At Odyssey Jewellery in Richmond Hill, Ontario we are thrilled to be offering our clients cutting-edge technology when it comes to jewellery. We are leaders in Richmond Hill and GTA for lab grown diamonds and have worked with countless customers to create the perfect piece of jewellery using these incredible gems. This new diamond technology is the latest in the world of diamonds and is an excellent alternative to mined diamonds.
Why would people be interested in a source for diamonds other than those from a mine? Many people want their jewellery to contain diamonds free from conflict and from mined sources. The ethical issues around diamonds arose nearly 30 years ago in the early 1990s. During this time the UN began using the term ‘blood diamonds’ for diamonds mined in areas of civil war; often rough diamonds were smuggled to neighboring regions where they found their way to the regular diamond market. Often the proceeds from these diamonds funded violent rebel groups and were used to buy weapons and fund civil wars. The main areas, although not exclusive, where this occurred were in central Africa and the diamond-rich areas of Angola, Sierra Leone and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Many of the civil wars that were funded or partially funded by the revenue from ‘blood diamonds’ often took a terrible toll on the innocent civilian population in these areas. Therefore people started to move away from diamonds from these regions and it exposed the dark side of the mined diamond industry.
Another ethical issue surrounding diamond mining is the impact on the environment. Diamond mining can cause air pollution and harm water sources close to the mines; this subsequently impacts the local wildlife and habitat. Even closed mines can negatively affect regions they operated in for decades after closure. There is also the human toll, it has been discovered that many diamond mines underpay their staff and miners often work in very dangerous and unstable conditions. While the diamond industry has made huge strides in regulating practices in relation to the environment and human rights they still have a long way to go.
Lab Grown Diamonds
This is where lab grown diamonds come into play. Diamonds created in a lab setting are essentially ‘grown’ using new technology that replicates the conditions of a natural diamond from a mine. While some people question the authenticity of these diamonds they are not fake nor are they cubic zirconia. Recent advances in technology have allowed jewellers to create man-made diamonds that are of the exact same structure chemically as those found in mines. The final assurance that these diamonds are ‘real’ is that they are graded by the Gemological Institute of America since 2007.
However, lab-created diamonds are inherently and significantly less detrimental to the environment as it takes considerably less energy to grow a diamond in a lab than it does to retrieve it out of the earth. In fact, it is actually in the interest of the jewellers to minimize the amount of energy they use in the process to save money and decrease their costs.
How are Lab Grown Diamonds Created?
To understand how lab grown diamonds are created it is important to know how they are naturally formed – as a way to compare and contrast the processes. Diamonds are formed approximately 100 miles below the surface of the Earth and can take millions (if not billions) of years to form. They are formed under immense heat and pressure and the combination of weight and temperature cause carbon atoms to crystallize and eventually become diamonds. The diamonds that we are able to mine have been brought closer to the surface of the earth through historic and violent eruptions and are lodged in the cooled volcanic material. It is estimated that the carbon atoms that eventually become diamonds are exposed to heat in excess of 2,200 degrees Fahrenheit and the pressure they are under is approximately 727,000 pounds per square inch.
For decades chemists have been attempting to create diamonds in a laboratory setting. Mining for diamonds has always been expensive and dangerous work – an alternative has been highly sought after for over 100 years. While this work started in the 1920’s much of the progress made was hampered by WWII. Following the war in the 1950s, H. Tracy Hall, a chemist with General Electric, invented the first process to produce a diamond within a lab setting. These early lab grown diamonds were small and were mainly used in industrial settings.
In the decades since, lab grown diamonds have improved in quality; there are now two methods used to grow diamonds. One is High Pressure/High Temperature (HPHT) and the other is Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD). The HPHT diamond is made by ‘planting’ a diamond seed in pure carbon; the seed attracts the carbon and layers are created as it is exposed to very high temperatures and extreme pressure – basically recreating the conditions of mined diamonds. The CVD diamond is created by placing a thin HPHT diamond seed and sealing it in a chamber that is heated to approximately 800 degrees Celsius. The chamber is filled with different carbon-rich gasses which are ionized, the ionization causes the carbon to attach to the diamond seed which then slowly grows in size. A lab grown diamond takes approximately 6-10 weeks to create.
There are numerous benefits to using lab grown diamonds in jewellery. The main advantage is that while the quality is 100% present the cost is less. Why would it be less? Lab grown gems are treated the exact same in the finishing process so the cost-saving isn’t there. The savings are found in the process – diamond mines are expensive to operate and the supply line to get the diamond from the earth to a jewellery store is lengthy with associated costs every step of the way. The lab grown diamond is a faster process with a much shorter supply chain – these savings are then passed on to the customer.
At Odyssey Jewellery we find that many of our customers want lab grown diamonds because they are less damaging to the environment. We have had customers make the choice to use these diamonds for everything from engagement rings to custom made pieces to mark a special occasion. We love working with customers to make sure that the piece we create instantly becomes a treasured piece that can be passed down through generations. We provide GIA certificates for all of our lab grown diamond pieces and will work with you to find the best piece for your special someone. As experts in the lab grown diamond industry, we are happy to walk you through each step of this interesting process.
Located in Richmond Hill Odyssey Jewellery is open for walk-in or you can contact us to make an appointment. We encourage people to book early for Christmas and to bring any ideas you may have with you! Contact us today to learn more about the beauty of lab grown diamonds.