The Fascinating Production Process of Lab-Grown Diamonds

The Fascinating Production Process of Lab-Grown Diamonds

Unlike natural diamonds, lab-grown diamonds are created in a laboratory under controlled conditions. This allows them to be made in a fraction of the time it takes for nature-grown diamonds to form.

The process involves exposing a seed of diamond crystal to high pressure and heat to mimic the conditions underneath the Earth that cause diamond growth. Two primary methods are used: HPHT and CVD.

Belt Press

Lab-grown diamonds are artificially produced carbon crystals. They are created in laboratories rather than in the ground and offer many benefits including lower prices and a more ethical and sustainable manufacturing process.

They are also less damaging to the environment than diamonds mined from the earth and can be shaped into any shape desired. They are also a more affordable alternative to natural diamonds, with their price being up to 40% less expensive than natural stones.

The process of growing lab-grown diamonds is based on high pressure and temperature. These are applied to the carbon which melts around a small diamond seed (the seed is made from a combination of graphite and iron, nickel and cobalt). This is done through either a belt press, cubic press or BARS (split-sphere) press.

Cubic Press

The Fascinating Production Process of Lab-grown Diamonds

Lab-grown diamonds are created by using one of two methods: high pressure and high temperature (HPHT) or chemical vapour deposition (CVD). In the HPHT method, carbon is put under extreme pressure and heat for several days to grow a small seed’ of diamond crystal into a full-sized diamond.

The diamond seed is placed into a growth cell, which contains a highly refined graphite. A molten catalyst solution is poured into the chamber to replicate the conditions found in the Earth’s mantle where mined diamonds are formed.

The growth cycle is then complete and the new diamond is cooled to allow carbon atoms to build up around the seed. Once the cooling process is completed, the diamond can be cut and polished to a finished size.

Chemical Vapour Deposition (CVD)

The Fascinating Production Process of Lab-grown Diamonds

There are two primary methods for producing lab-grown diamonds: high pressure/high temperature (HPHT) and chemical vapour deposition. Both methods produce diamonds with optical, physical, and chemical properties identical to natural mined diamonds.

In both processes, a carbon seed crystal is placed in a chamber filled with a mixture of hydrocarbon gases. This gas mixture is heated to 900-1200degC, then a microwave beam causes carbon to precipitate out of the plasma cloud onto the seed crystal.

The CVD process is relatively new to the diamond industry and has become a popular alternative to traditional industrial-scale diamond mining. It requires a complex procedure and a long time to complete, but it is well worth the effort.

Another benefit of the CVD process is that it can be used to grow diamonds with a wide range of colours, including fancy pink and red. These gem-quality synthetic diamonds are significantly more affordable than their natural counterparts and can be sold for jewellery and other applications requiring the unique properties of a diamond.

Heat Treatment

There are two main production methods used to produce lab-grown diamonds: High Pressure High Temperature (HPHT) and Chemical Vapour Deposition (CVD). Both of these methods produce diamonds with the same optical, physical, and chemical properties as natural diamonds.

The process starts with a tiny seed of diamond placed into pure carbon and subjected to extreme heat and pressure. The carbon melts, and a diamond begins to form around the seed crystal.

After this, the diamond is then exposed to a mixture of gases in a sealed chamber. These gases, like methane and hydrogen, break down and release carbon atoms that build up around the diamond seed crystal.

These diamonds are often more yellow in colour than natural ones and they may contain metallic inclusions, which is a sign that they were made in the lab. Ultimately, they are the most beautiful and affordable alternative to mined diamonds, but they don’t have the same long-term value as their natural counterparts.

 

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