Lab Grown Diamonds
WHAT ARE LABORATORY-GROWN DIAMONDS?
Gem-quality laboratory-grown diamonds (LGDs) have been on the market for several decades. For over 60 years, LGDs have been grown and used for industrial purposes. Today, gem-quality LGDs are growing as a product category available to consumers. LGDs are created with special equipment in a laboratory. They have essentially the same optical, chemical and physical properties as mined diamonds. There are currently two methods for producing lab-grown diamonds: a high-pressure, high-temperature (HPHT) process and chemical vapor deposition (CVD). WHAT’S INSIDE 1 What Are Lab-Grown 2 FTC Definition 3 Risk to Jewelers 4 Best Practices 6 Detection Devices 7 Key Messages Exclusively for JA Members: Laboratory-Grown Diamonds Guide | 2 Lab-grown diamonds cannot be distinguished from natural diamonds by a simple visual inspection. However, LGDs do have certain features that help distinguish them when inspected under magnification or using ultraviolet light:
- Lab-grown diamonds often have metallic inclusions and scattered pinpoints that appear differently than in natural diamonds. There may be an absence of natural inclusions. A microscope under high power can reveal these characteristics.
- Microscopy can also reveal linear growth patterns that are not characteristic of natural diamonds.
- Using ultraviolet light, some lab-grown diamonds exhibit a glow after the light is turned off (phosphorescence).
- Review this GIA article for more information on identifying LGDs.
FTC DEFINITION & TERMINOLOGY GUIDELINES
According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Guides for the Jewelry, Precious Metals and Pewter Industries, the word “diamond” can refer to both a diamond that has been created by nature and mined by man and a laboratory-grown diamond, since a laboratorygrown diamond has the same “optical, physical and chemical properties as mined diamonds.” When describing and marketing lab-grown diamond products, the FTC requires producers to “clearly and conspicuously convey that the product is not a mined stone.” Allowed terminology: laboratory-grown laboratory-created “[manufacturer’s name]-created” but not “[manufacturer’s name]-grown” words or phrases of like meaning, such as lab-grown and lab-created “cultured” can be used if the term is immediately accompanied by the words above, such as laboratory-grown, laboratory-created, or other terms of like meaning Not Recommended: “synthetic,” because many consumers mistakenly believe “synthetic” means an artificial product such as cubic zirconia, which lacks a diamond’s optical, physical and chemical properties. A note on natural, mined diamonds: A diamond sourced from nature and not treated needs no qualifying language and can be referred to as “diamond” or “natural diamond” according to the FTC.