NATURAL VS MAN-MADE DIAMONDS
Updated: Oct 12, 2020
There are many qualities to consider when it comes to diamonds — the color, the clarity, the cut. Even whether or not it is natural or manmade.
So, what’s the difference? While natural diamonds are formed beneath the earth’s crust over billions of years, synthetic diamonds, also known as man-made diamonds, are grown in laboratories. It can be difficult to tell them apart to the naked, untrained eye, but it’s important to know the difference as synthetic diamonds are typically considered less valuable than the natural ones.
At IO Collective, we prefer to use unenhanced, ethically-sourced natural resources in our pieces whenever possible. We love the uniqueness of natural gemstones as each stone has imperfections and inclusions that are created in the earth.
Nature has always been a source of inspiration for IO Collective jewelry. Using a combination of earthly elements, like metals and natural gemstones, allows us to create one-of-a-kind pieces that tell a story.
Diamonds are often associated with doing well under pressure. That’s because natural diamonds are formed beneath the earth’s crust over billions of years, thanks to a combination of pressure and high temperatures.
Diamond crystals are formed by carbon atoms that bond very strongly under immense pressure and high temperatures. This is why diamonds are considered one of the hardest natural substances. Diamonds rank as a 10 on the Mohs Scale — the highest level of hardness for gems and minerals.
Natural diamonds are grown roughly 100 miles below the earth’s surface and are brought to the surface by volcanic eruptions. Like most gemstones, diamonds have inclusions (small imperfections that occur organically.) They’re often cut into specific shapes when being used in jewelry.
Another term used to describe different gemstones is “genuine.” Genuine stones come from the earth, but have been treated to enhance their appearance, and therefore cannot be considered “natural.”
Man-made diamonds, also known as synthetic diamonds or laboratory-grown diamonds, are grown in a controlled laboratory environment.
According to the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), synthetic diamonds use essentially the same properties as natural diamonds and can be made in two different ways.
High-pressure, high temperature (HPHT) diamonds are grown in a lab that mimics high pressure and temperature environment in which natural diamonds are formed. Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD) diamonds are formed by breaking down the molecules in a carbon-rich gas, which are then placed on diamond seeds.
While man-made diamonds have many similar properties to natural diamonds, they take a fraction of the time to grow. In some cases, less than a month.
They also tend to grow in different shapes, which is not noticeable once they are cut. For example, CVD diamonds are more square-shaped in their uncut state. However, these different growth patterns also affect the fluorescent patterns in the gemstones. This is one way that professionals can tell them apart, even after being cut.
WHICH IS BETTER—NATURAL OR MAN-MADE?
Whether you choose a natural or man-made diamond is entirely up to you!
It is important to remember that natural diamonds are considered more valuable and are likely to appreciate over time. Plus, there’s something undeniably enchanting about the uniqueness of a natural diamond, formed by the earth over billions of years. A natural diamond is the way to go if you’re interested in bringing that earthly and symbolic meaning to your jewelry.
Nature has always been a source of inspiration for IO Collective jewelry. We love the uniqueness of natural gemstones for their imperfections and inclusions that are created in the natural world. Using a combination of earthly elements, like metals and natural gemstones, allows us to create one-of-a-kind pieces that tell a story.
Shop our diamond jewelry pieces here.