Although it seems that synthetic (man-made) diamonds are new on the scene, they have been around for decades. In fact, three scientists in early 20th century claimed to have manufactured diamonds. General Electric was the first to synthesize diamonds with proven success in the early 1950’s. Since then, synthetic diamonds have been used for industrial purposes (think, diamond coated saw blades and drill bits). More recently, a division of DeBeers, Element Six manufactures synthetic diamonds for numerous applications in industries ranging from Aerospace to Healthcare, asserting, “Synthetic diamond’s molecular structure makes it the world’s most versatile supermaterial.”
In the world of jewelry, diamond simulants, such as cubic zirconia and moissanite, have been popular choices for those who want the look of diamond. However, simulants can be scratched and chipped much easier than diamond. Diamond is simply superior in every way. Because synthetic diamonds are the same physically and chemically as natural, earth-mined diamonds, they, too, are superior to all other simulants. This is great news for those who want the look of natural diamond along with unrivaled wearability.
The challenge for lab-grown diamond producers has been the ability to grow a colorless, gem quality diamond of a popular size at a reasonable price. As with any newly developing technology, advances in both quality and size as well as managing the cost of producing these diamonds so that they are available to the consumer at competitive prices has been a long journey. That journey is now starting to pay off as synthetic diamond producers are able to make 1-carat plus size diamonds available in relatively steady supply.
Consumers’ feedback shows that the appeal to purchasing a synthetic diamond is that they avoid the possibility of buying a conflict diamond. And price is attractive as well. Industry insiders report some worry from diamond wholesalers and retailers that synthetic diamonds will be the end of the natural diamond market. But, as history has shown, synthetic rubies, sapphires and emeralds have been on the market for about a century, yet the naturals rival their lab-grown counterparts today.
Would you consider purchasing a synthetic diamond?