A “synthetic” diamond is not a fake diamond.
Did you know a synthetic diamond is a real diamond – it’s just man-made in a lab – and can actually have better clarity and color than a naturally occurring diamond?
No, right? That’s because DeBeers doesn’t want you to know that.
It’s because synthetic diamonds can be offered at cheaper prices than naturally occurring diamonds. By anywhere from 20% to 30% cheaper. When you don’t have to pay the overhead of mining raw diamonds and shipping them around the world, you can charge less. You can also make sure no one was harmed in their cultivation, and the money derived from their sales isn’t going to fund any anti-government, blood thirsty military groups. See the film “Blood Diamond” for a colorful (red) expounding on this.
Synthetic, or Lab-Created, or Cultured, or “____” brand-made diamonds are created through two main means. There’s HPHT (high pressure, high temperature) and CVD (chemical vapor deposition). Recent developments in diamond manufacturing include the “detonation of explosives” and “ultrasound activation,” but the end result of all of these is a real diamond, just as, if not more, sparkling than a naturally mined one. Lab born diamonds are created in cleaner conditions than natural ones (which are spawned in the ground), hence why man-made diamonds have fewer inclusions (which are mineral deposits).
There are two “drawbacks” to cultured diamonds. The first is that synthetic white diamonds do not come in massive sizes (yet, anyway). Roughly up to 1.5 carats is what you can get, but surely technology will soon catch up with the demand for more gargantuan diamonds. The other negative associated with synthetics is that they…just…aren’t…”real.” Since they can be created in a lab setting, in merely a few days, they somehow lose that element of mystique and romance intrinsic in natural diamonds. Millions of years of history resting right on your finger.
But this speaks to something greater, doesn’t it? If you are offered a Louis Vitton bag with scratches on it, versus a replica of that same bag, made of the identical materials, that is internally and externally flawless, you’d still chose the original, wouldn’t you? You’d pay more for the bag that’s actually of a lesser quality. It’s because the marketing is so strong, because you identify with the brand so much, you esteem the “original” as such a status symbol, that you view anything that isn’t exactly that as inferior somehow.
While synthetic diamonds only make up about 2% of the world’s gem quality diamonds (synthetics are used, conversely, in 98% of the world’s industrial diamond purposes), they are sure to ‘grow’ in demand once diamond mining sites are sapped of their riches and production inevitably slows down. The price of naturally occurring diamonds will then likely skyrocket, and people may change their tune about the more affordable synthetic option.