Choosing a diamond

Article by Linley
Linley Shepard

What to know before choosing a conflict-free diamond.

At MiaDonna we offer an exquisite selection of conflict-free diamonds created in a modern-day lab environment. These diamonds are more beautiful and affordable than anything we will ever get out of the earth, and come free of any negative environmental or social impact.

We’re very proud, as a company, to be leading this new movement, and by working closely together with the world’s biggest and most respected diamond growers, cutters and engineers, we’re continually able to bring our customers the most beautiful, ethical and affordable lab-created diamond alternatives available.

So which mined diamond alternative is right for you? We've provided an overview of our technologies below to help you narrow it down. Choosing a diamond has never been so easy!

Lab-Created Diamonds

Lab-created diamonds also referred to as man-made diamonds or cultured diamonds, are real diamonds - optically, chemically and physically identical to mined diamonds. They are grown by placing a diamond seed into a controlled chamber of extreme heat and pressure that replicates the earth’s natural growing process. As Hydrogen and methane gasses are introduced, energy is pumped into the chamber igniting a plasma ball. Carbon molecules then rain down on the seed and crystallization begins. Within 70 days the process is complete and a finished diamond is ready to be cut, polished and certified.

Just like an earth-mined diamond, each and every lab-created diamond is unique and graded on the AGS scale by the world's leading independent gemological labs. But what you may not know is that there is more to a diamond's quality than the 4c’s (cut, color, clarity & carat weight). Diamonds are also classified by their type, which is a method of scientifically classifying diamonds by their level and type of chemical impurities.

Diamonds are separated into four types: Type Ia, Type Ib, Type IIa, and Type IIb. Most of the earth-mined diamonds you see in a typical jewelry store are a Type Ia. These diamonds make up for about 98% of all earth-mined diamonds, are less expensive and contain more impurities. Type IIa diamonds, on the other hand, are far superior making up for only 1% to 2% of all earth-mined diamonds. These diamonds are very expensive and the most sought-after by collectors and investors.

Why is this so important? Because now, thanks to modern technology, we can grow pure type IIa lab-created diamonds that cost less than a type Ia mined-diamond. This means that what was once only attainable by royalty or the rich and famous can now be attained by all.

Important: Lab-created diamonds are priced up to 40% less than a traditional earth-mined diamonds. So if you see a business selling “lab-created diamonds,” “man-made diamonds” or “synthetic diamonds” for a few hundred dollars, do not be fooled because it can’t be a real lab-created diamond. They are most likely selling a diamond simulant, with misleading terminology.

Diamond Hybrid®

The Diamond Hybrid® is the most affordable, beautiful and scientifically advanced, diamond infused simulant ever created.

It is constructed by placing a non-precious porous crystal core, which is wrapped and layered with tiny diamond crystals, into a chamber of heat and pressure. This heat and pressure chamber infuses the diamond crystals into the upper layers of the crystal core, fusing the diamond crystals together to create the Diamond Hybrid - a diamond simulant that has the same look and feel as real diamond!

With an outer layer hardness of approximately 9.6 on the Mohs scale, the Diamond Hybrid has a similar hardness to a precious gem, such as a Sapphire or Ruby, and should, therefore, be treated with the same level of tender loving care.

The Diamond Hybrid is available in sizes up to 3 carats, a large variety of shapes, and is priced at $358.00 per carat with a full lifetime warranty.

Lab-Created Gemstones

Lab-created gemstones, as with lab-created diamonds, are optically, physically and chemically identical to mined gemstones, without the environmental damage, inhuman harvesting, inflated pricing, or imperfections.

Lab-created gemstones are cut from high-quality crystals that are grown in a highly controlled laboratory environment using the flux fusion method. The timeframe to grow the gemstone crystal can be up to eight months, after which time the rough crystal is cut away to reveal what will be the final gemstone.

We currently offer GEM quality lab-created blue sapphires, emeralds, pink sapphires, rubies, alexandrite, and padparadscha. To learn more about lab-created gemstones, please click the following link.

Lab-Created vs. Simulant vs. Diamond Hybrid®

So what is the difference between lab-created diamonds, diamond simulants, and the Diamond Hybrid?

To put it simply, lab-created diamonds are pure crystallized carbon diamonds grown in a controlled laboratory environment. They have the same chemical, physical and optical properties as an earth-mined diamond. They are graded on the same scale as earth-mined diamonds with the ONLY difference being their point of origin (where it came from).

Terms used to describe lab-created diamonds include, but are not limited to, man-made diamonds, cultured diamonds, and pure grown diamonds. You may have also heard the term ‘Synthetic Diamonds’ to describe diamonds that are grown. However, this is a misleading term set forth by the earth mined diamond industry to imply that these grown diamonds are fake. This could not be further from the truth and we will start seeing less and less of this term.

Diamond simulants, on the other hand, are created to mimic the look of natural diamonds, but contain zero diamond and are non-precious. Great examples of diamond simulants are Cubic Zirconia (CZ), Moissanite and White Topaz. These simulant stones are very inexpensive and contain no diamond.

The Diamond Hybrid is a rare blend of both technologies. It is comprised of both lab-created diamond and diamond simulate technology. We start with a porous crystal core that is not diamond, and then infuse a form of lab-created diamond (carbon) on the outer layer. Because it’s not pure crystallized carbon and not 100% chemically identical to the earth-mined diamond it is still classified a simulate. We call it a "Hybrid" because it is using a blend of lab-created diamond and diamond simulate technology.

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