Although synthetic diamonds are created in the lab, they essentially have the same chemical composition and hardness of naturally-formed diamonds. Only a trained diamond grader can tell the difference between a lab-grown diamond and a real one.
Synthetic diamonds are categorized by their production process as high-pressure, high-temperature (HPHT) or chemical vapor deposition (CVD). Any of these processes leads to a beautiful and durable diamond. Lab-created stones can be made in as many colors as naturally-formed diamonds. The popularity of synthetics is increasing, but they still make up a small portion of the marketplace.
By buying synthetic diamonds, consumers can rest assured that the stones were not connected with an unethical mining practice. Consumers also benefit because they are less costly than natural diamonds. For example, jewelry with synthetic stones cost about $400 per carat on up, compared to thousands of dollars for natural diamonds.
The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) offers a variety of reports to confirm the authenticity of synthetic diamonds. Its Synthetic Diamond Grading Report for synthetic diamonds weighing .15 carats or more includes the same information found in the GIA’s reports on natural diamonds.
When buying a diamond for your next special occasion, keep in mind all your options: natural, simulant or synthetic. To ensure the validity of your purchase, ask your jeweler for a detailed receipt that includes your name and purchase price and breaks down the piece’s 4 Cs (carat weight, color, clarity and cut), especially if the jeweler does not give you a GIA grading report. It’s also important to provide this information in a timely manner to your insurance company to make sure your new treasure is appropriately covered.
Marissa Holland, AJP (GIA), is a portfolio underwriter for Chubb Personal Risk Services.