First of all, let’s have an idea about what exactly lab-grown diamond and mined diamond are. These diamonds can be defined as those diamonds. That are produced artificially inside laboratories by scientists and gemologists. They are identical to the naturally formed diamonds in terms of their chemical, physical and visual properties. These diamonds are formed by replicating the natural phenomenon. That the natural diamonds go through but inside a lab.
Now, these diamonds are of various shapes sizes and colors. And provide a wide range of choice to the customer and buyers. If one thinks that all the lab-grown diamonds look the same. Then he or she is gravely mistaken.
We will discuss more this topic later on, but before that let us have an idea about exactly. What are the different process of diamond formation which are used in the laboratories.
The growing processes-
There are generally two types of methods or processes. Used to grow out a diamond inside a lab. Let’s have a look at them in detail.
The HPHT OR High-Pressure High-Temperature Process
As the name suggests, this process tends to grow out diamonds from a diamond seed. By subjecting it to extreme measures of heat and temperature. This process is also the exact replication of the phenomenon. Which occurs during the diamond growth process naturally. Or what natural scenarios a natural diamond goes through. By using this process it is possible to form diamonds up to a size of even 10 carats or more which is a huge feat in itself.
The CVD or the Chemical Vapor Deposition process
In this process the diamond seed is subjected to carbon gas. Which is then heated up in high temperatures but at low pressure. The gas gets ionized and it starts to stick with the diamond seed. And gradually a structured diamond tends to form slowly. This is the more commercially used process as this process creates a beautiful diamond in lesser time. And that too of an extreme level of quality.
Do All Lab-Grown Diamond and Mined Diamond Look Similar?
One must not confuse lab-grown diamonds with a diamond look-alike. Though both of them are created artificially, lab-grown diamonds are “real” diamonds. And showcase exact properties like the naturally formed diamonds. On the other hand, diamond look likes are stones or gems. Which just look similar to diamonds or are similar stones found in nature. But they do not have any similar properties as those of either the lab-grown diamond and mined diamond. Hence tends to be something of inferior quality, durability, value, and price. We all have heard the phrase “All that glitters is not gold”. Such much also be followed by one when opting to choose a diamond.
Some diamond lookalikes are explained in detail below-
Cubic Zirconia (CZ):
Chemically speaking, cubic zirconia is another name of zirconium dioxide or ZrO2 in its crystalline form. Generally, it has no color, but it may be made in colored forms too. It is dominating the global diamond jewelry market. Because of its durability, low cost, and looks and likeness similar to that of diamonds. It has been competing economically and gemologically since its first production commercially which was done in the year of 1976.
Its chemical properties vary from diamonds a lot, for example; its specific gravity is 1.6 times more than that of diamonds. And it is harder than most gems and stones that are used in jewelry also having higher dispersion (0.058-0.066) than diamonds (0.044). Its luster is vitreous and it is much more brittle than that of diamonds.
On a simpler note, cubic zirconia is not anywhere near to a diamond except for its looks and visual similarities. Diamonds; be it natural or lab-made, are entirely or mostly made up of carbon. But on the other hand, Cubic zirconia does not contain a single atom of carbon particles.
Cubic zirconia has a diamond stimulant attribute and also showcases isometric crystal formation. Under normal atmospheric conditions, zirconium oxide forms monoclinic crystals during their synthesis. A stabilizer like calcium oxide or yttrium is required for the formation of these cubic crystals. And this stabilizer amount varies accordingly with different labs or different manufacturers.
Cubic zirconias are extremely inexpensive, meaning it does not cost much to produce and manufacture these diamond look-alike. But, if without any prior knowledge anybody can get scammed or fooled believing. They bought a real diamond if they go with just the visual likeness of the cubic zirconia’s. Which looks so much similar to diamonds.
Artificial white-colored sapphires:-
Synthetic or artificially produced sapphires are made from varieties of corundum. And were introduced to the jewelry and gemstone market. Just after the discovery of synthetic rubies and corundum itself in the late years of the 1800s. Sapphires and rubies to are formed from varieties of corundum. And this is exactly why true red sapphires are not to be found.
Since they were used in the industrial market, sapphires have been created artificially in various gemstone laboratories and can be easily duplicated. They also tend to be the less expensive and good alternative variant from their real counterparts.
It should be noted that most lab-grown sapphires come in the color blue due to their market valuation and need. But on the other hand, the natural ones along with the color blue come in many other colors too and with their inclusions additionally. But, some sapphires are white and dazzling just like the diamonds and if not scrutinized or look upon properly; may just fool one to be a diamond. The thing is that they also tend to sparkle like those of diamonds. But a bit on the lower side and can be exactly cut and made to look like a diamond.
Ultimately, the answer is yes and no. To someone who has no prior knowledge about diamonds and their replicas and similar-looking gemstones; they can easily be fooled with the visual properties of each of these gems. And they would also get persuaded by the attractive prices that these similar-looking gems offer. But if one has a logical and subjective mind and he or she questions everything before they believe. Then they would find the differences in each of these gems mentioned above. And can make an exquisite purchase of a lab-grown diamond which would prove good value for money.