Lab-Grown Diamonds: They’re Real, and They’re Spectacular – by Stephanie Talmadge (GQ Magazine – October 16, 2018)

Getting engaged just got 30% cheaper.

It’s rare that an imitation, Frankensteined into existence, is anything more than a watered-down, flimsy version of the original. Real Rolexes and Folexes. Charcuterie and “ham”-and-“cheese” Lunchables. Coke and Diet Coke. (Fight me, Diet Coke fans.) But when it comes to diamonds—items we’ve historically been conditioned to think of as exceptionally precious—that might not be the case.

Lab-grown diamonds are exactly what they sound like: diamonds that were manufactured in a lab, rather than mined from the earth. These aren’t knockoffs; they’re not cubic zirconia; they’re not Swarovski crystals.

They’re bona fide diamonds—chemically identical to their earthen counterparts, so declared by the FTC this summer, except they cost about 30% less than mined diamonds. Excellent news if you’re shopping for a diamond…and less excellent if you’re selling them.

While companies have been using this process since the mid-1900s, the original created diamonds were a pumpkinish color. Only in the last few years have scientists figured out how to produce the white diamonds with which we’re most familiar. There are two approaches to creating them: One utilizes extreme pressure and temperature, mimicking the organic process, to dissolve carbon into a diamond “seed,” and another that resembles 3D-printing, where carbon is layered on top of the seed.

Then, the seeds are placed in a fancy diamond-cooking microwave, where carbon gas is injected and sticks to the seed, slowing growing it. Perhaps unsurprisingly, lab-grown diamonds are a matter of contention in the gem world.

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