Natural or Synthetic Diamonds: Which is better?


While most of the mined diamond is industrial grade, only 3% of this is used in industry as synthetic diamonds cover the remaining 97%. This is because they can be manufactured in large quantities and tailored to various applications. About 70% of mined diamonds are traded for use in different industries. These diamonds are known as bort and possess many great qualities. Diamonds are the hardest materials in existence and have a very high thermal conductivity. They can be used in drilling, grinding, polishing and cutting and are also considered cost-effective abrasives as they cut faster and last longer.

Diamonds possess optical, thermal, chemical and electrical properties, making them ideal for wire drawing and manufacturing of lenses for laser radiation equipment, among many other applications.

On the other hand, manufactured diamonds are forged by Chemical Vapor Deposition or CVD in short. Another process referred to as high pressure and high temperature technology or (“HPHT”) can also be used. The CVD method exposes graphite and carbon to low temperature and pressure, resulting in synthetic diamonds while the same result in achieved using the HPHT method, albeit with high temperature and high pressure, akin to the natural factors that creates diamonds in the earth. It is important to note that because of its lower cost, many manufacturers of synthetic diamonds have shifted to the CVD process. The CVD method also makes colorless diamonds that are of very high quality and look very much like natural gemstones, with some being traded in the market.

As synthetic diamonds are virtually identical to mined diamonds, the jewelry enterprise faces both ethical and legal problems, especially if synthetic diamonds are made to look like natural gemstones, as a way to pass them off as real diamonds. To tackle this problem, a Fourier Transform Infrared spectroscopy (“FITR”) can be used by prospective sellers and buyers as a way to know if diamonds are synthetic or natural, and their types. To confirm that a stone is actually a real diamond, the infrared spectrum of a diamond may be used as it is unique to each stone. The infrared peaks showing the existence of other elements may as well be used to prove that a stone is synthetic. Major consumers of industrial diamonds include machinery manufacturing, construction, stone cutting and polishing, computer chip production and the mining industries.

Although, synthetic diamonds may have improved in quality, they are still no match to natural gemstones in the jewelry enterprise, meaning they are also nowhere near as popular as “real industrial diamonds.” This is despite their advantages over natural diamonds, including their better environmental and ethical profile and their affordability due to low prices.

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