What are Lab Created Diamonds?
Lab created diamonds (also referred to as man made diamonds, lab grown diamonds, and synthetic diamonds) are grown in highly-controlled laboratory conditions that simulate the earth’s natural growing environment, creating REAL DIAMONDS that are optically, chemically and atomically identical to earth-mined diamonds.
While people have been experimenting with the technology used to grow diamonds for over a century now, it has only been in the last decade that we’ve been able to perfect the science of creating gem-quality diamonds in a modern-day lab.
With today’s technological advances we are creating diamonds that are free of any conflict and superior in every way to earth-mined diamonds.
Why choose a MiaDonna lab grown diamond?
Over the last decade, MiaDonna has pioneered the lab-created diamond industry by working closely with the world's most scientifically advanced diamond growers and cutters, that share our core values, to bring you exceptional diamonds made in a modern-day lab environment that are affordably priced, free of any conflict and support diamond mining communities.
We pride ourselves on being a leading lab-created diamond retailer and know that not all grown diamonds are created equally when it comes to the quality and origin. MiaDonna only offers the best, ethically sourced, Type IIa lab-created diamonds available. You can view our full selection of loose lab-created diamonds here. Alternatively, start shopping our conflict-free collection of synthetic diamond rings.
Above is a picture of MiaDonna's 6.28 carat World's Largest Grown-in-the-USA Laboratory Diamond.
Our collection of man made diamonds are available up to IF (internally flawless) in clarity, D in color, Excellent in cut, and a whopping 10ct in size! Until now, lab-created diamonds of this beauty and quality had not been available.
We also offer a vast array of shapes including round brilliant, emerald, cushion, oval, heart, princess, and radiant. Click here to learn more about diamond shapes. Available colors include white, yellow, blue, pink, and green. Scroll down to learn more about our lab-grown diamond colors.
You can search our full collection of lab-created diamonds here. If you don't see the size, color or cut you're after, please feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 503.336.1581 and we will be more than happy to assist.
Unlike other retailers, every MiaDonna lab-created diamond is type IIa, meaning they are the purest form of diamond available. As such, they are harder and more brilliant than a traditional type Ia diamond. Only 2% of earth-mined diamonds will ever reach this level of perfection.
Furthermore, each and every grown diamond is graded and certified by the same leading independent gemological labs that are used to grade earth-mined diamonds.
Grown diamonds are up-to 50% less than their natural diamond equivalents. But buyers beware, genuine grown diamonds that carry the same characteristics and qualities of a mined diamond will never be sold for a few hundred dollars per carat. If the deal seems to good to be true, it probably is. Only a diamond simulant will be priced for a few hundred dollars per carat.
Every lab-created diamond from MiaDonna is guaranteed conflict-free, sourced from first world countries where they are treated and cut in a controlled modern-day lab environment.
Unlike earth-mined diamonds, our grown diamonds are created without negatively harming native communities, society, or the earth.
We like to let numbers speak for themselves:
The mining of natural diamonds results in 100's of hectares of soil being disturbed (approximately 0.00091 hectares per carat), excessive carbon emissions and other greenhouse gas omissions that lead to deteriorated air quality and pollution. Additionally, approximately 126 gallons of water is used per 1 carat diamond mined.
The amount of land disturbed in the creation of a grown diamond equates to 0.00000071 hectares per carat. The use of water is also minimized with approximately 18.5 litres used in the creation of a 1 carat grown diamond.
|SP3 Carbon Diamond Bonds (%)||100%||100%|
|Internal Crystal Structure||Face-Centered Cubic||Face-Centered Cubic|
|Color||Various Grades||K to D grades|
|Cut||Poor to Excellent||Very Good to Ideal|
How are lab-created diamonds made?
MiaDonna has aligned with the world’s best laboratories to create lab-grown diamonds in a safe and employee-advantageous environment. Each lab uses their own proprietary ‘recipes’ to produce the finest colorless and fancy colored pure carbon diamonds.
A lab-grown diamond is created by placing a ‘diamond seed’ into a chamber of heat and pressure. This chamber mimics the natural growing process of a diamond and crystallization occurs, allowing the diamond to mature within six to ten weeks. It is then cut, polished and graded by the same world-renowned labs that are certifying earth-mined diamonds.
The following combination of techniques are used most frequently:
Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD)
Chemical Vapor Deposition (or CVD) is a process used to create gem-grade diamonds as well as optics and semiconductors. The CVD process uses ultra-pure carbon-rich gasses in a controlled environment/chamber. Carbon based gasses, such as methane, are heated until they break apart, allowing the carbon atoms within the gas to separate. These tiny carbon atoms fall onto a diamond substrate and build up layers resulting in a rough diamond crystal. This process takes between 6 to 10 weeks and will yield gem grade, Type lla diamonds.
In recent years CVD research has gained popularity and now modified versions of CVD are being used. These processes differ in the means by which chemical reactions are initiated. Some of these are:
- Low-pressure CVD (LPCVD)
- Ultrahigh vacuum CVD (UHVCVD)
- Plasma-enhanced chemical vapor deposition (PECVD)
- Microwave Plasma Vapor Deposition (MPCVD)
High-Pressure High-Temperature (HPHT)
High-Pressure High-Temperature or HPHT recreates a diamond's natural growing environment found deep within the earth. The machines used have the ability to build up the pressure of almost 60,000 atmospheres and temperature of 2,500°C.
The growth cell itself contains all the elements needed to grow a diamond, including a tiny diamond seed, highly refined graphite, and a catalyst mixture consisting of metals and powders. The growth cell is then placed in the center of the HPHT chamber. Very consistent temperatures reaching 1,300 degrees Celsius and over 50,000 atmospheres of pressure are applied to the growth cell. The catalysts inside the growth cell are the first to react to the added heat and pressure by changing from solid to molten form.
The molten catalyst solution now causes the graphite (carbon) also in the growth cell to dissolve. Once all the required conditions within the growth cell have been met, the cooling process begins. This highly controlled cooling process takes place over many days and allows the carbon atoms to build up on top of the diamond seed. The growth cell is removed from the HPHT machine once the growth cycle is complete. The new rough diamond is cleaned in preparation for final cutting and polishing.
The entire HPHT growing process requires an incredibly controlled environment to produce a gem quality diamond. Any shift or change during growth can cause the diamond itself to stop growing, or can cause any additional growth to be heavily included and become unusable. Every grown diamond must go through an entire growth cycle before the machine can be opened. It is only after the HPHT chamber is opened that we can see the finished rough diamond along with the color, clarity, and size that was produced.
Within the HPHT process, there are three primary tools used to supply the pressure and temperature necessary to produce lab-grown diamonds. These are:
- Bars Press - Currently the Bars Press is the most effective tool used for producing gem quality diamonds. The Bars Press uses a combination of inner and outer anvils to apply hydraulic pressure to the growth cell within the unit.
- Belt Press - The Belt Press is the founding technology behind growing diamonds. A Belt Press can be very large and produce many diamonds in only one cycle by using two huge anvils that press together to create the necessary pressure. The Belt Press is capable of producing gem quality diamonds but is most commonly used to produce diamonds for industrial purposes, as well as the powder form.
- Cubic Press - A Cubic Press is used to create diamond powder for industrial purposes. Cubic presses can also be very large and use six separate anvils that press onto a small cube to create the necessary pressure for diamond crystal growth.
What man made diamond colors are available?
White Lab-Grown Diamonds
A pure carbon diamond with no impurities will grade as a colorless diamond. However, the majority of both natural and synthetic diamonds do contain impurities, most of which are nitrogen. The nitrogen atoms within the diamond lattice create the yellow tint, and even a pure yellow color, as in the case of fancy colored diamonds. Nearly all diamonds, again both natural and lab-created, start out as yellow diamonds.
Over the span of millions of years, natural diamonds through pressure and heat, split the nitrogen atoms within the diamond's lattice rendering the nitrogen atoms ability to produce yellow light. The splitting of the nitrogen atoms is what gives the diamond its ability to shine white.
In the case of lab-grown diamonds, we don’t have millions of years to convert a yellow diamond to white, however, the ability to grow the diamond with little or no nitrogen will produce the same result.
Growing a white diamond requires an incredibly controlled environment. The heat and pressure must remain consistent through the entire growing process. Any fluctuation or change within the growth cell can cause the diamond itself to stop growing, or can create heavy inclusions in the new growth making it unusable.
Extracting the nitrogen and boron from the growth cell to remove the color from the diamond lattice also causes the diamond to grow much slower. White diamonds typically take up to two weeks or longer to grow a 1.0 carat stone.
It is the extended growth time, the need to extract certain elements from the growth cell and the demand to keep the heat and pressure consistent that makes growing a white diamond so difficult and thus contributes to their limited availability.
Unlike earth mined diamonds Synthetic Grown Diamonds are in very limited supply. The process used to create a white diamond is also the most time consuming and temperamental. Given that white earth mined diamonds are in abundance and white synthetics are in limited supply the cost ends up being very comparable. A typical 1.0 carat Synthetic Diamond will range from $5,600 to $10,000. White Synthetic Diamonds are priced identically to mined diamonds using the cut, carat size, color and clarity to determine their individual worth.
White diamonds yield a square-ish rough. This allows the most popular shapes to be produced. Typically rounds will be most abundant with princess, asscher, cushion and emerald shapes also available. These shapes compliment the diamond rough and in return give the highest yields. Elongated shapes like oval, marquise and pear typically aren’t produced because of their need for a more elongated rough to start with.
All the Synthetic White Diamonds offered by MiaDonna® are hand cut. Every diamond comes with individual grading from either the IGI or EGLUSA and shows their cut grade on the grading report. Every diamond is cut to maximize its brilliance and color.
The clarity of a Grown White Diamond is evaluated exactly like an earth-mined diamond's clarity. Typically a range from IF to SI2 will be offered. All grading is done by either IGI or EGLUSA and is included with every Synthetic Diamond offered by MiaDonna.
Yellow lab-grown diamonds
MiaDonna’s yellow Man Made Diamonds are optically, chemically and physically identical to yellow earth-mined diamonds but are offered free of conflict and on average 10% of the cost. They are available in a color range from fancy yellow to fancy vivid yellow, in sizes up to 2.0 carats, and a variety of different shapes.
Both natural and Grown Yellow Diamonds get their color from nitrogen. While diamonds are made up of carbon (C), impurities within the stone exist. It is the introduction of these impurities, in this case nitrogen, that will ultimately give the diamond its yellow color. As a diamond grows nitrogen atoms will sometimes replace a carbon atom within the diamond's lattice structure. Once light enters the diamond the nitrogen will reflect back yellow light.
By controlling the amount of nitrogen during the diamond's growing process the color of the finished diamond can be selected. The more nitrogen in a diamond the yellower it will be. Too much nitrogen and the diamond will start to appear brown. “Getters” are used during the growing process to capture excess nitrogen within the growth cell. By using getters we can grow yellow diamonds with the most desirable gem quality colors.
Many Synthetic Diamonds are offered in yellow orange or orangy yellow colors. A Grown Diamond gets its orange color from the solvents used during the growing process. These diamonds are grown in a metal molten solution. The orange comes from solvent trapped in the diamond lattice itself during the growing cycle. These solvents combined with the nitrogen also trapped in the diamond's lattice structure gives the diamond its orangy yellow color.
Deciding on which color of yellow or orangy yellow diamond to buy is purely a personal choice. The ranges that we have provided here do fall between the most commonly grown and purchased colors.
It takes 5 to 6 days for one cycle in the growth machine to produce enough rough to cut a 1 to 2 carat finished yellow diamond. The nitrogen left in during the growing process, that gives a yellow diamond its color, actually helps the diamond grow faster than any other color.
Fancy yellow colored diamonds are fairly rare in nature. Yellow Lab Grown Diamonds cost about 75% less than their mined equivalent. Synthetic Yellow Diamonds are the most abundant, because they are the easiest of the colors to grow and as a result are also the least expensive. Synthetic Yellow Diamonds range in price from $3,000 to $5,000 per carat. Natural mined yellow diamonds can cost anywhere from $10,000 to $50,000.
The majority of yellow diamond rough grows in a truncated octahedral shape. Square shapes like radiant, princess, cushion, asscher and emerald are typically used to yield the most from the rough. Because yellow diamonds can be grown in larger sizes, round shaped diamonds are also available. Due to the square nature of the yellow rough, elongated shapes like pear, oval and marquise are not typically produced.
Blue lab-grown diamonds
Blue man-made diamonds are optically, chemically and physically identical to blue earth mined diamonds but are offered free of conflict and about 10% of the cost. They are typically offered in sizes smaller than 1.5 carats and come in a color range of fancy light blue to fancy intense blue.
Both natural and Grown Blue Diamonds get their color from boron. While diamonds are made up of carbon (C), impurities within the stone exist. It is the introduction of these impurities, in this case boron, that will ultimately give the diamond its blue color. As a diamond grows controlled amounts of boron are introduced into the growth cell, which then become trapped in the diamond's lattice structure. Controlling the amount of boron in the growth cell allows the finished color to be controlled as well. Once light enters the diamond the boron will reflect back blue light.
It takes 7 to 10 days for one cycle in the growth machine to produce enough rough for a finished blue diamond up to 1 carat in size. The boron introduced during the growing process, that gives a blue diamond its color, actually helps the diamond grow quicker than a white diamond, but will still grow slower than a yellow diamond which is fed by nitrogen.
Natural blue diamonds are incredibly rare in nature and can sell for anywhere between $200,000 to $500,000 per carat. A Synthetic Blue Diamond costs about 10% of what a natural costs. Most Blue Synthetic Diamonds run in the price range of $7,000 to $12,000 per carat. Blue Synthetic Diamonds in fancy blue colors are the most expensive out of all the fancy colored diamonds due to the time and care needed to achieve the most desirable colors.
The majority of blue diamond rough grows in a hexa-cubic shape. Round and cut corner shapes like radiant, cushion, asscher and emerald are typically used to yield the most from the rough. Due to the hexa-cubic nature of the blue rough princess cuts and elongated shapes like pear, oval and marquise are not typically produced.
Pink lab-grown diamonds
MiaDonna’s® Pink Man Made Diamonds (also known as Synthetic Diamonds) are optically, chemically and physically identical to pink earth mined diamonds, but are offered free of conflict and about 5% of the cost. They are typically readily available in sizes below 2 carats and range in color from fancy pink to fancy deep pink.
Unlike White, Blue and Yellow Synthetic Diamonds, which get their color during the growing process, pink diamonds get their color from a post-growth treatment process referred to as irradiation and annealing.
Certain lighter yellow diamonds are most commonly used to create pinks. By showering the diamond with electrons and neutrons (irradiation) we can alter the diamond's crystal lattice structure and create a new colored center. The second step, annealing, is a process where the stone is heated to help smooth out the alterations created from the irradiation and helps achieve the diamond's finished color.
Additional colors like purple, red and green are available and are produced post treatment using the same process as pinks. The "color" created during the treatment process is permanent and secure under normal wear and tear conditions. In the event of setting, repairing or servicing a color treated diamond, care should be taken when being exposed to high temperatures like a jeweler’s torch. Exposure to extreme temperatures may cause color discrepancies.
Natural pink diamonds are the rarest in the world. The majority of pink diamonds come from a mine in Australia. The extreme limited availability puts the cost of these pink diamonds between $56,000 to $150,000 per carat. A treated Pink Synthetic Diamond will cost between $5,000 and $10,000 per carat. The price per carat weighs heavily on the color of the diamond itself. On average a Pink Synthetic Diamond is about 5% the cost of a mined pink diamond.
The large majority of Synthetic Pink Diamonds will be finished or shaped in the same manner as Yellow Grown Diamonds. A Synthetic Pink Diamonds start as Yellow Grown Diamonds. A Grown Yellow Diamond's rough has a truncated octahedral shape. Square shapes like radiant, princess, cushion, asscher and emerald are typically used to yield the most from the rough. Because pink synthetic diamonds can be grown in larger sizes, round shape diamonds are also available. Due to the square nature of the pink rough, elongated shapes like pear, oval and marquise are not typically produced.
The clarity of a pink diamond is dependent upon its color. Pink colors that are fuller in saturation or have more of the pink color in them will allow for a lower clarity while a soft or light pink may require a higher clarity. In any case, as long as the diamond is “eye clean”, meaning you can’t see the inclusions with the naked eye, then you should be safe. Clarity will affect the price, so in many cases buying a diamond that is eye clean over one with a higher clarity grade will not only save you money, but will look just as good when being viewed in normal conditions.