Lab Grown Diamonds @ DC Jewellery
Daniel Christopher are delighted to be able to offer our customers an ethical lab grown alternative to traditional mined diamonds across all of our ready to wear and bespoke designs.
Lab grown diamonds have burst into the jewellery industry in last couple of years, disrupting the market and emerging as a true alternative to traditional mined stones. Here at Daniel Christopher we are seeing an increasing number of our clients requesting lab grown diamonds due to their sustainable credentials and favourable price points creating a new ethically and environmentally conscious consumer of fine jewellery.
Daniel Christopher source our lab grown stones through a trusted network of preferred suppliers, their production relies on hydroelectric and solar power using the CVD process of production (outlined below) making our lab grown diamonds a truly ethical option.
How do you grow a diamond?
The process of growing a diamond in a lab has taken over 60 years of development. Gem quality lab grown diamonds were first introduced in the 1950’s and were initially created by the HPHT method. This process is when small diamond seeds are placed in the bottom of a growth cell within large pressure cookers called cubic presses, a layer of additional carbon is then very gently added in the form of graphite. This is heated to 1500 degrees Celsius whilst being subjected to 1 million psi of pressure resulting in the formation of a diamond crystal.
The second method is referred to as CVD. This differs to the HPHT production method in that diamonds are formed in a vacuum as opposed to under pressure. Diamond plates are placed within a chamber which is carefully filled with a hydrocarbon gas. High power microwave energy breaks down the atomic bonds and the free carbon ‘rains’ down growing the diamond vertically atom by atom.
Lab Grown vs Mined Diamonds
Lab grown diamonds are chemically, structurally and visually identical to mined diamonds. Their chemical composition is exactly the same as mined diamonds, comprising predominantly of carbon. Lab grown diamonds are crafted by exposing carbon to a simulation of the exact geological conditions mined stones would be subjected to below the earths surface.
In diamonds the refractive index is the property that gives diamonds their sparkle. This value is the same for both mined and lab diamonds and means that lab stones have the same level of brilliance and sparkle as their mined counterparts.
‘Fire’ is the term describing the way that light passes and bends through the diamond, measured by dispersion – the optical property relating to the refractive index. In both mined and lab grown diamonds this measurement is the same.
Finally we have hardness, as the chemical structure of lab and mined diamonds is identical so is their strength. Measured on the Mohs hardness scale, both share the highest rating of 10.
Grown in laboratory conditions over many months laboratory gown diamonds are gemmologically and aesthetically identical to their organic equivalents.
|Laboratory Grown Diamond||Mined Diamond|
What are the benefits of lab grown diamonds?
There are two main benefits of choosing a lab gown diamond over a mined stone.
The first is a supply chain that guarantees that the environmental impact associated with producing the diamond is totally negligible when compared with traditional diamond mining methods, making lab grown diamonds the perfect choice for the environmentally conscious consumer.
The second is the price point of lab grown diamonds is significantly less than the exact mined equivalent when all other characteristics remain the same. Meaning your budget goes much further vs a mined diamond.
A further benefit to note, but not one that relates to purchases from us, whilst we at Daniel Christopher only deal with conflict free diamonds as certified by the Kimberley process, when compared with the wider market lab stones can promise absolutely no human rights violations occur in their production.
What is the industry saying about Lab Grown Diamonds?
“Lab Grown diamonds have been around for decades but only in the last 5-10 years has the technology to produce them advanced so much making them an economically viable option for the jewellery market. While there was initially scepticism as to whether Lab Grown Diamonds would become a major part of the UK jewellery industry this has been dispelled as they have proven to be hugely in demand for their ethical and environmental credentials, as well as their price point.
We find it is a personal choice as to whether customers choose to select a Lab Grown Diamond or a Mined diamond for their piece of jewellery, with some customers preferring the Lab Grown’s ethical and environmental credentials, while others prefer the romance and story of a diamond which has formed over millions of years prior to being extracted from the earth, rather than grown in a few days.” – Daniel O’Farrell Founder and Owner Daniel Christopher Jewellery.
“In just 10 short years, lab gown diamonds have come from nowhere to being the fastest – growing category in the jewellery market today.” – Forbes
“No one wants to ride on an airline that’s not safe. It will be the same way with [sustainability]. In the future, consumers aren’t going to do business with a company that isn’t doing the right thing.” - Cyrille Vigneron - Cartier CEO
"I don't know of any other industry that has attempted to evaluate its sustainability and environmental impact the way the diamond industry has and also managed achieve a consistency of these metrics across our members," - David Kellie - CEO of the Natural Diamond Council
Frequently asked questions
Q. How can you tell the difference between a mined or lab diamond?
A. The short answer is that you can’t. Both mined and lab diamonds are chemically and structurally identical and so even a trained gemmologist would need specialist equipment to be able to differentiate between the two.
Q. Can fancy coloured diamonds be grown in a lab?
A. Yes and they are! Lab grown diamonds come in all shapes, sizes and colours. During the laboratory process the same trace elements are introduced as they would be during their natural creation, for example nitrogen for yellow diamonds and boron for blue, influencing their final colour. Lab stones can be purchased in yellow, blue, orange, pink – all the colours you would expect to find in mind stones.
Q. Will a lab diamond hold their value compared to mined stone?
A. As with any commodity it is difficult to predict what the future holds and what market factors will influence the rise or fall of value. However as technology improves and production of lab diamonds increases the market could theoretically become flooded leading to an eventual decrease in price, however this has already happened to a large degree. Mined diamonds are a limited resource and as such it is predicted that as mines dry up over time they will hold or rise in value. However at this stage no one is able to determine how the market for lab stones will play out so discussion on their value as an investment is merely conjecture.
Q. Will lab diamonds change in appearance over time?
A. No. Just like their mined counterparts lab diamonds will not change in appearance (cubic zirconia for example often become cloudy and dull over time). A lab stone just like a mined stone will keep it’s sparkle and brilliance for a lifetime.
Q. Do they sparkle as much a mined diamond?
A. Ironically they often sparkle better! As they are grown in a lab in a vastly shorter timeframe then it would take for a mined stone to form, diamond producers and cutters can afford to lose more weight from the diamond then they might be prepared to on a mined stone. This means that they tend to cut lab diamonds to an optimum shape and proportions – increasing the sparkle!
Should you have any further questions on lab diamonds or wish to see for yourself the difference between lab vs mined stones then please do not hesitate to make an appointment with one of our GIA trained gemologists and lab grown experts who will be very happy to assist.