In essence, synthetic diamonds are unnatural diamonds – not fake, but not real either. Grown in a laboratory, synthetic diamonds have the same chemical make-up, crystal structure and physical composition as natural ones.
Synthetic diamonds were originally produced for industrial purposes from the 50s onwards; by the 80s, they were being produced in commercial quantities and now match their natural counterparts in terms of appearance, size and colour.
Synthetic diamonds are made using one of two processes, the first of which is high pressure, high temperature (HPHT). Grown in a laboratory, the same conditions are copied as found when growing natural diamonds, although their shapes are very different to naturally-occurring diamonds. The second and newer technique is chemical vapour deposition (CVD), which combines moderate temperatures and very low pressure in a vacuum chamber.
Most people prefer diamond engagement rings from a specialist such as comparethediamond.com/diamond-engagement-rings to be the real deal; however, synthetic ones are now becoming more and more popular, rivalling the real thing in terms of size and colour.
It is worth doing your research when deciding whether to buy a natural or synthetic diamond ring. The facts make for some interesting reading; for example, a natural diamond can take billions of years to form, whilst its synthetic cousin takes a matter of weeks.
In the eye of the beholder
Synthetic diamonds, like natural diamonds, are hard-wearing and come in a range of colours and qualities. They also have the same brightness.
Natural and synthetic diamonds both have the same properties; therefore, it can be extremely hard to identify which is which. To the untrained eye, this is nigh on impossible. The only sure-fire way to find out is in a gemological laboratory, which will have the equipment to carry out foolproof testing.
Importantly, both natural and synthetic diamonds undergo the same grading process: colourless, near colourless, faint, very light and light.
Buying a diamond – whether natural or synthetic – is a very personal experience. Symbolising love and commitment, it depends entirely on the situation and what is important to both the purchaser and the recipient. Our advice is simple: you only need to know whether what you are buying is natural or synthetic. The rest, as they say, is history.