Natural diamonds formed deep in the earth under extreme pressure and high temperature as long as three billion years ago. Volcanic activity brought them to the surface where they lay in a type of volcanic rock formation known as kimberlite pipes, waiting to be mined. Only about five percent of kimberlite pipes contain enough diamond to make them economically feasible to mine.
Man-made diamonds suitable for industrial use were first produced in a laboratory in the 1950s. While gem-quality diamonds were produced in a laboratory for the first time in 1971, it was not until the mid-2010s that colorless laboratory-grown diamonds entered the gem and jewelry market in commercial quantities.
Today, laboratory-grown diamonds are created by two methods, according to Dr. James Shigley, GIA Distinguished Research Fellow, who has been researching laboratory-grown diamonds at GIA for more than 30 years.
High pressure, high temperature (HPHT) diamonds are produced in a laboratory by mimicking the high pressure, high temperature conditions that form natural diamonds in the Earth. This process produces a distinctively shaped laboratory-grown diamond crystal.
The chemical vapor deposition (CVD) method involves breaking down the molecules of a carbon-rich gas, such as methane, into carbon and hydrogen atoms, which then are deposited on diamond seeds to produce a square-shaped, tabular diamond crystal.
Growing diamonds by either method typically requires less than a month for most sizes. Most CVD-grown diamonds require additional treatments like heat or irradiation to enhance or change their colors after the growth process.
Typically, laboratory-grown diamonds have weighed a carat or less, but as technology and techniques improve, larger stones have appeared in the market.
Diamond Bracelets and Bangles
View our collection of diamond bracelets and bangles and select which fits for you
Our Diamond Specialists are available to share their expertise and empower you with the information and tools you need to select the perfect diamond. Schedule a personalized consultation to learn about the 4C’s, receive expert styling tips, and more!