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Natural Diamond vs. Man-Made Diamond

Natural diamond


Natural diamonds are formed at high pressure and high-temperature conditions over one to three billion years. A naturally procured diamond is one of the hardest natural known substances on the planet. It is prepared in underground conditions and is further manufactured and processed to convert into a valuable jewel or is used for industrial purposes. 


Natural diamonds have been used for extensive sale and purchase in historic times, making their pricing more stable over time. Natural diamonds possess a rare and unprecedented charm that is not found in other elements. A natural diamond’s value is determined by how unique, rare and brilliant it is. 


Man-made diamond


A man-made diamond on the other hand is produced by a manufacturing process compared to a natural diamond which is produced by a geological process. A man-made diamond is known by several terms: for instance synthetic diamonds and laboratory-built diamonds. It is used in different applications; like telecommunications, optics and more. 


Man-made diamonds are the same material as natural diamonds: pure carbon, crystallized in a 3-dimensional form. Synthetic diamonds can be subjected to different techniques and procedures to transform them to a desired look or colour. Man-made diamonds are easily produced in comparison to natural diamonds which take billions of years to produce. 


Technicians and researchers constantly monitor temperature and pressure to provide a perfect environment for synthetic diamonds to grow. These exquisite pieces are produced in certified labs and are graded to the same standards as natural diamonds. Each synthetic diamond is graded using cut, clarity, carat and colour. 


Man-made diamonds are costly because highly trained staff, machinery and technology are used to manufacture them. Earlier synthetic diamonds produced weighed a carat or less, but with development in technology stones with higher carat size are available in the market. 


On the other hand, lab-grown diamonds are not rigorously graded the way natural diamonds are graded. They are pure, steady in colour and are found in abundance. Buying man-made diamonds is equivalent to supporting research, technology and material sciences. Man-made diamonds have lesser strain in their crystal structure and have fewer defects. 


Different ways of producing man-made diamonds


Man-made diamonds are produced in one of the two major ways- HPHT (high pressure, high temperature) or CVD (chemical vapor deposition). HPHT makes use of high temperatures to convert graphite into diamond whereas CVD utilizes energized gases onto a substrate in a vacuum chamber. 


Which one do you think is the best?


As mentioned above, both natural and man-made diamonds have similar physical and other properties, one can distinguish between the two varieties with the help of specialized equipment and trained professionals. The major difference between the two varieties is the presence of nitrogen in them. Natural diamonds consist of tiny amounts of nitrogen whereas synthetic diamonds lack nitrogenous compounds in them. Both natural and synthetic diamonds have the same strength, hardness and durability. 


Lab built diamonds offer a real substitute to the traditional diamond market. Some people refrain from buying man-made diamonds because they lack the lustre of natural diamonds. The visual appeal of natural diamonds is not found in synthetic diamonds that are produced widely in factories. 


Also, diamonds produced in factories are not eco-friendly. Many potential customers refrain from buying synthetic diamonds as they are produced using harmful gases like methane. The argument further reaches a new height when many people claim that natural diamonds are produced by extensive mining which is not environmentally friendly either. 


A major argument arises whether synthetic diamonds have a good resale value? 


Despite all the chaos many expert jewellers claim that synthetic diamonds have the same resale value as a proportion of the original sale price. Diamonds should be treated as a piece of luxury and not an investment. Both natural and synthetic diamonds should be considered as a wearable luxury and a symbol of true love and care. 


The only reason why people buy synthetic diamonds is because they are little inexpensive as compared to naturally procured diamonds. 


The jewellery industry is not just limited to synthetic diamonds, but one can locate synthetic gemstones and rubies in the jewellery market. Laboratory-based precious stones are chemically, physically and optically identical to their natural counterparts. Both natural and synthetic diamonds come with diamond certifications. 


The Bottom Line:


There is no right or wrong answer when choosing between a synthetic and a natural diamond. One must carefully maintain a balance between quality, finances, preferences, resale value and usage before choosing the diamond.