attached that will most likely specify whether the diamond was naturally mined or genetically grown.

The most effective way to know whether you have a synthetic or mined diamond are the inclusions, or imperfections. These inclusions in a synthetic diamond are always metallic, a type of inclusion that wouldn’t occur in nature.

Many advanced testers are available to identify whether a diamond is in fact a diamond or a simulant, working to determine thermal or electrical conductivity. Testers such as the  Fourier transform infrared spectrometer (FTIR) or energy dispersive X-ray fluorescence (EDXRF) can both detect traces of metal in a diamond, which comes from the molten metal solution the diamond is grown in.

However, most diamond detection equipment is only available to large diamond labs. And, according to GIA and JCK, there’s no easy detection method coming for the lay jewelry folk anytime soon.

Tom Moses, GIA’s senior vice president of laboratory and research, said “he thought that detection of synthetic diamonds—as well as HPHT diamonds—was likely to be something only gem labs with trained gemologists could handle.

Moses added that synthetic diamonds are not new, but many still find them hard to grow in larger sizes. He added the two main methods—HPHT and CVD—have been around for 50 years and the industry should not fear them.”

Where jewelers drew comparisons to the pearl industry’s demise thanks to cultured pearls, GIA points out the development of lead filled rubies and their lack of affect on stellar natural ruby auction prices. Moreover, the ability to create lab-grown diamonds over 1ct is still few and far between the labs.

It is imperative to properly ID your diamonds or synthetic diamonds for a number of reasons, the most obvious being value: you don’t want to get conned into paying for a synthetic diamond when you thought you were buying true, mined diamonds. You also don’t want to get duped into deals that are “too good to be true.”

Click here to learn more about synthetic diamonds and the synthetic diamond market.

Knowledgable, trained jewelers like Raymond Lee Jewelers in Boca Raton can properly administer the tests associated with giving you a thorough diamond appraisal, right in front of you, to determine if your stone is a diamond or a diamond simulant. If you suspect that your diamond is lab-created, then we can send your diamond to GIA for through evaluation for you.

Knowledge is power in the diamond industry: the more you know about the stones you’re buying, the better off you are in the long run—and diamonds hold their values while getting passed down through generations.

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