Basically, there are two types of diamonds, Type 1a or Type 2a. 98% of the earth-mined diamonds are Type 1a. Type 2a are much rarer as they are a purer Diamond. Only 2% of earth-mined diamonds fall into this superior, most sought after and prized category. (Type 2a earth-mined diamonds never make it to a jeweller’s shop as they are snatched up by those at the top of the diamond industry for celebrities and royalty due to their rarity and steep price). Lab grown diamonds are ALL Type 2a. This makes our diamonds whiter, brighter, and stronger than most mined diamonds. The purity of lab grown diamonds also means they have high electrical and thermal conductivity, causing a problem for unwary jewellers who might test with a standard diamond tester which will give a false reading. Since earth mined and lab grown diamonds are the same, this makes it almost impossible to separate one from the other. However, we can test them for the different types, and if it is a Type 2a diamond, that allows us to be almost 100% sure it is a Laboratory Grown Diamond. It wouldn’t be sensible to try to sell a Type 2a earth mined as a Type 2a lab grown, and get a lower price, when it could be sold for more.
Types of Diamonds
Diamonds are arranged in different groups, a bit like blood types, they are still diamonds, but have slight differences depending on other impurities present such as nitrogen (which gives a diamond a yellow tint) or boron (which gives a diamond a blue colour). These impurities, or lack of, create different types such as Type 1a, or Type 2a. The purest diamonds, without any other impurities are Type 2a. We can’t tell the difference between an earth mined diamond or a lab grown as they are the same, but we can differentiate between the different types of diamonds. The way we test to see if a diamond is earth mined or lab grown, is by detecting which ‘type’ of diamond it is. If we can identify it is a Type2a, we can virtually guarantee it is a lab grown, as only 2% of all earth mined are Type 2a, and Type 2a earth mined, never make it to market, (they are too valuable and sought after), usually claimed by celebrities and those in the ‘know’. Being electrically conductive, lab grown diamonds are perfect for the 21st century electronic industry, and the high thermal conductivity is perfect for dissipating heat in electrical components.
It might seem strange that common pencil lead is the same mineral as diamond, i.e., carbon, the fourth most common element on earth. Their different characteristics lie in the way the atoms bond together. In pencil lead, the atoms are arranged in a two-dimensional linear pattern, connected in layers with weak bonds between the layers, allowing them to be easily broken. In diamond, the atoms are in a three-dimensional cubic arrangement with strong bonds between the layers. Diamonds are one of the hardest substances on earth but are also brittle and can be quite easily chipped, or cleaved. There is a famous story about a well-known diamantaire who had the job of breaking down one of the largest rough diamonds ever found. He spent weeks examining the rough gemstone, making endless calculations and marks on it, using his experience as to where to cleave the diamond without damaging or quite possibly shattering it. Finally, after making a small groove, he placed a hard steel blade in the groove and hit it with the exact pressure needed, and it cleaved perfectly in two. He promptly fainted with relief from the stress! As diamonds are the hardest substance known, how can they possibly be cut or polished? It is because diamonds are harder in some directions than others. So, by having a polishing blade or wheel with tiny crystals of diamonds embedded in the edge of the wheel, it means there will always be some crystals aligned in such a way that they are harder than the piece being cut. This allows the rough diamond to be shaped. These days, cutters use lasers to cut the crystal, considerably speeding up the process and are cut and polished by automatic machines, so human diamantaires are often not needed.
The market for second-hand Lab Grown Diamonds
As Lab grown diamonds are still new to the market and jewellers don’t have the market knowledge on what to pay for them, it can be difficult to sell second-hand Laboratory Grown Diamonds through traditional outlets. At Adamastar we are prepared to purchase any second-hand lab grown diamond with similar provisos as would be in the case of an earth mined purchase. The price offered for the purchase of a lab created diamond would be at a similar discount to what they would receive if selling a second-hand mined diamond. Naturally the diamond would have to be in good condition and not damaged or chipped. We would also insist that the original laser inscribed number is still visible on the girdle as an identification. It is worth noting that both grown & mined diamonds do not increase in value over time, relative to inflation, and should not be considered an investment. Adamastar Diamonds suggests that you view your lab diamond purchase as a luxury, discretionary purchase, not an investment. You should never expect to be able to sell your diamond for more or the same of what you originally paid for it at retail, whether natural or lab grown, relative to inflation. This is because retailers who buy your diamond from you must be able to re-sell that stone for a profit.