Natural Diamonds vs Lab-Grown Diamonds — what you should know


The most well-known and important gem is the diamond. Since ancient times, this gem has been highly valued for its great hardness and special virtues. In ancient Greece, they were called “Adamas”, which means indomitable and invincible, this term is the genesis of its current denomination. Originally, they were used in their raw state and their cut started in the 14th century.

Nowadays, diamond appreciation is based on four factors: weight, color, purity and cut. Diamonds have multiple functions, not only in jewelry but also at an industrial level. Those that do not meet the qualities of the jewelry industry are intended for industrial uses, more specifically, for technical purposes of abrasion.

What is the main component of diamonds?

A diamond is composed mostly of carbon, although it may, to a lesser extent, contain come amounts of other elements such as nitrogen, boron and hydrogen. Its crystallization is cubic, although there are also rhombododecahedra or they have curvatures. They are usually light yellow or colorless, although there are also those with light shades of blue, green, orange, pink, or even brown. They are excellent conductors of heat and are extremely hard it is the hardest gemstone of all.

Where do diamonds come from?

Diamonds were created in the upper layer of the Earth’s mantle, in peridotite and eclogite rocks at a temperature of 1000 – 1600 ºC (at a depth of about 200 km) at a pressure of 45-60 Kbar. The oldest diamonds were formed about 3.3 billion years ago and the most modern ones about 900 million years ago.

What is the origin of synthetic diamonds?

They were created in 1954 by General Electric using a method of crystallization of carbon in diamonds at high pressures and temperatures. This method uses pressures of 50-60 Kbar, and temperatures higher than those of the original diamond, from 1300 – 1600ºC, recreating temperatures and conditions similar to those of the earth’s mantle. The method is known as HPHT, the diamonds created were not of high quality, so they were intended for abrasive uses.

It was in 1970, when the first synthetic diamonds were obtained for use in jewelry, diamonds weighing up to one carat were obtained. At first, synthetic diamonds were more expensive than natural diamonds, as the costs were higher. In 1990, the first companies that marketed this type of diamonds appeared, hence, due to technology, costs became much cheaper.

Are there other diamond imitations?

Yes, there are, and it is obvious because of its value. Besides, in 1976, cubic zirconium oxide (zirconite), one of the best imitations of diamond, was created. More recently, another great imitation of diamond, moissanite, another great imitation of diamond has been created.

It is easy to know whether a zirconite is a diamond or not, due to its thermal conductivity, which is lower than the diamond. Moissanite, on the other hand, has a thermal conductivity similar to one of the diamonds, which complicates its detection.

How to regulate the use of diamonds?

Certain institutions have been created to guarantee the correct denomination of diamonds, such as the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), America Gem Society (AGS) or the Spanish Gemological Institute (IGE), which are internationally recognized.

What does a ‘blood diamond’ mean?

This type of diamond is extracted from countries where there are armed conflicts, violations and infringements of the most fundamental human rights to finance the costs of war. In 2003, the United Nations, in collaboration with the diamond industry, developed the Kimberley Process Act. In addition to this process, a list is established of both producer countries committed to the Kimberley Process and those that reject it.

The Kimberly Process targets rough diamonds; diamonds would be synonymous with exploitation and human rights abuses without them.

How does Tracemark complement the Kimberley Process?

Tracemark is the only company in the world capable of providing complete and independent certified traceability for a piece of jewelry from its origin to the final consumer. Herein lies the importance of our brand, we bring the mine closer to the end customer and reveal the history of each of our pieces. Each step in the supply chain of a piece of jewelry is audited, so we certify that our pieces are sustainable and respectful with our workers and the environment.

For Tracemark, the possibility of even one worker in the supply chain being under conditions that infringe on his or her freedoms as an individual is not an option. We also take care to request documentation of every step through which our raw materials flow so that a third party audits and verifies the authenticity of all of the above.

Without respect for rights and sustainability in a few years, there will be no jewelry at all, the jewelry industry will be sustainable or it will not be.