Laboratory-grown diamonds and gemstones are the perfect alternatives to naturally mined stones. They can make the perfect, and affordable addition to your jewelry line - even sterling silver collections!
What are laboratory-grown stones?
Laboratory-grown stones are diamonds and gemstones created in a laboratory mimicking natural growing conditions. These exact processes can vary, but there are 2 main ones: High-Pressure High Temperature (HPHT) and Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD). The "ingredients" for diamonds or gemstones are placed in a crucible and left to run through one of these processes until crystals have formed. This can take as little as 10 days or as long as a year! They have the same physical, chemical, and visual properties as a mined stone and to all but the highly trained eye will look no different than a mined stone. The main difference is usually seen in the price and/or color intensity. For some stones, the price difference between laboratory-grown and mined stones could be significant.
Creating laboratory-grown diamonds
There are 2 popular processes to create laboratory-grown diamonds: High-Pressure High Temperature (HPHT) and Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD). HPHT uses extremely high amounts of pressure and extremely high temperatures to grow diamond crystals from diamond seeds. This combination of pressure and temperature mimics the Earth's internal processes that create natural mined diamonds by allowing molten materials to dissolve into a high purity carbon source. This carbon is then attached to the diamond seeds and precipitates a large diamond.
In the CVD process, scientists expose methane gas to high-energy plasma radiation. This energy breaks the atomic bonds of the methane (CH4) and allows the carbon to attach to the diamond seeds. In this method, diamond growth occurs under much lower pressures and over larger areas.
Halstead now offers beautiful laboratory-grown diamonds from .015 Ct to .10 Ct in the GHSI color and clarity range. Halstead's diamonds are created under the HPHT method.
Comparison: CZ, lab-grown, mined natural, moissanite
The most popular alternatives to a mined diamond are laboratory-grown, cubic zirconia, and moissanite. When compared to CZs and moissanite, it's easy to see that laboratory-grown diamonds and natural mined diamonds are nearly indistinguishable.
Creating laboratory-grown colored stones
Scientists create laboratory-grown gemstones a little differently. They start with a naturally mined slice of crystal placed in a crucible chamber. A liquid mix of ingredients to feed crystal growth is put in the chamber then subjected to extremely high temperatures of at least 1,100 degrees Celsius. These chambers are then sealed for 6 months to a year under controlled conditions meant to simulate the conditions the stone grows in inside the Earth. Barring any lengthy loss of power, the gemstone crystals are nearly identical to one found in nature; sometimes they may even have better color saturation.
Halstead now offers laboratory-grown gemstones in Alexandrite, Sapphire (blue, yellow, white, and Padparadscha), Emerald, and Ruby.