LAB GROWN DIAMONDS
Do the origins of a diamond matter? Today, we have come to the point where diamonds can be created in laboratories, appearing practically indistinguishable from mined diamonds. Synthetically created diamonds, also known as engineered, cultured or artificial diamonds are grown in highly controlled laboratory environments; with the use of advanced technological procedures that duplicate the conditions under which diamonds naturally form. While the term synthetic is often associated with imitation products, artificial diamonds are made of the same material as real diamonds – highly organized pure carbon. When diamond was discovered to be pure carbon in 1797, there were many attempts to convert different cheap forms of carbon into a diamond. The first success came almost a century later. The initial method involved heating charcoal with iron inside a carbon crucible in a furnace up to 3500°C. The molten iron was then rapidly cooled by immersion in water. The contraction from the cooling supposedly generated the high pressure required to produce a diamond.
In the 1940s, the United States, Sweden and the Soviet Union began their systematic research into growing diamonds using CVD and HPHT processes. As we already know, like coal or graphite, diamond consists of carbon. The main difference is the arrangement of carbon atoms in the material. Unfortunately, graphite is a more stable carbon form than diamond; therefore, diamonds are much rarer in nature. To transform graphite into diamond, HPHT treatment is applied, by means of which diamond can be developed into a more stable carbon all type. HPHT puts a pure, solid carbon source under high pressure and high temperature. with a catalyst, the pressurized and heated carbon crystallizes into diamond. HPHT treatment is also used to improve clarity of diamonds.