Understanding the difference between earth-extracted diamonds and laboratory grown diamonds

The vast human & environmental toll of earth-extracted diamonds

Displacement of wildlife, land and native communities, Disruption of species' natural habitats. Air & ground water pollution. Climate change. Soil erosion, Deforestation, Eco destruction, Modern slavery.

The benefits of laboratory grown diamonds

Giving no mining is required no land is displaced - lab grown diamonds are Ethically sourced - no modern slavery, Socially responsible - no conflicts funded, Eco-friendly - no air and ground water polluted, no native communities displaced, no wildlife and animals harmed.

“Mined diamonds are a gift of nature whereas manmade diamonds are a gift of human wisdom.”

Lin Qiang Vice-President, World Federation of Diamond Bourses

What are lab-grown diamonds?

Just like mined diamonds, lab diamonds also have the same crystal structure, chemical composition, and physical and optical properties – carbon atoms arranged in a proper cubic crystal structure. Our CVD Lab Diamonds are always indistinguishable from natural, mined diamonds of equivalent quality and pass the diamond tester pen test, unlike HPHT lab-grown diamonds.

Given that the growth process of our CVD lab diamonds is similar to the natural diamond growth, there are still quite some variations when it comes to the color and clarity of lab-created diamonds. In simpler words, not all lab-grown diamonds are colorless or flawless. As a matter of fact, lab-created diamonds are actually graded on the exact same criteria as mined diamonds (the Four C’s) by the very same independent and high-class gemological laboratories that grade earth-extracted diamonds.

Unlike those cheap, easy-to-make diamond simulants such as cubic zirconia and moissanite, lab diamonds offer the same high-quality as natural earth mined diamonds. They have the exact same scintillation, fire, flash, and brilliance as mined, natural diamonds. Additionally, Our Lab-Originated Pure Diamonds do not fade or change color over time.

ILANIS proudly offers high-quality, only CVD laboratory-grown diamonds in our fine jewelry to our valuable clients. Compared to natural mined diamonds, our diamonds are sustainably cultured and have far fewer impurities and defects. This is the primary reason why our diamonds are always brighter, whiter, and obviously much stronger than the enormous majority of mined diamonds available.

How is a diamond grown?

In a laboratory by replicating those exact same conditions within the earth in which carbon crystallizes into diamond.

To date, the ability to grow diamonds is considered to be the most precise and challenging manufacturing technique that has ever been achieved by humans. Most might not know the fact that it took almost 60 years of intense effort to develop that precision to grow gemstone-quality diamonds.

As of today, there are two primary methods of growing diamond gemstones: HPHT (High Pressure-High Temperature) & CVD (Chemical Vapor Deposition).

The HPHT method

The HPHT Diamond Growth Process occurs within giant pressure cookers.

The process mainly involves the use of small diamond seeds which are placed into a growth cell while inserting graphite on top of the diamond seeds. Further, the pressure cooker is heated to a whopping 1500° C and pressurized to roughly around 70,000 times the pressure present at sea level.

At such an extreme temperature and pressure, the graphite in the growth cell basically melts down into liquid carbon, which is then carefully cooled into the strongest possible form of carbon: a diamond crystal!


The CVD method

The CVD (Chemical Vapor Deposition) method is way different from HPHT. Here, diamond growth occurs within vacuum plasma reactors. Very thin diamond plates are then placed into a growth cell, and hydrocarbon gas is slowly injected into the reactor. Very high-power microwaves break apart those molecules of the gas, and the carbon atoms then precipitate onto those diamond plates, vertically growing the diamond slowly atom by atom.

These resulting CVD diamonds are often subjected to extreme pressure & conditions in order to “compress” the diamond properly. This additional step plays a significant role in improving the overall quality of the diamond crystal, giving it a better color and light performance.

“(Lab-created diamonds) are not fakes. They’re not cubic zirconias. They have all the same physical and chemical properties of a mined diamond.”

Matthew Hall, Director, Gemological Institute of America (GIA)

The Most Common Misconceptions

There are just so many “incorrect facts” that are actively promoted by the mined diamond industry in order to create that “fear,” uncertainty, and doubt about lab-made diamonds. Given below are some of the most common misconceptions about Lab-Grown Diamonds:


Misconception #1: Lab Diamonds are Always Cheap to Manufacture

This is probably the biggest misconception of all, and is completely false in all ways. As a matter of fact, De Beers has self-reported that it costs them around $104 per carat of diamonds just to mine them out of the Earth as of 2015. On the other hand, the actual marginal cost to grow each diamond in a proper laboratory is many times the cost for even De Beers and other major mining operations to dig diamonds out of the Earth, even if we all ignore the hidden fixed costs that a laboratory has to face when it comes to buying expensive lab equipment and machinery.

Regardless of the origin of the diamond either being mined or lab-grown, the cost to cut it, polish it, and grade it remains the same.


Misconception #2: All Lab Diamonds are Colorless and Flawless

The process to grow pure diamonds in a proper laboratory is highly similar to the geological growth process. The exact same types of inclusions and imperfections present in mined, natural diamonds will also occur in lab-made diamonds. If a diamond crystal is grown too fast, it could have some minuscule cracks (feathers) in it. Besides, it can also have small inclusions of trace elements or other growth defects that can basically cause the diamond to be near-colorless.

Lab-Grown Diamonds are always graded on the exact same criteria as mined diamonds and are graded by the exact same independent gemological laboratories.


Misconception #3: Lab Diamonds will Flood the Market

Roughly 25 million carats of diamond gemstones are mined, cut, and polished yearly, with billions of carats more in the existing mines, and with companies. De Beers currently estimates its diamond reserves to be roughly around a whopping 479 Million Carats. To basically even think of building a production facility to generate just 1% of that current mined supply would easily cost hundreds of millions of dollars worth of capital expenditure and tens of millions of dollars every year just to basically run it properly. It would take a lot more than many years before finally, lab diamonds are anything but an extremely small portion of this enormous diamond market.


Misconception #4: Mined Diamonds Suffer Reduced Prices because of Lab Diamonds

This super-popular misconception hinges on mainly three aspects: –


  1. Diamonds are extremely rare (read below to know).
  2. There will be enough diamonds grown in the labs around the world to ruin the rarity and value of diamonds (see misconception #3).
  3. It is far cheaper to just grow diamonds than to actually mine them (see misconception #1).

Even though mined fancy colored diamonds and big-size investment diamonds are as rare as hen’s teeth, there are actually over one billion carats of diamond gemstones owned globally. Many experts firmly believe that the Baby Boomer Generation in the US (United States) owns roughly over 500 Million carats of diamond gemstones which they plan to resell or will be inherited within the next few decades. However, we strongly think that this is not any type of threat to the rarity of diamonds. According to us, The actual threat to the value of diamonds is the process of reselling the used ones, again and again.


Misconception #5: The Diamond Industry Only Exists to Make Gemstones

It is definitely not true that the industry exists just for the sake of making diamond gemstones. As a matter of fact, the primary reason that the diamond industry exists in today’s world is not to just grow diamond gemstones, but instead to grow diamonds for industrial computational, scientific applications, and health care.

“The ruling is simplicity itself. A diamond is a diamond no matter whether it is grown in a lab or comes out of the ground.
Lab grown diamonds are diamonds.”

Federal Trade Commission, August 2018