Posted on

Natural vs. Synthetic Diamonds

Natural vs. Synthetic Diamonds

Doing that whole down on one knee thing? If you’re considering buying a rock you should know science has come up with a way to make stones that look exactly like natural diamonds. Sound unromantic? There are some pretty compelling reasons to consider.

Here’s what you need to know.. First of all, when we’re taking synthetic diamonds we’re not talking fakes. These ain’t no cubic zirconia. These stones are virtually identical, right down to having the same optical, physical and chemical properties as natural diamonds.

Natural diamonds are formed when carbon is compressed deep in the Earth’s crust for millions of years under intense heat and pressure. Synthetic diamond producers simulate the same conditions but speed up the process. So instead of millions of years, we’re talking weeks! Natural diamonds are mined; synthetic diamonds are grown. There are a couple of methods, but both start with a diamond seed  that’s a tiny piece natural of synthetic diamonds. It acts as a template that forces carbon atoms to align in the same lattice crystalline structure that makes diamonds so sparkly. The result? Natural and synthetic stones are chemically identical and you can only tell the difference in a lab. In fact, since a lab-grown diamond is virtually a diamond, one grower’s group is lobbying the US Federal Trade Commission to prohibit the word synthetic when describing them. They prefer the word cultured.

Natural stones can have significant Eco and ethical costs. Mining can have serious environmental effects. Synthetic stones, on the other hand, have a much smaller footprint. There’s also a difference between synthetic and simulated diamonds. If a diamond says it’s synthetic or lab-grown, it’s a diamond just not one that came from the ground. Stones that are sold as simulated diamonds and diamond substitutes like cubic zirconia, clear quartz and moissanite are sparkly, but they’re not diamonds.

So if you like it and want to put a ring on it, there are options.

Source – CBC Marketplace