FOR 2000 YEARS THE ONLY SOURCE FOR DIAMONDS WAS INDIA. Today, diamonds can be found in about 35 countries. South Africa, Botswana and Russia are currently major producers of gem quality rough while Australia supplies much of the industrial quality rough. More recently Canada has become a major supplier and is currently the third largest producer in the world. Other sources include Brazil, China and India and the United States.
Lab Grown Diamond Types
THE ABILITY TO SYNTHESIZE DIAMONDS IN THE LABORATORY HAS BEEN AROUND SINCE THE EARLY 1950’S It has only been in more recent years that laboratory grown diamonds have been available in the marketplace. A laboratory grown (also called synthetic, man-made or above earth) diamond IS a diamond. A lab grown diamond has the same chemical composition, crystal structure, optical and physical properties as a natural diamond – the difference being that a lab grown diamond is created by technological processes in a laboratory vs a natural geological process deep within the earth.
Synthetic diamonds are commonly produced using two methods – high pressure, high temperature (HTHP) or chemical vapor deposition (CVD). Both HTHP and CVD synthetic diamonds are nearly identical to natural diamonds – so much so that separating the two can only be accomplished at a major gemological laboratory such as the Gemological Institute of American or the American Gem Society.
Laboratory Grown diamonds are not for everyone; they do, however, appeal to consumers looking for a non-conflict, environmentally friendly alternative to natural diamonds as well as those who find cost as a consideration.
A laboratory-created diamond should be disclosed as such at the time of sale and noted as such on the sales receipt. In addition, a laboratory-grown diamond should have a tiny inscription on the girdle of the gem (edge) identifying it as a man-made gem.
Imitation, Simulated or Lab Grown
An imitation or simulated diamond is NOT a diamond – it is a natural or man- made synthetic gem that LOOKS like a diamond.
Two of the most common simulated diamonds are Moissanite and Cubic Zirconia. Both these gems are inexpensive alternatives to a diamond.
Moissanite – is a very rare naturally occurring mineral (silicon carbide) first discovered in 1893. Since 1993 synthetic Moissanite has been marketed as a diamond simulant and is often confused with synthetic or laboratory grown diamonds.
Cubic Zirconia or CZ – has been around since the late 1970s and is synthetic zirconium oxide. The mineral baddeleyite is the natural form of zirconium oxide and was discovered in the early 1890s. Cubic Zirconia is well recognized as a very inexpensive diamond simulant.
Both Moissanite and CZ have optical properties similar to diamonds so they look like diamonds – both have been sold by claiming that they are so good they will fool a jeweler. In reality, most of the time, a well-trained jeweler can spot both as imitations.
White Sapphire, White Topaz or White Zircon as well as a few others.
All are colorless occurring, natural gemstone alternatives to a diamond.
Diamonds are valued not only for their beauty but also their purity. Many diamonds are not enhanced; however, there are some enhancements worth noting. Diamonds can sometimes have dark unattractive inclusions which are visible to the eye. These dark inclusions can be removed with a small laser beam, and then the resulting cavity can be filled with clear resins or a glass hard material to make it nearly invisible. This same method is also used to fill inclusions that brake to the surface of the diamond, making them less noticeable. The treatment is stable, unless the diamond is exposed to extreme heat or specific chemicals, which can remove the filling.
Any diamond enhancement should be disclosed at the time of sale and noted as enhanced on the sales receipt.
Some diamond’s colors can also be improved by using a new high-pressure high-temperature treatment. The treatment is called HPHT and must be disclosed by a tiny inscription on the girdle of the diamond (edge). This treatment should also be disclosed at the time of sale and on the sales receipt.
Diamonds can also be colored to many different hues by using extreme heat and irradiation. This enhancement is permanent. Most black diamonds are enhanced with this method.
It is also important to note that all these enhancements affect the value of the diamond and should be disclosed at the time of sale and on the sales receipt.
It is diamonds durability and beauty that makes them an ideal symbol of lasting love. The famous advertising tag line “A diamond is forever” says it all. A diamond is the only gem that will look as good in 100 years as it does today, and a 100-year-old diamond looks as good today as it did when it was first presented.
With a little bit of care a diamond will radiate its beauty thru the generations.
Diamonds are safe for steam and ultrasonic cleaners, they can be cleaned with commercial jewelry cleaner or mild soap and water along with an old toothbrush to clean the setting as well. Always rinse and dry your jewelry after cleaning.
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