As one of the toughest minerals on earth, mined diamonds are synonymous with hardness and durability. As the old saying goes, “diamonds are forever…” and that is quite right. But how do their lab-grown counterparts fare? Aside from the method in which they are made, lab diamonds have a lot in common with the earth-mined kind, from their same luscious and sparkling exterior to their carbon structures.
The similarities between mined diamonds and lab-grown diamonds are so prominent that it has resulted in many shoppers choosing lab-grown diamond jewellery over traditionally mined diamond jewellery. With more and more people becoming conscious about their purchases, including jewellery, lab-grown diamonds are a new favourite. Especially seeing as lab-grown diamonds often provide a bigger, brighter and more eco-friendly sparkle at a more affordable price point.
But are lab-grown diamonds as strong as real diamonds?
- Are Lab Grown Diamonds as Strong as Real Diamonds
- How Are Lab Grown Diamonds Made?
- Can Lab Created Diamonds Get Scratched?
- Are Simulated Diamonds As Strong As Lab-Grown Diamonds
Are Lab Grown Diamonds As Strong As Real Diamonds?
With lab-grown diamonds harbouring the same physical and chemical properties as real diamonds, it will be no surprise that they also share the same level of toughness and durability. Diamonds rank tenth on the Mohs Scale of Hardness, a chart developed by Gemologist, Friedrich Mohs, to help determine the strength of gemstones and minerals.
Lab-grown diamonds share the same position as mined diamonds. So, are lab grown diamonds as strong as real diamonds? Yes, lab-grown diamonds are indeed as strong as real diamonds. Lab-grown diamonds are so tough in fact, that they are often used in industrial settings on the end of saw blades to cut through other hard objects like glass, concrete, brick, tile, asphalt and more.
The strength of the lab-grown diamond is largely due to its chemical composition. With a structure that consists of carbon, a mineral that is five times stronger than steel and twice as stiff, lab-grown diamonds have an incredibly sturdy structure that helps them withstand the rigours of almost anything. Starting out as nothing more than a tiny sliver of a mined diamond a.k.a a diamond seed, how lab-created diamonds are made reveals a lot about their durability and why they are so strong.
How Are Lab-Grown Diamonds Made?
Two methods are used to create lab-grown diamonds and form them into their strong structures:
- High Pressure, High Temperature (HPHT)
- Chemical Vapor Deposition
High Pressure, High Temperature (HPHT)
One of the more traditional methods used to produce these lab-grown beauties, HPHT essentially mimics the conditions in which a naturally-mined diamond is produced. Most people know that mined diamonds form over millions of years in the earth’s upper mantle after a piece of carbon is exposed to extreme pressure and temperatures. After some time, that intense heat and pressure causes the carbon to become crystalised, resulting in a diamond.
With HPHT, a small diamond seed is placed into a piece of carbon and then put into a specialised machine such as a belt press, split-sphere (BARs) press or a cubic press. Once placed in the machine, the piece of carbon with the tiny seed inside is exposed to temperatures upwards of 1,400 degrees Celsius and a pressure of around 680 thousand kilograms per square inch. These temperatures combined with the pressure begin to melt away the carbon and form a diamond shape over the initial seed.
Developed back in the early 1950s, HPHT lab-grown diamonds tend to be the cheapest kind of diamond, as their similar conditions to mined diamonds often mean there are a lot more imperfections and inclusions in the stone.
Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD)
The newer of the two methods used to create man-made diamonds, Chemical Vapor Deposition is what is used to produce our Luminesce Lab-Grown Diamonds. Chemical Vapor Deposition or CVD involves placing the diamond seed into a specialised sealed chamber and exposing it to gases that are rich in carbon such as methane and hydrogen. At the same time, the seed is exposed to temperatures reaching around 760 degrees celsius.
Following this, the gases are ionised and melted into plasma using machinery that releases magnetic waves like a microwave. These magnetic waves break down the molecular structure of the gases and allow the carbon to stick to the seed and thus, a diamond is then born. Further heat and radiation can then be added to enhance the appearance and colour of the stone. This is how coloured diamonds are formed, including our mesmerising lab-created pink diamonds.
Can Lab-Created Diamonds Get Scratched?
While diamonds have garnered a reputation as one of the toughest minerals, much like other gemstones, diamonds are somewhat vulnerable to scratching. There’s a catch, though. Diamonds can only become scratched due to other diamonds. Given their hardness, it is diamonds themselves that can do the damage. Though it is rare, diamonds that are placed too close together can scratch one another.
As lab-created diamonds are produced with the same chemical formations as naturally-mined diamonds, it is the same for them. If you have multiple diamonds in your collection, there are ways that you can prevent them from scratching one another. This includes keeping your diamond jewellery separate from the other diamond jewellery in your collection when storing it.
The best way to do this is by investing in a tiered jewellery box that allows you to separate your pieces according to type, including all the pairs of diamond earrings you may have. You should also consider removing any diamond rings, bracelets and necklaces when undertaking any rigorous tasks such as housework or gardening. This will prevent the stones in your diamond jewellery from clanging together.
But while lab-created diamonds and mined diamonds are relatively safe from scratches (except when facing up against other diamonds), the same cannot be said for chipping. Chipping occurs on diamonds when they receive a hard blow, such as being dropped from up high or being thrown from a significant distance.
Chipping on diamonds can only really occur when areas of the diamond are slightly weaker due to their carbon atoms not being tightly bonded enough during the diamond’s formulation process. Although extremely rare, these areas of the diamond are referred to as cleavage planes and are one of the very few sources of damage to diamonds. Due to the relatively controlled environment in which lab-created diamonds are formed under the watchful eye of diamond experts with years of experience, it is very rare for a lab-grown diamond to have cleavage planes.
Are Simulant Diamonds As Strong As Real Diamonds?
Simulant diamonds like cubic zirconia and moissanite are not real diamonds. This means they do not bear the same tough exterior as lab-created or mined diamonds. Cubic zirconia stones have a chemical structure consisting of zirconium oxide, while moissanite is made from a mix of silicon and pure carbon. This means that their structure is significantly weaker than diamonds and therefore don’t rank as high as diamonds on the Mohs Scale of Hardness. Because of this, simulant diamonds are prone to breakage and scratching while real diamonds aren’t (except if it’s from other diamonds, of course).
When looking at simulant diamonds compared to real diamonds, it doesn’t take much to break or scratch zirconia or moissanite stones. If you were to accidentally drop your moissanite or zirconia jewellery onto a hard surface such as concrete, steel or brick, your jewellery is more than likely to become scratched, chipped or cracked from the fall. Zirconia and moissanite are also more prone to becoming scratched by gemstones that are significantly tougher than they are such as lab-grown and mined diamonds, emeralds, sapphires, topaz as well as amethyst. Simulant diamonds are also more susceptible to cloudiness and discolouring as zirconia stones are oxygen-deficient and therefore will go cloudy when absorbing oxygen in the atmosphere.
Now that you know whether lab-grown diamonds are as strong as real diamonds, discover more interesting facts about lab-grown diamonds, including how lab-grown diamonds are made, the cost of a lab-grown diamond as well as why lab-grown diamonds are the smart shopping choice.
Be sure to check out the full Luminesce range online, where you will find an exquisite range of timeless lab grown diamond engagement rings, earrings, pendants, bracelets and more. Sparkle now and pay later with Afterpay.