Diamonds were created by Mother Nature billions of years ago. Now a lab in China has set a record and possibly perfected the process of creating large gem quality diamonds by man, in a laboratory, that is 100% identical to natural diamonds!
Technology has impacted every process in our lives, and sensitivity to environmental issues surrounding diamond mining is a key concern around industrialized nations of the world.
Natural diamonds have been sought after since ancient times, revered for their hardness and adorned by humans throughout history . Diamond is the hardest mineral on earth with a 10 out of 10 on the Mohs hardness scale, and when they are polished to specific proportions, they emit a mesmerizing light and scintillation, known as “fire”.
Now a company in China has broken the record for the largest certified man made diamond so far…12.75 carats, graded by The International Gemological Institute’s (IGI) Hong Kong laboratory. The lab-grown stone, cut from a 46.20-carat rough, has F color and VVS2 clarity, and is type IIa.
This is a game changer for the industry and just the tip of the iceberg with hundreds of companies around the world racing to compete in this unknown space, niched in between synthetic copies like Cubic Zirconia and natural diamonds.
We asked a veteran diamond expert if he could tell the difference between a natural and a lab grown diamond. “Lab grown diamonds are identical to natural diamonds. It is virtually impossible to differentiate between the two!” said Ron Cohen, CEO of Clean Diamond Inc. in Beverly Hills. “The industry has been resisting lab grown for years because of the tremendous investment of the trade in natural diamonds. That is changing rapidly!”, he added. Ron Cohen created international acclaim as the creator and owner of the record-breaking 84.37 carat D color Flawless diamond, sold at Sotheby’s Geneva in 2007 for $ 16.1 Million. The record diamond was purchased by Guess? Jeans mogul Georges Marciano and was named the “Chloe Diamond” after his daughter.
Even DeBeers, the “Mother of Natural Diamonds” has entered the game with their brand Lightbox, recently announcing that Blue Nile will distribute it’s Lightbox created diamond brand thru Blue Nile’s website and retail points. Blue Nile has grown into the largest online retailer of independently graded diamonds and fine jewelry in the country since it’s launch in 1999.
Last month, DeBeers opened a new 60,000 square foot $94 Million dollar facility in Portland Oregon, reportedly capable of producing 200,000 carats of lab-grown diamonds annually.
Some companies that manufacture and sell natural diamonds have made the transition to lab grown, like DeBeers, but strongly differentiate the product from their existing business by creating a new brand and story, essentially becoming their own competition.
“The future of Lab Grown diamonds is yet to be predicted”, said Kobi S, a Los Angeles diamond wholesaler. “Most dealers and stores I work with don’t touch them, they are afraid it will cannibalize their existing diamond business.”