Diamonds Are Still Forever, But So Is Science

Published: 2023-03-24 00:00:00

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In a previous article, we covered the diamond industry and how it rose from nothing to a multibillion-dollar industry where not only are they bought to express affection but also to express wealth. With a "price glow-up" that's just as intense as university tuition over the years, diamonds some people have adopted the "fake it until you make it" methodology and either worse glass (which even when cut doesn't quite have the diamond shine to it) or cubic zirconia (which also doesn't quite shine like a diamond but is significantly less likely to break than glass) until now.

Science has done it again and lab created stones are just as popular since they are identical to naturally grown stones and sell for 5 to 10 times less than a natural stone of the same shape, clarity, cut, and carat. How long have lab created gemstones been a thing? Well, the first lab created diamond was made in 1954 by General Electric (GE). That sounds odd until you realize that small diamonds were used in a variety of electronics at that time such as radios. So no, GE hadn't quite hit the jackpot and wasn't running rampant in the 1950s "printing money" from the lab. That sounds great for the gem industry, except the quality and size of diamond used for appliances does not meet expectations for sale.

It wasn't until 1971 that gem quality diamonds had been created. Although it was an awesome discovery, at the time, using the high temperature and pressure method to produce gemstone quality diamonds was too expensive to compete with naturally grown diamonds. In addition, the first gemstone quality lab grown diamonds were often yellow and would not sell for a high price according to the clarity standard, which is white (colorless). Does a little failure ever stop scientists once they are on to something? Absolutely not. So, roughly 20 years later, labs in the US, Russia, and China had all been able to create diamonds in a lab setting that could exceed natural diamonds based on gemstone quality guidelines.

The jump where lab grown stones became more common happened after late 1980s and early 1990s; it was close to the mid 2000s that lab created stones started to grow in popularity. Of course, now, they're much more common than they were in previous years, especially since no children were harmed in the harvesting of lab grown diamonds. There are a variety of stones that can be grown from rubies (even pigeon blood rubies) to moissanite (originally from an asteroid). The more you know!

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