A synthetic diamond is an actual diamond, but it is produced via chemical or physical processes in a controlled environment, such as a laboratory. It is similar to a natural diamond in that it consists of a three-dimensional carbon crystal. Artificial diamonds, cultured diamonds, and manufactured diamonds are some of the other names to which synthetic diamonds are referred. A synthetic diamond is not the same as a cubic zirconia, which is an example of an imitation diamond.
A synthetic diamond is a real diamond. However, it can be created above the ground in less time than it takes for a naturally occurring diamond to be created below the earth’s surface via high temperatures and extreme pressure.
How does one determine whether they are looking at a synthetic or a natural diamond? Look at the inclusions. According to The Free Dictionary located online, the definition of inclusion as it relates to geology is a solid, liquid or gaseous foreign body enclosed in a mineral or rock. A natural diamond will have some mineral grains inside of the stone.
However, synthetic diamonds will not have the mineral inclusions. If you are looking at a synthetic diamond, there will be variations in the color of the stone. The best way to see this is under magnification. The variations will appear as curving bands in the stone. If the stone is a natural diamond, the bands will appear in concentric hexagons. In addition, a synthetic diamond may appear flawless since it is created under precise conditions. A naturally occurring diamond will have imperfections since it occurs without any human intervention. A reputable jeweler would be able to show you the differences between a synthetic diamond and a natural diamond.
Whether you purchase a natural diamond that has been mined, or a synthetic diamond created in a laboratory, most people agree that they do have the same chemical, optical and physical qualities. However, there are differences between the two that are important to note. Synthetic diamonds produced in a lab (unless you purchase one from a company called Gemesis) are usually one carat or smaller in size. Also, you’ve heard of the 4 C’s (cut, clarity, carat weight and color) when considering the purchase of a stone, right? With the purchase of a synthetic diamond, a certificate that certifies these four attributes cannot be obtained. However, you can obtain an identification report that reveals that the stone is indeed synthetic, the carat weight of the stone, its measurements and its transparency.
Another way to tell if you are holding a synthetic diamond or a natural diamond is the weight of the stone. A synthetic stone will typically weigh more than a natural one.
Pricing of a synthetic diamond compared to a natural diamond is not always less, but can be around 15% less than the price of a natural diamond. As a rule though, real diamonds will cost more than their synthetic counterparts. Remember, if the price seems too good to be true, it probably is!
There doesn’t seem to be such a thing as a “bad” synthetic diamond, but there are a few things to remember. Ask the jeweler with whom you are dealing if the stone you are considering is a natural or a synthetic diamond. This will determine how valuable it is at the time of purchase and in later years. A synthetic diamond isn’t considered rare like a natural diamond and it won’t hold its value like a natural diamond.
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