How to Create Perfect Diamonds in a Microwave, explained

Blood diamonds, which are mined in conflict zones and used to finance armed conflict and civil war, make up one in every four diamonds sold globally, according to recent statistics.
Additionally, it’s becoming more and more challenging for those who want to avoid such a product to distinguish between a clean and a filthy diamond.

As a result, the market for lab-produced diamonds is consistently growing, offering a less expensive, more socially and environmentally responsible substitute that is just as stunning as its natural version.

If a diamond comes from above ground or below ground, does it really matter to a modern, young consumer?

Bloomberg Businessweek cites Chaim Even-Zohar of Tacy, an Israeli diamond consulting firm

They are not like those cheap, lab-grown imitation diamonds like cubic zirconia since they have the exact same physical structure and chemical composition as a diamond that has been mined.

The process includes using a microwave to add various concentrations of a carbon-heavy gas—methane is most usually used—to a tiny diamond chip known as a carbon seed.

The gas combination is heated to extremely high temperatures in a microwave to produce a plasma ball. The carbon atoms crystallize as the gas in this plasma ball breaks down, building up on the diamond seed and causing it to grow.

The process can produce a marketable diamond in as little as 10 weeks, but it seems to work so well that scientists require a machine to tell lab-grown diamonds from naturally occurring ones found in mines or riverbeds.

Synthetic diamonds currently make up a relatively modest percentage of the $80 billion global diamond market. In 2014, 360,000 carats of lab-grown diamonds were purportedly produced, compared to 146 million carats of real diamonds that were mined, according to Bloomberg.

However, if the findings of a recent survey are to be accepted, this is going to drastically change. A natural diamond is preferred by fewer than half of North American consumers between the ages of 18 and 35.Lab-created diamonds are expected to be widely available by 2026, with Wal-Mart and Warren Buffett’s Helzberg Diamonds already carrying the synthetic kinds.

The mining companies aren’t exactly eager to give up their market share. In July, the International Organization for Standardization ruled that their diamonds could only ever be referred to as “synthetic,” “lab-grown,” or “lab-created,” never as “genuine,” giving them a big victory over the laboratories.

In order to maintain the “romance” of a stone produced from nature, manufacturers of natural diamonds will emphasize the unique past of each stone rather than the “cookie-cutter” appearance of lab-grown diamonds.

A 1-carat synthetic diamond can cost about $6,000 in a New York jewelry store, compared to $10,000 for a similarly sized natural stone, according to Bloomberg. However, with price tags that are as little as half those of natural diamonds and no ethical issues, the demand will undoubtedly be present in some capacity in the future.

The most prolific manufacturer of synthetic diamonds in the world, according to sources, is Singapore’s IIA Technologies. According to Vishal Mehta, CEO of IIA Technologies, “we are building a new sector.”

If a diamond comes from above ground or below ground, does it really matter to a modern, young consumer? That has turned into a problem.”

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