What Are CVD Diamonds?
Natural diamonds are formed far below the surface of the earth over billions of years. CVD diamonds are grown in labs in a much shorter period of time, using a process known as Chemical Vapour Deposition. They’re certainly making their presence felt in diamond industry trends.
Are CVD Diamonds Real Diamonds?
You might be wondering if “lab-grown” is another way of saying “synthetic.” The short answer is “yes,” but that doesn’t mean a CVD diamond isn’t a real diamond. They might not be made in the same way as natural diamonds, but everything about them, from their atomic structure to their fire and brilliance, is identical to stones that formed deep underground over millennia.
In 2018, the United States Federal Trade Commission ruled that synthetic diamonds such as CVD and natural diamonds are the same thing – real diamonds! In fact, most trained jewellers cannot tell the difference between naturally formed and CVD diamonds.
How CVD Diamonds Are Made
CVD diamonds are made by placing a thin sliver of diamond (usually synthetic) known as a “seed diamond” in a sealed chamber that’s usually heated to approximately 800°C. A carbon-rich mixture of hydrogen and methane is then pumped into the chamber.
The gases are ionized, which breaks down their molecular bonds. The pure carbon released by the process attaches to the seed diamond and forms atomic bonds with it. This process continues over a few weeks, resulting in a larger diamond identical to those formed underground. It takes approximately one month to grow a one-carat CVD diamond.
How To Identify A CVD Diamond
There’s no way to tell the difference between a natural and CVD diamond by sight. Instead, jewellers and diamond specialists need to use special tools to identify lab-grown gems. Jewellers and gemologists need to examine the diamond under a microscope or subject it to various tests in the lab.
When purchasing a diamond, it’s best to ask the jeweller or dealer if it was sourced naturally or grown in a lab.
How Much Do CVD Diamonds Cost
CVD diamonds usually cost between 20% and 30% less than naturally sourced diamonds. You could pay the same amount of money for a 2-carat CVD as you would for a 1.5-carat mined diamond. The reasons for the differences in price include the enormous costs involved in mining, the mined diamond supply chain, and mined diamond price manipulation.
What Is The Future Trend Of CVD Diamonds?
CVD diamonds might not be as widely available as natural mined diamonds at the moment, but that looks set to change in the future. According to MarketWatch, the global CVD diamond market was valued at US$374.4 million in 2019. The market is expected to grow to $568.9 million by the end of 2026, growing at a compound annual growth rate of 7.7% over the next five years.
One of the biggest drivers of the predicted growth is the growing interest in lab-grown diamonds among Millennials and Generation Z. As many as 70% of Millennials consider purchasing a lab-grown diamond when looking at engagement rings. Their interest in CVD diamonds and diamond alternatives is due to the environmental and social impact of mined diamonds.