Diamonds grown in laboratories are created by two methods: High Pressure High Temperature (HPHT) and Chemical Vapour Deposition (CVD). What are these two methods?
HPHT: This method replicates the process through which diamonds get formed beneath the earth, over thousands of years. Pressures of 5-6 GPa and temperatures of 1400-1600ºC form diamonds.
When lab-grown diamonds were first discovered in 1956, the HPHT method was used to produce them. Since then , scientists and innovators had been trying to find new ways to create diamonds. It was only in the 1980s that the CVD process for creating diamonds was fully established and realized. Some of the names of the first creators of CVD diamonds are: W.G. Eversole, Derjaguin, and J. C. Angus.
According to an article by Robert Linares, Integrated Diamond Technologies, LLC, on the GIA (Gemological Institute of America) website, “the earliest CVD growth chambers enabled growth on only one seed at a time. Although reactor seed capacity is a closely guarded industrial secret, some CVD manufacturing systems are reportedly capable of growing 50 or more seeds simultaneously. That number is expected to increase.” Improved CVD technique: Another report by the GIA reveals that CVD technology has enhanced over the years, and innovators are rapidly improving techniques to produce large, high-quality, near-colourless diamonds. In 2016, a 3-carat, the largest CVD synthetic diamond, was tested by GIA, after which a 5-carat diamond was tested.” The ability to minimize, control, and manipulate defects in CVD diamond has grown rapidly over the last 20 years.
The CVD process of producing diamonds, like the name suggests, includes chemicals – a mixture of hydrocarbon gas and hydrogen. This mixture is introduced into the diamond’s growing temperature at low pressure. Here, some of the hydrogen gets converted to atomic hydrogen, which aids in the formation of the diamond. With the help of heat, atomic hydrogen reacts with the hydrocarbon gas to form pure carbon, which is the diamond.
The CVD process has a number of advantages over the HPHT process for producing diamonds. Here are some:
Higher flexibility of CVD diamond size and shape.
The addition of gases in this process can reduce impurities in diamonds.
The ability to grow diamond over large areas and on various substrates.
Better control over the chemical impurities and thus the properties of the diamond.
CVD Diamonds Price: They are less expensive than mined diamonds. They are as real as the mined diamonds are.
Conflict-Free Diamonds: CVD diamonds are conflict-free. Socially and politically conscious buyers must buy only these lab-grown diamonds.
Eco-Friendly Diamonds: CVD diamonds are environmentally safe as they are produced in a safe laboratory environment.
HPHT or CVD, buyers are now leaning towards buying lab-created carbon diamonds as opposed to mined diamonds. Lab-created diamonds give buyers the possibility of creating their own unique diamond. From size, shape, cutting, polishing, and designing your piece of jewellery, you can do it all with the HPHT or CVD-created lab-grown diamonds. Who would have thought this would be possible ? And because it is possible, why go for the super-expensive, conflict-mined diamonds?
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