|There are three things extremely hard: steel, a diamond, and to know one's self. - Benjamin Franklin|
Man Made Synthetic Cultured Diamonds
Man Made Diamonds
Lab Grown Gem-Quality Cultured Diamonds
Here we are not talking about Cubic Zirconia or Moissanite, but real gem-quality diamonds grown in labs that are now entering the market and they are much less expensive than natural stones. These laboratory diamonds have the same chemical and physical properties as a natural diamond.
Gemesis Cultrues Diamonds®
A company named Gemesis, in Sarasota, Florida, is manufacturing these synthetic diamonds. It was started in 1996 by a retired U.S. Brigadier General named Carter Clarke. Diamonds are grown in two dozen or so high-pressure, high-temperature crystal growth chambers, each the size of a standard household oven. These ovens reproduce the environment in which diamonds grow naturally in the earth. Gemesis creates fancy-colored diamonds, which are becoming more popular.
Originally, Gemesis sold their cultured diamonds as loose, cut and polished stones to retailers. However, as demand increased, they made the decision to sell rough stones to jewelry designers and manufacturers.
Another company, Apollo Diamond, in Boston, uses a modified version of chemical vapor deposition (CVP) to grow their nearly flawless, colorless diamonds. By 2016, Apollo believes half of the world's jewelry diamonds will be laboratory grown. What that will do to the diamond industry or to the market value of natural diamonds is still to be determined.
How are Synthetic Diamonds Made?
A layer of seed diamonds, roughly the size of shirt buttons, is placed in the chambers. Carbon is sprinkled over the seeds and new, real diamonds start to grow on top of the seeds. The synthetic diamonds are then separated from the seeds.
Grading Synthetic Diamonds
In June 2006, the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) announced that it intends to grade synthetic diamonds. There was overwhelming concurrence within the diamond industry that synthetic diamonds should be graded in order for consumers to know that they are receiving proper disclosure when the lab-grown diamonds are being sold.
After months of heated discussions over the proper language to described synthetic diamonds, the GIA decided to laser inscribe "laboratory grown" on diamonds that are produced in a lab if they do not already have an inscription with Federal Trade Commission-approved language such as "man-made," or "lab grown."
The GIA Laboratory will begin accepting lab-grown diamonds for grading using the new reports on January 1, 2007.
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