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Five Essential Lab-Grown Diamond Truths

October 24, 2018  |  Diamond Producers Association

Laboratory-grown diamonds have essentially the
same physical and chemical characteristics as
natural diamonds, but they are not identical,
and they are easily detected.
Laboratory-grown diamonds are produced in 2-3 weeks using two
different methods: High Pressure High Temperature (HPHT) and
Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD). Each method leaves growth
marks and telltale signs that are distinctive of an artificially produced
diamond, this is how they can be identified using professional
instruments. Moreover, most synthetic diamonds need to
be color treated to correct distortions created during the industrial
production process.

2. Laboratory-grown diamonds are produced in a matter of weeks, primarily in factories situated outside of the US, mostly in Asia.
Most laboratory-grown diamonds are not produced in the US but
in China, India, and Singapore. There is a lot of investment in new
production capacity in Asia today and the share of Asian producers
is likely to increase further. Laboratory-grown diamond producers
often make claims about their product being “eco-friendly,”
“transparent,” and “sourced with integrity.” However, these claims
are usually vague and unsubstantiated and the origin of the product
is almost never disclosed.

Retail price continues to erode as the costs of
production decline.

Production costs of laboratory-grown diamonds are driven almost entirely
by electricity usage, which is why some producers move to regions
where electricity costs are low. This explains why over time, as
technology improves, production costs will continue to decline. In the
case of color gemstones like rubies, sapphires or emeralds, the price
of synthetic stones is about 10% of that of the natural stone.
Also important to know: due to economies of scale, the larger the
synthetic diamond produced, the lower the cost per carat – a stark
contrast to natural gemstones.

The carbon emissions for a one carat synthetic
diamond are similar to, and sometimes greater
than, those for an equivalent natural diamond.

When making comparisons with natural diamonds, synthetic diamond
manufacturers often quote theoretical carbon emissions for
synthetic diamonds that assume that they use 100% renewable energy.
In reality, synthetic diamond production today primarily uses
electricity generated by fossil fuels, mostly in China, India and Singapore.
Rigorous comparisons require case by case analysis, depending
on producer and country grid emission factors. Taking the
example of a 1-ct synthetic diamond produced in Singapore using the
Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD) method where a significant volume
of the CVD synthetic diamonds are produced, the carbon emission
per polished carat is approximately 40% higher than for natural polished

A large majority of consumers do not consider
laboratory-grown diamonds produced in a factory to be
real diamonds because they are not formed naturally
in the Earth.

A Harris poll from May 2018 shows that 68% of US consumers believe that
a laboratory-grown diamond produced in a factory is not a “real diamond.”
Only 16% of respondents believe they are. Other surveys show that as they
learn about the lack of inherent value of synthetic diamonds, fewer consumers
consider them to celebrate important moments in their lives, even if a
growing proportion consider them for fast fashion jewelry.

68% of US consumers believe that
a laboratory-grown diamond
produced in a factory is
not a “real diamond.”

You can download the DPA’s original PDF here.


Five Essential Lab-Grown Diamond Truths

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