Real diamonds are mined; artificial diamonds, on the other hand, are manufactured in a laboratory by specially trained engineers. Many are worried about how artificial diamonds will affect the worldwide diamond industry, but consumers welcome their arrival as an affordable alternative.
Artificial diamonds are officially called cubic zirconia, or cubic glass, or cubic quartz. They are also called man made diamonds, for obvious reasons. To the naked eye they look like diamonds, in terms of their color and clarity. They can also be cut into diamond shapes, further enhancing the illusion.
Artificial diamonds are often used for industrial purposes, such as making the small “teeth” of powerful saws that can cut through metals as if easily as if they were butter. In 2004, though, the technology developed to create diamonds that were big enough to be made into jewelry.
How are artificial diamonds made? The first method requires a small real diamond which is used as a seed. This seed is then combined with melted graphite, which is a type of coal, and then placed under great pressure and intense temperature. The graphite then “expands” on the crystal structure of the original diamond. The second method, chemical vapor deposition (or CVD) makes use of a chamber. Here, small pieces of diamond precipitate and are condensed, similar to ice crystals melting to create a solid deposit.
Artificial diamonds are so close to the real thing that even certified geologists may have difficulty telling them apart. This begs the question of why anyone would pay thousands of diamonds for a real diamond when they can get a good fake. The answer though is quite simple—because it is a real diamond, and something that is real, rare, and full of tradition is priceless.