Synthetic Diamonds

by Sheweta Dhanuka

Synthetic diamond is also known as cultured diamond or artificial diamond. This man-made created stone possess almost same physical and chemical properties as that of real diamonds. Today, across the globe players like LifeGem, Diamond Innovations, Adia Diamonds, Gemesis, Chatham Gems, Apollo Diamonds and Tairus etc produce approximately 3 billion carats of synthetic diamonds.

Synthetic Diamonds would take away the place of Natural Diamonds



Diamond is the symbol of eternal love and commitment in any relationship. This precious stone could be originated by the grace of Mother Nature or manufactured by man in the laboratory through the modern technical methods. Natural stone as well as synthetic stone both are equally effective in conveying one's everlasting intimate feelings to his/her mate, these are exactly similar in looks but the difference lies in the price.

Synthetic Diamond RingMan-made artificial diamonds are priced very less than the genuine stones. Due to less cost synthetic stones are gaining demand over the natural stones. Artificially created diamonds are very much like the real gems. At the first glance even the diamond experts could fail to identify the genuine stone. Once the stone in mounted on the finger ring or the pair of earrings or any other jewelry item it becomes difficult to make out the difference between the real and artificial. Therefore, many people who have a price constraint prefer synthetic diamond to the bona fide.

Diamonds that are produced deep inside the earth crust are natural diamonds. In order to procure these natural stones, lots of resources are used up making the stone an expensive gem. In addition colored natural diamonds like yellow, pink, blue and red are very rare and thus are very costly. Further, with the increase in carat weight the price also increases.

Synthetic diamond is also known as cultured diamond or artificial diamond. This man-made created stone possess almost same physical and chemical properties as that of real diamonds. Today, across the globe players like LifeGem, Diamond Innovations, Adia Diamonds, Gemesis, Chatham Gems, Apollo Diamonds and Tairus etc produce approximately 3 billion carats of synthetic diamonds. There are two main processes of producing diamond in laboratories. The initial method is high-pressure high temperature (HPHT) while other is chemical vapour deposition (CVD). The stone produced using any of these two methods is composed of three-dimensional carbon crystal same as true diamonds. However, these stones differ from the diamond imitation that are made up of compounds like cubic zirconia or silicon carbide.

High Pressure High Temperature (HPHT)

In this method a small sliver of genuine diamond is immersed in a molten mixture of graphite and metal-based catalyst at high pressure of 5-6 GPa and temperature of 1500 degree Celsius in the crystal growth chamber. High temperature and pressure is created in order to make a replica of natural conditions inside the earth crust. As a result molten carbon deposits on the crystal forming the diamond weighing between 2.4-2.8 carat weights. This entire process completes in three and half days. It is an affordable and uncomplicated method. The stones produced from this modus operandi are small in size and less in carat weight. Adia Diamonds, Chatham Created Gems, Gemesis and Tairus are the companies that use this method for creating synthetic diamonds. Gemesis is mostly producing yellow diamonds suitable for making exquisite jewelry items. It manufactures high quality gems that are indistinguishable from the natural yellow diamonds.

Mostly, colorless diamond is created with carbon atoms and yellow is produced by substituting 1-5 nitrogen atoms in each 1,00,000 carbon atoms in the chemical formation. It is difficult to have the environment free of nitrogen and boron atoms therefore colorless synthetic stones production takes longer duration. For blue diamonds as manufactured by Adia Diamonds, the nitrogen is replaced by boron during the growth procedure. Yellow stones are the most lucrative stone as less cost is incurred for manufacturing than blue and colorless stones.

Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD)

This method was first introduced in the year 1980. The stone are created under low pressure of 1 - 27 Pa and requires input of different quantity of gases into the chamber, invigorate them and proffers natural state for diamond formation. Apollo diamonds are produced through this method where carbon plasma is produced on the top of the diamond seed crystal above which the carbon atoms settle down to form synthetic diamond.

This technique is also referred as application oriented because apart from the use as gem in jewelry making, many new applications of diamond are discovered for other industries as well. It is widely used as machining tool for cutting aluminum for the automobile industry. It has many electronic use like diamond electrodes, radiation detection device etc. Diamonds produced through CVD method has potential use as semiconductors, cell and transistors. The properties of stone can be controlled in CVD as and when required according to its end use. Also stones of higher carat weight like beyond 3 ctw could be created unlike HPHT method. The content of impurities in the stone could be controlled thus, Apollo Diamonds are able to offer high carat weight stones and in various colour like pink, blue, yellow, colorless and black etc.

There are few problems associated with this method due to which it is preferred less. Small changes in the chemistry that need to be done as per the requirements of diamond use entail immense study. Further, it needs large area for mass production else this method is difficult to put into practice.

Laboratory grown diamonds are quite popular these days due to its less cost and same quality as that of original diamonds. These look identical with the bare eyes however; through spectroscopy in infrared, ultraviolet or x-ray wavelengths the genuine stone is identified. UV fluorescence rays are also used to distinguish the true gems from their artificial counterparts. These rays detect the impurities present in the synthetic stones due to which it is possible to differentiate between the genuine and cultured stones. Stones procured from HPHT method consist of minute impurities of nickel that cause short-lived phosphorescence when exposed to intense ultraviolet rays. Natural diamonds would never give this effect once it comes in contact with UV rays. On the other hand CVD stones exhibit similar effect as they contain hydrogen impurities.

Diamonds generated by man instead of nature are becoming every house name. Surely, in time to come if the cost of the gems gains precedence over the origin of the gem then diamond industry worth billions rather trillions would swap the genuine diamonds by the synthetic diamonds. "A Diamond Is Forever" as launched by De Beers, the South African firm certainly remains close to people in love no matter whether it is mined from natural mines or man-made mines that is laboratory.
 
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