Laboratory-grown diamonds have the same chemical and physical properties as natural diamonds. That is, they have the same crystal carbon structure, they have the same hardness, and they refract light in the same way. Sometimes you will see them called man-made diamonds, lab-created diamonds, or engineered diamonds, and this is in reference to the main thing that differentiates natural and lab grown diamonds: how the diamonds are made. How Are Lab Grown Diamonds Made? Whereas natural diamonds take millions of years to form under the Earth's crust, lab grown diamonds can be created within weeks in a lab due to advanced technologies that duplicate the conditions that produce natural diamonds. There are two main methods to create diamonds in a lab. 1. Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD) This method requires temperatures of 700-1300°C and moderate pressure. A vacuum chamber with a diamond seed is filled with carbonous gas, allowing the carbon to deposit onto the diamond seed. The longer the gas is pumped into the vacuum chamber, the larger the diamond will grow. 2. High Pressure High Temperature (HPHT) This method requires higher temperatures, 1300-1600°C, and high pressure 5-6 GPa. These conditions are similar to what is required to create natural diamonds within the Earth. HPHT can also be used to "treat" lower-quality diamonds, both natural and lab-grown, to improve their color. Is It Possible to Identify Lab Grown Diamonds from Natural Diamonds? Lab grown diamonds are nearly impossible to distinguish from natural diamonds, even using a jeweler's loupe. Lab grown diamonds may contain different trace elements than natural diamonds, though these generally do not affect the appearance of the stone. The only way to definitively distinguish between lab grown and natural diamonds is by using specialized equipment. Advantages of Lab Grown Diamonds There are many benefits to choosing a lab-grown diamond. Although they have the same physical and chemical characteristics as natural diamonds, they are created in a highly controlled lab environment rather than by chance in nature. This means that they are less likely to have defects, they are available in colors that are rarely found in nature, and they can have brighter quality and higher purity at lower prices. They are also more environmentally friendly, are not derived from a potentially morally dubious mine, and are traceable back to their creation to ensure that your piece is from a high-quality source. If you're still not sure whether a lab grown diamond is the best fit for you, reach out to the team at your local jewelers. They have the expertise to help you choose the best diamond for your budget and preferences.