Saturday, December 28, 2013

Synthetic Diamonds

The closest synthetic approximation to diamond is a man-made diamond. Man-made diamonds can be made of pure carbon.
The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) recognizes these as real diamonds from a compositional perspective. But, the man-made diamonds don't have the rich geological history that natural diamonds do. Laboratories simulate the heat and pressure from the Earth's mantle that create natural diamonds. For some, diamonds come down to a matter of time and money: days versus millions of years, thousands of dollars versus tens of thousands of dollars or more.

If a uniquely coloured, relatively inexpensive diamond is desired, man-made ones in shades of orange, yellow, pink and blue are readily available. Finding a large diamond will prove a greater challenge -- most man-made diamonds weigh less than one carat. To prevent retailers from passing off man-made diamonds as natural ones, the GIA is selling machines that will help jewelers easily distinguish between the two.

It may come as no surprise that the developer behind these machines is none other than the king of the natural diamond industry: De Beers.