Synthetic diamonds

What to know and what to expect

20 June 2016|Diamonds Investment

“Even there are many painters’ imitations of the original famous painting of Van Gogh in the market, the original piece still worth millions”.Anonymous

What are synthetic diamonds?

Synthetic diamonds are also known as lab grown diamonds. This means the process of Mother Nature was imitated in order to grow diamonds in a lab that are as high-quality as natural gems. As Business Insider mentions in ‘science of growing diamonds’, the most common techniques for ‘growing’ diamonds are known as high-pressure high-temperature (HPHT) and chemical vapor deposition (CVD).

In HPHT, a carbon seed crystal is placed inside a device called a press with a metal solvent and subjected to immense pressures at temperatures around 1,400 degrees Celsius (about 2,250 degrees Fahrenheit), which melts the metal. The molten metal dissolves the carbon crystal, and it solidifies into a diamond.It’s like growing a plant: you need a seed from another plant for a new one to grow.

Chemical vapor deposition (CVD) is a method by which diamonds can be grown from a hydrocarbon gas mixture. The gas mixture is deposited on a surface layer-by-layer. This process usually takes place at about 800 degrees Celsius (1,470 degrees Fahrenheit).

Many people have trouble understanding the process of ‘lab-grown diamonds’and easily think these diamonds are fake. Although it may be hard to believe, these stones are optically, chemically and physically identical to natural, mined diamonds. Seems like Mother Nature has some serious competition…or not?

What is the difference between synthetic and natural diamonds?

Other than the fact that the certificate of a synthetic diamond will indicate that it’s man made, there are other ways to see the difference between synthetic and natural diamonds.

First of all, gemologist labs can tell which diamonds are lab grown and which ones are natural by using their specialized tools. Although this is becoming more and more difficult, as the quality of synthetic diamonds is increasing every day. It’s impossible to tell that a synthetic diamond is artificial just by looking at it with the naked eye, or even with a loop. One needs special equipment to establish with certainty whether a stone is lab-grown.

Another indication for a synthetic diamond is its price. The prices are approximately 15 to 30 percent lower than the prices of natural diamonds. As you see, the difference in price is not very big but this could change throughout time.

Why do they make synthetic diamonds?

Synthetic diamonds are used in 99% of cases for industrial purpose only.  In the lab, they can add certain elements to the diamond in order to make it perfect for technological applications. For example, the element ‘boron’ gets electricity to flow through the diamond. Normally, silicon is used for that purpose but a diamond can switch much higher frequencies and voltages. Therefore, a diamonds is more energy sufficient and an essential component to use in electronic devices instead of silicon.

Another opportunity for the synthetic diamond industry is the declining mining production worldwide. We’re already starting to see the gap between production and demand getting wider. Man-made diamonds could fill the hole in the market because of their lower price and reputation as the environmentally friendly, conflict-free, ethical and socially responsible choice in diamonds.

What happens to the natural, mined diamonds?

Before people choose a diamond, they must not forget that mined diamonds have many advantages too:

The quote in the beginning of the article says it all: “Even there are many painters’ imitations of the original famous painting of Van Gogh in the market, the original piece still worth millions” (-Anonymous). Natural diamonds are an established product which can be used not only as jewelry, but also as an investment. When the Stock Exchange is tumbling and the Real Estate prices are too high, diamonds are becoming more and more popular as an alternative investment. In contrast to natural diamond buyers, the customers of synthetic diamond dealers will be rather disappointed when they realize they don’t get the savings they’re expecting from a factory-made product.

Further, the ethical arguments can be countered. Diamonds have done many good things for countries like Botswana. They represent development and growth and are responsible for the majority of Botswana’s and many other countries’ export revenue.

Finally, the man-made diamonds still aren’t that cheap. As mentioned before, the prices of synthetic diamonds are only 15 to 30 percent lower. But falling prices, and the ensuing free-for-all in the market, are inevitable. As a result, the advantages of a lower price will be invalid as synthetic diamonds might be considered as a cheap product in the future.

So investing in natural diamonds still seems a smarter idea, as they are an established product and will not drop in value in the future.

Van Eyck Jewelry hosts many presentations about investment in diamonds in different forums.If you would like to know more details about or next seminar, don’t hesitate to email us at info@vaneyck-jewelry.com.

 

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