Diamonds are made under intense pressure under the Earth over a long period of time. Then they are mined, cut, and polished.

Lab grown diamonds also known as man-made, synthetic, cultured or artisanal diamonds are created by replicating the same conditions of high pressure and temperature found beneath the Earth. There are two main processes man made diamonds nz that create diamonds – HPHT and chemical vapor deposition.

Lab Grown Diamonds

Lab grown diamonds are real diamonds made of carbon, above ground in a laboratory. They are identical to a mined diamond and meet all four Cs (color, clarity, cut and carat). They can be sized to fit your budget and are a more sustainable option than traditional mining methods. They do not require any invasive mining techniques and can be created in just a few weeks compared to the millions or billions of years that natural diamonds take to form beneath the Earth’s surface.

Lab-created diamonds are a great alternative to traditional diamonds and are becoming increasingly popular with millennials who are concerned about the environmental and humanitarian costs of mining. They are ethically-sourced and have the same chemical, physical and optical properties as a naturally occurring diamond.

There are two ways to create a diamond in the lab: High Pressure High Temperature (HPHT) and Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD). The first involves placing a small piece of graphite carbon in a machine that crushes it under extreme temperatures and pressure, replicating the process that naturally forms diamonds. Using this method, a lab diamond takes about five days to be formed, compared to the million or billions of years that it takes for a natural diamond to form under the Earth’s surface.

However, even though lab-created diamonds have the same properties as a natural diamond, they do not hold the same resale value. Unlike a mined diamond, which will increase in value over time, a lab-created diamond will lose its resale value once you decide to sell it.


Moissanite is a diamond alternative made of gem-quality silicon carbide. It was first discovered in 1893 by French scientist Henri Moissan, who found microscopic crystals in a crater left by a meteor that landed in Canyon Diablo, Arizona. He initially believed he had discovered diamonds, but upon closer inspection he determined they were actually composed of silicon carbide. Today, all moissanites sold in jewelry are created in laboratories. Moissanite is very similar in appearance to a natural diamond and is often mistaken for one due to its exceptional fire and brilliance. Moissanite also displays a higher color dispersion than a diamond.

Moissanites are hard and durable, with a 9.25 rating on the Mohs scale. They are much more resistant to scratches and abrasions than diamonds, making them perfect for heirloom-quality jewelry pieces. They also possess a high degree of stability, meaning that they can be exposed to harsh chemicals and solvents without losing their luster.

The beauty of moissanite is that it looks and feels exactly like a real diamond, with the added benefit of affordability. We spoke with experts Don O’Connell, CEO and president of Charles & Colvard, the original creators of moissanite, Kim Kanary, a certified diamontologist, and Grace Lee, an independent fine jewelry designer to learn more about this stunning gemstone.

Cubic Zirconia

Cubic zirconia, or CZ, is the most common type of man-made diamond. It’s also known as a synthetic or lab grown diamond and is made using high-pressure, high-temperature (HPHT) diamond growth or chemical vapour deposition methods. Like moissanite, it is very similar to a real diamond and is used in a variety of jewellery designs due to its hardness and durability. It is most often produced in clear form, resembling a diamond graded “D” on the diamond grading scale but it can also be made in many different colors such as green, orange and pink. The color is created by adding varying oxides to the raw material during the manufacturing process.

Unlike natural diamonds, which are notorious for their inclusions, cubic zirconia is usually free of them. This is one of the easiest ways to tell a CZ from a real diamond. If you hold a stone up to the light and it looks foggy then it is likely not a diamond, even if the gem has a clarity rating of “I” or higher.

Another way to tell a CZ from a diamond is by looking at the stones facets and edges. A genuine diamond will look incredibly sharp and precise, but a CZ will have rounded edges that are more in keeping with its natural form. Finally, if you turn a diamond or a CZ upside down you will see that a diamond reflects all the colors of the rainbow while a CZ will display more orange and blue reflections.

Diamond Alternatives

While diamond alternatives like morganites and aquamarines are stunning, they should be used with caution when paired with an engagement ring or other piece of jewelry that will experience a lot of wear and tear. Because they are softer gemstones, they can be more prone to damage than other options like cubic zirconia. They can also dull or chip if exposed to everyday household soaps and cleaners, lotions, makeup and more.

Moissanite, on the other hand, is a great choice for those who want an alternative to a real diamond. Discovered over 100 years ago by lab grown diamonds in the UK, the stone was actually created by meteorites that crashed to Earth containing silicon carbide crystals. Today, the moissanite available for purchase is laboratory-created and engineered to look and behave like a real diamond.


Regardless of the type of diamond you choose, always be sure to ask for a GIA grading report before making your purchase. This will allow you to be confident that your gemstone is genuine, and will ensure that it is sourced responsibly. Additionally, a grading report will help you understand what makes your gemstone unique. Ultimately, it is up to you to decide which type of diamond is best for your personal style and budget. With a wide variety of options to consider, there’s bound to be the perfect gem for you.

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